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Do average tour pros work the ball both ways regularly?


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#1 FootWedge16

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:38 AM

Having this discussion with my friend. Iím not talking about the elite ball strikers, but rather your average tour player.

I know that most/all of them are capable of working both ways, but do they actually do it during rounds regularly? As in, they are looking at pin positions and shaping shots accordingly on every hole.


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#2 Dfwgolfdude

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:00 AM

Based on my experiences with playing with pros throughout the years is that....It depends.

I'd say the overwhelming amount of time on the tee, they play the shot that they're the most comfortable with and one that will find the fairway. Other times, the tee shot calls for a 2 iron stinger with a massive draw and they hit it to my amazement. Their second shots are the ones I find they most often fade or draw it the most based on the pin positions.

Again, these have been my observations. There are many, many different styles out there.
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#3 mcs4

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:35 AM

I don't know if anyone does it "every hole." Based purely on what I've seen and heard on TV, interviews, etc., I think it's more likely that the average pro defaults to his natural shot shape when feasible but generally is not afraid to shape it the other way if it would be beneficial, with some more likely to stick with their preferred shape more often than others.

Seems to me that you can't watch any golf telecast very long before you'll hear an announcer comment that a player prefers to play one shot shape, and then the player will hit a shot going the other way to suit the situation.
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#4 rochestergolfer36

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:28 AM

Speith talked about it with his driving. He was trying to work the ball too much instead of just hit one shot almost every time. Obviously there are times when he’d work the ball other way but he said when he was playing the best he didn’t. Into greens I imagine they do more. But in reality most good players hit the ball pretty straight, it’s more about controlling where they are missing (long, short, left, right) their target.

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#5 Z1ggy16

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:34 AM

View Postrochestergolfer36, on 14 September 2018 - 10:28 AM, said:

Speith talked about it with his driving. He was trying to work the ball too much instead of just hit one shot almost every time. Obviously there are times when he’d work the ball other way but he said when he was playing the best he didn’t. Into greens I imagine they do more. But in reality most good players hit the ball pretty straight, it’s more about controlling where they are missing (long, short, left, right) their target.
I was going to say... when I was at the US Open, standing behind the players on #1 and #10 (well sitting for #10) most guys hit the ball fairly straight. Only Reed and DJ had significant movement of their ball from what I saw. Louis Oost literally hit the ball on a complete frozen rope, it was crazy.

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#6 3whacker

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:40 AM

simple answer is no...most pros prefer one side or the other and will generally play their "natural"shot shape..plus the ball doesnt curve as much as it used to back in the balata days which wasn't that long ago

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#7 lazyjc4

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:47 AM

In my experience, most guys seem to be in the Tom Lehman mold, where they can comfortably hit two types of shots at will.  For Lehman, he could hit a draw, and a straight push.  Couldn't fade it to save his life, but could aim left and shove it to a right pin.  Most players seem to have a pet shot shape that they're comfortable playing as often as possible, then they've learned to keep the other direction on the map, but not be as precise, or as skilled moving it that other way.  Couples was the opposite, can hit any type of fade/slice that's needed, but could only really draw the ball a couple of yards, when he had to/needed to.
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#8 Santiago Golf

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:56 AM

Not really. If they really need to sure. Some will play a certain shape for driver versus irons (bubba for example, cut drivers, draws irons).

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#9 Catty

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 06:16 PM

Not sure about tour pros, but I can defiantly work it both ways.  Dog leg left aim for a nice draw. Guaranteed push slice. Little left to right shot called for. Aim slightly left. Roll hands over snap hook. Like I said. No probs working it in both directions.

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#10 tiderider

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 06:50 PM

i think most pros do not work the ball both ways and will use their natural shape unless they are really under the gun ... one of tiger's strengths was the work (not natural ability here) he put in learning to hit 6 shots (according to him) - high/mid/low trajectory draw/fade ... most probably hit it straight these days as that's what the ball tends to do, but a few have a shape that's more than pronounced ... reed had to whirly bird his drive to get it to cut a bit on 15 at augusta ... spieth might've gotten too caught up too early in the "i have to work it both ways" ... don't know ...

fuzzy zoeler used to say he had 3 shots: a draw, a hook and a double duck hook ... or something to that effect ... he couldn't hit a fade/cut if his life depended on it ...

Edited by tiderider, 14 September 2018 - 06:51 PM.


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#11 BMC

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 07:01 PM

Most of them hit it pretty straight, unless it's a specialty shot, and most can fade or draw at will.

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#12 Shilgy

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:49 PM

View PostCatty, on 14 September 2018 - 06:16 PM, said:

Not sure about tour pros, but I can defiantly work it both ways.  Dog leg left aim for a nice draw. Guaranteed push slice. Little left to right shot called for. Aim slightly left. Roll hands over snap hook. Like I said. No probs working it in both directions.
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#13 LeoLeo99

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:59 PM

View PostZ1ggy16, on 14 September 2018 - 10:34 AM, said:

View Postrochestergolfer36, on 14 September 2018 - 10:28 AM, said:

Speith talked about it with his driving. He was trying to work the ball too much instead of just hit one shot almost every time. Obviously there are times when he’d work the ball other way but he said when he was playing the best he didn’t. Into greens I imagine they do more. But in reality most good players hit the ball pretty straight, it’s more about controlling where they are missing (long, short, left, right) their target.
I was going to say... when I was at the US Open, standing behind the players on #1 and #10 (well sitting for #10) most guys hit the ball fairly straight. Only Reed and DJ had significant movement of their ball from what I saw. Louis Oost literally hit the ball on a complete frozen rope, it was crazy.

I was at the BMW last weekend and didn't see one shot didn't go straight unless it was a mistake.  If they did move the ball side to side, it was too subtle for me to see.

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#14 trlgolf

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:49 PM

They all have a comfortable shot but 98% of them can work it the other way if needed.  A lot of times if it isn't their go to shot they'll aim at the middle of the green and hope it goes that way but if not it's no big deal i.e. if DJ has a back left pin he'll aim at the middle and hope he pulls it a little. ZJ is the opposite.

DJ is a good example of someone who just wants to hit it great one way and doesn't really care if there is a hole or two he needs to hit a draw on.  It's like how Vince Lombardi coached football.  Stick to a handful of plays and if they didn't work it's because they didn't run the play well enough.

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#15 OldTomMorris

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 02:52 AM

Current form is a big factor too, for instance McIlory is very capable of working it both ways but he is making changes to his swing at the moment and isn't working the ball the way he would if he was totally at ease with his swing. I'm paraphrasing what he said in a recent interview.


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#16 Torontogolfaddict

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 11:11 AM

K.J Choi recently told  tour pros playing in Korea that you need just one type of ball to survive in PGA tour. He got seven wins with fade and one with draw.

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#17 PowderedToastMan

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 11:53 AM

FYI, every player on tour is an elite ball striker. You canít make it if youíre not.
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#18 FootWedge16

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 12:01 PM

View PostPowderedToastMan, on 15 September 2018 - 11:53 AM, said:

FYI, every player on tour is an elite ball striker. You canít make it if youíre not.

Yeah. I get it. You see guys like Tiger on tv working the ball both ways, but I was curious if your guy out there trying to make the cut is doing it too.

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#19 sevenfourate

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 12:04 PM

View PostPowderedToastMan, on 15 September 2018 - 11:53 AM, said:

FYI, every player on tour is an elite ball striker. You can't make it if you're not.

^^^^This.

I've played with a couple of European Tour  journeymen, and one PGA Tour player who was on a medical exemption for a while (Came second to Tiger in the Honda one year) and was then trying to qualify for an event the same as i was.

The quality, commitment and skill of these guys at even this (Not quite the very top) level compared to me as a +handicap in the UK / decent Club Pro was vast. And then some.

In real terms the difference between them and me - was as great as between me and a 28 handicapper..........
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#20 Pepperturbo

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 12:53 PM

No.  For example, Tom Lehman has always hit a draw.  There's an opinion that bounces around the tours that say fade is better than a draw.   So some years back Tom took on the challenge to learn how to hit a fade.  I believe he stuck with it for a few years but failed miserably so went back to what he could trust.

Hitting a controlled fade or draw on command is different than hitting a fade/slice or draw/hook and hoping.  The latter is more common on tour than the former.  :beach:

Edited by Pepperturbo, 15 September 2018 - 12:57 PM.

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#21 rangersgoalie

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 04:39 PM

Some do, some do not

IMO  being able to launch one like a missile when needed is working the ball too

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#22 Murv

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:46 PM

In an interview Jason Day said that today pros just go high and over most of the trouble. As opposed to the old days where they had to work the ball around it. All this is do to modern equipment and the ball and of course their physical condition.

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#23 trlgolf

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 05:20 AM

 Murv, on 15 September 2018 - 08:46 PM, said:

In an interview Jason Day said that today pros just go high and over most of the trouble. As opposed to the old days where they had to work the ball around it. All this is do to modern equipment and the ball and of course their physical condition.

Murv

It's mostly the ball.  The ball today launches so high and doesn't spin nearly as much so the art of working the ball has been diminished.

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#24 Golfjack

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 09:29 PM

LOL at the average tour pro not being an elite ball striker.  Seriously, all the Web guys are elite ball strikers.  In fact I think most mini tour guys are pretty elite too.

Anyway, it's all about the percentages and course management.  A pro natural short shape fade, he has a 95 pct chance of landing it in a 10 yard circle with a 5 iron (I'm just making up the numbers here).  but with his draw, which he can hit it around a tree, he has a only 80 pct chance.  Say if there wasn't a tree in the way, just the green is more approachable from a draw angle, I'd say the pro might still hit a fade.  Since the 15pct change is worth a fraction of a stroke.  They are very skilled, and also very precise in shot shape and club selection.
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#25 3whacker

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 04:17 AM

someone earlier mentioned a more important ability that most good pros can do and that is to control  their shot trajectory..TW in his heyday could control his trajectory better than anyone...It also gives them the ability to hit an iron a certain distance or the ability to turn an iron down a little and control trajectory and distance

the average amateur hits most of his irons the same trajectory, no matter the loft

Edited by 3whacker, 17 September 2018 - 04:18 AM.


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#26 mcs4

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 10:13 AM

 Pepperturbo, on 15 September 2018 - 12:53 PM, said:

No.  For example, Tom Lehman has always hit a draw.  There's an opinion that bounces around the tours that say fade is better than a draw.   So some years back Tom took on the challenge to learn how to hit a fade.  I believe he stuck with it for a few years but failed miserably so went back to what he could trust.

Hitting a controlled fade or draw on command is different than hitting a fade/slice or draw/hook and hoping.  The latter is more common on tour than the former.  :beach:

On the other hand, Tom Lehman hit a beautiful fade with a 3 wood into a par 5 yesterday near the end of the tournament to help keep him in contention, after the commentators specifically discussed that he had been working on his fade.
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#27 c7015

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 02:02 PM

Absolutely, even at the scratch level guys are trying to shape shots.

Don't get me wrong all the guys want to take one side of the course out by having a stock shot they can rely on. Unfortunately, lots of times the hole and pin position dictate the shot shape. To make it to the elite level you need to be able to work it left/right up/down or your just not going to score as well or get out of trouble as well as the next guy.
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#28 bbedell

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 10:55 PM

 lazyjc4, on 14 September 2018 - 10:47 AM, said:

In my experience, most guys seem to be in the Tom Lehman mold, where they can comfortably hit two types of shots at will.  For Lehman, he could hit a draw, and a straight push.  Couldn't fade it to save his life, but could aim left and shove it to a right pin.  Most players seem to have a pet shot shape that they're comfortable playing as often as possible, then they've learned to keep the other direction on the map, but not be as precise, or as skilled moving it that other way.  Couples was the opposite, can hit any type of fade/slice that's needed, but could only really draw the ball a couple of yards, when he had to/needed to.

and it shows in his golf course designs

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#29 BiggErn

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Posted 17 September 2018 - 11:03 PM

TV over embellishes shot shapes. When I was younger I remember hearing how this guy draws and this guy fades but when actually seeing them play in person it’s a relatively straight shot with virtually no curve. Duval sticks out as all I heard was he was a fader of the ball and when I saw him in person for the first time he was hitting it dead straight and some with a tiny draw.

Edited by BiggErn, 17 September 2018 - 11:04 PM.


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#30 Golfjack

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 02:55 AM

 BiggErn, on 17 September 2018 - 11:03 PM, said:

TV over embellishes shot shapes. When I was younger I remember hearing how this guy draws and this guy fades but when actually seeing them play in person it’s a relatively straight shot with virtually no curve. Duval sticks out as all I heard was he was a fader of the ball and when I saw him in person for the first time he was hitting it dead straight and some with a tiny draw.
Yeah there is a little spin, but it's very minimal.  They don't want big loopers normally as it's harder to control.  Straighter it is, the better.  Although they still do a slight fade.  You can see on the shot tracers, it's just a tiny fade then drops down.  Same for draws.  Just a tiny draw.  Amateurs have major compensations of path/face that cause way larger loops than should be.  Not that we want to, we are just not as skilled lol.  Granted, they can still hit those big cuts on purpose.

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