This week, I made a short post on social media stating the following;
- TARGET – where you want the ball to finish. You need to select safe targets which have a good buffer either side to allow for normal shot pattern distribution and natural result variability
- AIM – where we are mentally aligned. Where we intend to send the ball mentally – this needs to take into account your shot pattern relative to your aim.
- ALIGNMENT – where we are physically lined up. This doesn’t need to be perfectly at our target or aim (as a lot of pros demonstrate). However, it should be consistent for each shot category.
I used this below picture to demonstrate these concepts.
While the post was well received by many, there were also a few comments from golfers about how you “should never aim at danger”.
While I agree that you should try your best to avoid your shot pattern entering a hazard, I think the idea of not aiming in danger is not true – especially aiming in danger gives you the best chance of overlaying your shot pattern correctly
Confused? This short video should clear it up.
Where you aim should be based on your personal shot patterns (relative to your aim), and even needs to be adjusted further for things like wind, slope etc. For example, if the wind was right to left, we may need to aim even farther right.
If there was water on the left hand side, the optimal aim would be even further into the rough!
It seems like an alien concept to many amateurs to adjust aim based on shot patterns, yet we do it all the time in other areas of our game. For example, in putting, we adjust our aim based on the slope of the green – so why not do it if you have a certain directional bias.
But Shouldn’t You Fix It?
This is the common answer to why you shouldn’t adjust for directional bias – surely we should just fix the shot shape.
Sure – you could, but that’s not always practical. We don’t always have that luxury mid-round. And attempting to change our swing mid round can open up Pandora’s box – we end up with the old directional miss PLUS a new directional miss.
Changing mechanics mid round might improve your aim-target relationship, but may also open up a bigger spread.
Even Tiger Woods has been recorded saying “if the ball is not flying how I like, I adjust my aim points”
Besides, as the video showed, someone who curves the ball onto their target is not necessarily any worse (directionally) than someone who averages a more neutral shape. They just have to aim accordingly.
At the end of the day, regardless of your swing path direction (which determines the shape of shot), controlling the club face is going to be key to whether you hit your target or not – having a more neutral club path does not give you a bigger window for face-presentations that hit the target.
The Bottom Line
No matter how good you get, we are going to have a spread pattern of shots. You are not perfect!
However, each golfer will have a relatively predictable pattern relative to their aim.
As a golfer, if you want to play your best and most consistent golf, you need to
- know your own personal pattern
- know how to aim accordingly to maximize your chances of success over the greatest number of trials
- know how to adjust your aim accordingly for the other variables (such as wind) which affect the outcome
- improve your alignment consistency to your adjusted aim
In my program, The Accuracy Plan, I go through everything you need to do this – including how to actually change your shot shape if you desire (allowing you to hit straighter shots or even hit your first draw). Click the image below to learn more
If you prefer to dive deep into these concepts and much more, including training, motor learning, psychology, swing technique, short game and more, why not join my “Next Level golf” program instead. Click the link below to learn more.
Debbie Wightman, Realtor
This makes sense. I have played for 30 years. No improvement this year.
I will try your suggestion to utilize my shot pattern today when I play. Oh boy!