The key to posting lower scores this season lies in your ability to both understand and control your ball flight. Many golfers hit the ball without any idea of which direction the ball might be going.
They simply aim down the middle of the fairway and hope that their shot goes straight. Then when your tee shot misses the fairway, you are left wondering why.
To understand your swing you need to first understand your standard ball flight. You can easily determine this with a trip to the practise range. Your standard ball flight can be either straight flight, a fade, or a draw.
Start with a 5 iron and ten golf balls. Place each ball on a shallow tee, pick a specific target and make sure that you are set up and correctly aimed at your target. You can do this by placing another iron on the ground beside your ball with the grip end aimed at your intended target. Keep track of the number of balls that go straight, those that go left and those that go right out of ten shots. Next take ten more balls and a 7 iron and repeat the previous 10 ball drill. Again write down the direction of all 10 shots.
Finally repeat the same drill with a fairway wood and then your driver, again hitting ten balls with each club. Again keep stats on your direction, until you can start to see patterns emerging in your ball flight direction.
If the majority of your shots end up to the right of your target (for a right handed golfer), then you tend to leave your club-face open through impact and fade the ball. Conversely, if your shots tend to land to the left of your target, caused by a club-face that closes through impact, then your tendency is to draw the ball.
Golfers that hit mostly straight shots, tend to keep their club-face square through impact without too little or excessive club head rotation through impact.
There are a number of situations during a round of golf where it is important to understand your standard ball flight. If you know your standard ball flight then you should be able to slightly change your alignment so that your ball finds its target. Consider situations such as tee shots around doglegs or keeping your ball away from hazards such as lakes, creeks, or bunkers. When you consider your standard ball flight before each shot then you can actually start to take hazards out of play by always having your ball move away from them.
If you learn your standard ball flight, and are able to adjust to your target before each shot, then you should also be able to play better under windy conditions. Always make allowances for your direction when hitting shots affected by crosswinds, as your ball will tend to move in the direction of the wind. If you can learn to hit a draw and a control fade then you should be able to work your ball so that it is actually spinning into the direction of the wind. Once you have learned how to work your ball, producing either a controlled draw or fade, then you should also be able to control your ball flight so that it always finds the fairway or the green.
Good shots should not be an accident and learning how to predict your ball flight will help you keep your ball in play and post lower scores this season.
Next Week: Golf – Fun & Games