Through the years in my golf-coaching career, I have noticed that majority of beginners or even intermediate players do not know the various types of golf shots. There are basic shots and there are special shots that involve creativity. I will discuss special shots in one of the succeeding issues.
With a maximum of 14 clubs in the bag, you already have 14 different ball flights and distances, at the least. The golf clubs can be classified as woods, hybrids, irons and a putter. By changing the tempo or speed of the swing in one club, it will affect the flight and distance. Changing the size of the swing will also change the flight and distance. Therefore, there are plenty of ways, or rather combinations, to change the flight and distance of one club alone, by using your creativity. Therefore, planting in the appropriate thoughts, visuals and good feelings are essential in shot making.
But for now, these are the basic shots that we need to familiarize ourselves with:
This shot is normally done from the teeing-ground with the Driver
The ideal flight is to carry the ball farthest with a certain amount of roll to maximize distance.
Shorter clubs can be used if maximum distance is not required. You can use the shorter clubs to generate more backspin and allow the ball to stop sooner, on a designated spot or target.
Fairway or approach shot
These 2 types of shots are normally done from the fairway or from the rough.
If and when the green is reachable, then it is called an approach shot.
Depending on the distance, you can use woods, hybrids or irons.
The intention of a standard pitch shot, with a pitching wedge, is to carry the green and allow the loft of the clubface to generate a high ball flight. If the intention is to swing the club fast, it generates a bit more distance and maximum backspin that allows the ball to stop on the green the moment it lands. If the slope is slightly uphill, it can spin backward.
With a slower swing speed, distance will be shorter and the ball can possibly roll forward at a minimum, but may also roll back, kick right or kick left, depending on the slope where the ball lands.
A quarter swing and a half swing with a pitching wedge, will allow the ball to roll more, as compared to a three quarter swing and a full swing.
A gap wedge (standard loft is 52 degrees) or a sand wedge (standard loft is 56 degrees), can be also used for pitching. The Sand Wedge is more lofted than the gap wedge; the gap wedge is more lofted than the pitching wedge. Both the sand wedge and the gap wedge will produce more backspin, as compared to the pitching wedge (standard loft is 46 degrees).
This shot is generated with the highest ball flight and the most backspin. It is executed with a Lob Wedge that normally has a 60-degree clubface angle.
Just like any other wedges or shorter clubs, you can use this club to cross over hazards like water, bunkers or even ravines.
With a fast full swing, the ball flight created by this club is so high that the moment the ball lands on the green, it will roll backward, due to the backspin created by the club. A medium speed full swing can make the ball stop where it drops, but can possibly roll forward, kick right or kick left, depending on the slope where the ball lands.
This is executed as a low ball flight to carry over the fringe or collar of the green, and is allowed to roll more than it carries.
The standard clubs used for a chip shot are the 6, 7 and 8 irons.
The chip shot is very close to a putting stroke, which is short and concise. This can also be done on the green without incurring damage on the turf.
A putt is a swing or stroke executed on the green, which can be made shorter and more concise, compared to a chip shot. It is also an option to putt from the outside of the green.
It is recommended to shorten the swing as you get closer to the hole.
The two bunker shots are the greenside bunker shot and the fairway bunker shot.
A standard greenside bunker shot requires a Sand Wedge. Some players will select a Lob Wedge. It will generate a high ball flight but will have a lesser back spin due to the effect of the sand upon impact. The angle of attack of the forward swing must be sharp.
From the fairway bunker, longer clubs can be used depending on the distance and the target intended during execution. The angle of attack of the forward swing can be shallower.
Consider the lip of the bunker to determine the launch angle desired for the shot, by using a club that suits the launch angle.
A rough shot can be executed from the primary or secondary rough.
The ball in a primary rough can be normally visible, while in a secondary rough, it can be less visible.
An ideal angle of attack on the forward swing must be at all cost steep. Catching too much grass on the forward swing will close the clubface and will not allow the ball to gain flight.
A punch shot is a low ball flight executed with longer clubs to give certainty to the intention.
The swing is normally more aggressive and abbreviated with a 3/4 backswing and a ¾ follow through. The backswing and/or follow through can be shortened depending on the distance required.
As presented, these are the basic shots that you may learn and enjoy during play. At least now, you know how to call your shots.