This shot requires the ability to draw the ball...
How Do You Shape a Shot??
By KorryFranke on 8/1/07
How many times have you heard the commentators of a pro golf tournament say, "Well, Johnny, I just don't see how it's possible for him to make the green in one. That tee shot drifted badly to the left and now a 200-year-old giant Oak tree stands directly in front of him, completely blocking his view of the green. He simply has to lay up." Moments later, the player lines up, swings, and by some miracle of the heavens finds his ball making a huge sweeping right to left path around the tree and coming to rest... you guessed it... right in the center of the green.

If you're at all like me, you probably find yourself in awe of the apparent defiance in the laws of physics! Sure, we all hit a slice or hook now and then...often times HUGE slices and HUGE hooksGǪbut the problem is that rarely are those shots commanded by us; more often, they are errors... errors that end up with 200-year-old giant oak trees standing directly in our paths.

Well, my friends, let not your heart be troubled because you, too, may become an expert of shaping a shot and that's why Jeremy Hart wrote oobgolf to find out how. With enough practice at the range, soon you will be curving your shots effortlessly around dog-legs or sliding an approach shot in to a heavily fortified rear pin. Since I'm by no means a golf pro, I went to someone at oobgolf who really does knows his stuff, Matt Snyder, to get a little help on what it takes to "shape a shot."

"The key to shaping a shot," says Matt, "is understanding swing plane. Once you understand the concept of swing plane you can begin utilizing different swing planes to intentionally fade, draw, slice, or hook your shot."

In a straight shot, the club face is square at contact and the swing plane flows nicely through the ball in what is basically a straight line downrange. Now think about the aerodynamics of a slice (Yes, this is where the pilot in me starts to get excited!). If the ball's flight path is left to right, then the ball must be spinning to the right. To do that, the club must hit the ball from the outside-in and that means having a swing plane that is slightly outside-in as it approaches, contacts, and follows through after striking the ball. Thus, the more pronounced your outside-in swing plane becomes, the greater the amount of left to right curve on your shot.

Conversely, if you desire a right to left flight path, the ball must have leftward spin which comes from the club hitting the ball from the inside-out and that means having a swing plane that is slightly inside-out as it approaches, contacts, and follows through after striking the ball. Thus, the more pronounced your inside-out swing plane becomes, the greater the amount of right to left curve on your shot.

"But, Korry, what if I just open or close my club face a bit more. Won't that accomplish the same thing as changing my swing plane?" Matt tells me that opening or closing your club face simply determines the initial direction of the ball and not the direction of the ball downrange. In other words, an open club face will cause the ball to initially head to the right at impact; whereas, an outside-in swing plane will cause the ball to move to the right downrange.

Now that you know how to shape a shot, you better dust off those clubs and hit the range for some practice! And if you think of any other questions while you're out there, don't forget to send them to

Email Korry your questions at

Korry Franke is a Boeing 757 and 767 pilot for Continental Airlines where he flies out of Newark, NJ to destinations across the US and around the globe. He lives in Bethlehem, PA where he spends most of his time on days off at the driving range or out on the golf course giving his game the practice it so desperately needs.

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