Being able to move the ball every which way is something that any golfer would like to be able to do. Unfortunately, you have to be pretty darn good to do it and even better to control it.
So if your one of those players that has enough trouble getting it in the fairway and then onto the green, don’t worry about shaping your shots. Just step up to your ball, pick your target and play your natural ball flight.
Jack Nicklaus once said that he didn’t know what kind of ball flight he was going to play until he got on the range before his round. If he was hitting a little fade that day, he played a fade. If he was hitting a draw, he played a draw. He knew just how easily the golf swing could change on a daily basis and he took advantage of it by not forcing the issue.
One of the biggest mistake amateur golfers make on the course is trying to fix their swing in the middle of a round. This rarely — if ever — works. Trying to iron out issue with your swing on the range by hitting a couple hundred balls is hard enough as it is.
Trying to iron out issues on the course with only a couple of swings under pressure is near impossible, so try to avoid it. Instead, make observations about what your ball is doing and simply change your aiming point.
If you’ve already hit a 20-yard slice off of the 1st and 2nd tee, don’t step up to the 3rd tee and aim down the middle of the fairway. Pick a target a few yards left of it and just let your natural swing take its course.
The layout of some holes might not exactly be ideal for the flight of your ball that day but at least you know you’ll be playing your next shot within the property lines of the golf course.
Golf is a game of calculated misses and knowing where your ball isn’t going to go is even more important than knowing where it is going to go. For instance, if you’re a right-handed player who’s been slicing it off the tee all day and you step up to a hole with out-of-bounds on the left, the chances of you going OB are pretty slim.
So take advantage of that. Step up to the tee and play your slice. Your ball might not end up in the middle of the fairway but you can be sure you won’t be walking back to re-hit.
On the other hand, if you’re playing the same hole but you’ve been hitting a little bit of a hook all day, don’t take the risk of going OB.
Aim well right of the fairway and give your ball enough room to safely come back. Once again, there’s a good chance you might not be playing your next shot from the fairway but hitting 2 from the rough is a lot better than hitting 3 off the tee box.
In the end, consistency is more important than accuracy (especially off the tee) and if you play your natural ball flight you’ll avoid those big misses that result in “round wrecking” double or triple bogeys. Remember, if Jack Nicklaus did it, it’s probably worth giving a shot.