If you have a 4 iron approach shot into the green and you have no idea which way the ball is going to curve, then it’s just a crap shoot.
But if you have a 4 iron into the green and you’re 99% certain that the ball is going to curve right to left, then you have a very good chance of hitting a good shot.
That’s common sense, right?
What isn’t common sense is how to actually hit a shot that curves one way or the other.
You need to know the principle of curve so you can work on it to improve your ball striking.
To do this I find the easiest way is to exaggerate.
So let’s say you want to hit a big, huge old hook.
What does the club path and club face need to be doing at impact to achieve this?
Well, the clubface alignment at impact controls the starting direction of a golf shot by about 85%. And the swing path at impact largely dictates the amount of curve on a shot.
So if you wanted to hit a big hook you’d focus on having the club path being a lot from in to out. And you’d make sure at impact, the clubface is pointing pretty much at the target or slightly to the left.
The hook comes from the big difference between your path and clubface alignment.
If you want a hook that starts to the right and then hooks, you simply need to have the clubface aligned to the right at impact and have a big in to out path.
Again, the hook is a result of the big difference between the path and the clubface alignment.
To get a slice you just have to reverse that.
To slice you need a big out to in path and the clubface open relative to your path. However, to get a slice you don’t need an open clubface.
You can slice with what you might consider to be a closed clubface, because remember the clubface alignment largely determines the starting direction of your shot.
Now, do you know the best way of shaping shots?
It’s to exaggerate exactly what I’ve been talking about.
Go to the driving range and practice hitting big slices and big hooks.
You may be thinking that this will cause great inconsistency because you want to hit most of your shots relatively straight with a slight curve. But by exaggerating big shapes of shots it will actually help you to hit less curved shots and more straighter shots.
Because by getting outside of your comfort zone and hitting big shapes you’re teaching yourself how to control the golf club. And that’s what golf is all about… controlling the golf club.
Top professional golfers know at all times where the golf club is.
You on the other hand, probably do not. So to improve your ball striking you need to learn where the golf club is throughout your swing. And you do that by being prepared to look a bit silly perhaps, by hitting some big hooks and slices.
Go do that and reap the benefits out on the golf course by having the confidence to know which way your shot is going to curve and where the golf club is during your golf swing.