Work Ball out of Trouble
If we played a perfect game of golf we would never stray from the centre of the fairway or take more
than two putts on any green. Unfortunately though, we sometimes find ourselves in positions we
would prefer not to be in and are forced to improvise to get us back on the straight and narrow. This month we will look at how to play those deliberate hooks and slices which can often rescue an otherwise hopeless situation.
Before we discuss technique it is important to be realistic in assessing the shot at hand. The odds of curving a three-wood at right ankles around a tree then have it travel 200 metres down the centre of the fairway are at best remote. Acknowledge your own ability and keep in mind the aim of the shot is to get you back onto the fairway with a chance to salvage something from your mistake. The method I use to curve the ball is straightforward and most importantly is basically my standard swing. The only difference is in the setup.
As a reference, Figures 1 and 2 show a square set up: clubhead pointing towards target, feet and body parallel.
Fig 1. The square setup, clubhead towards
Fig 2. The square setup from the side view. target, feet and body parallel.
A fade or slice curves the ball left to right. To bend the ball this way open up your stance. That is, turn your body to the left, parallel to the line we want our ball to start on, I call this “turning the railway tracks to the left”. Our clubface remains square to the target line. What we have effectively done is to open up our blade relative to our body (see Figure 3).
Now all we do is to swing normally along our body line. The wall will start straight, then curve to the right. The amount of slice sill depend on the degree the clubhead is open. The more we turn our body to the left, the more open the clubface, the more slice on the ball, the more difficult the shot.
A draw or hook curves in the opposite direction, right to left. To encourage a hook “turn the railway tracks to the right”. That is, our body and stance point right of the target along the line we want the ball to start. Our clubface again stays pointing along our target line (see Figure 4). This time it is closed to our body. To encourage a draw or hook use your hands a little more than usual at impact. Apart from that our swing remains the same.
Fig 3. Our setup alters for the fade as shown. Body and feet aim left but clubface remains square to the target line.
Fig 4. For the draw or hook shot our body and stance point right of the target with the clubface again pointing