Titleist Tips: Use Ball Position to Shape Your Shots

In the golf swing, the golf club travels on an inclined, tilted plane – an arc that moves up, away from the ground, as well as inside the target line during the backswing. On the downswing, the club moves downward and back out to the target line again, approaching the ball from what is called an “inside” path. After impact, the club naturally swings up and arcs inside the target line once more. The club bottoms out and strikes the ground in a fairly narrow area of turf, but where you position the golf ball within that narrow hitting zone can have a big influence on the direction of your shot and how it curves in flight.

As Titleist staff member Mark Blackburn explains in this video, to hit a draw, you need the club to approach the ball on an inside-to-out path, with the club face oriented slightly closed to that path (aimed left of the path for a right-handed golfer). This combination imparts right-to-left sidespin on the ball, making the ball start to the right of the target and curve back to the left.

By stepping into the shot so that the ball is positioned in the center of your stance, to a few inches back of center, you can take advantage of the natural shape of your swing arc. With ball position back of center, the club is still approaching from inside the target line – an inside-to-out path. That’s half of the equation. Now, if you simply close the face slightly, and make good contact, you’ll hit a shot that starts right but curves back left to the target.

For a fade, you simply position the ball ahead of center. At this point, the swing naturally arcs out-to-in, relative to the target line. This path, coupled with a club face that is slightly open (aimed right of the path for a right-handed golfer), is the recipe for a fade, a shot that starts left of the target line and curves back to the right.

Take Mark’s advice and experiment with ball position to work the ball right-to-left and left-to-right. When you develop the skill to shape your shots, your scores will improve, because instead of just one stock shot, you’ll now have two or even three options at your disposal.

For more tips and drills from Mark and other Titleist Staff Members, visit Titleist Instruction: R

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