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Sunday, August 24, 2014

On Creating a Go-To Shot

We frequently hear how important it is to create a go-to shot. That's a shot that you can hit under pressure and know where it's going to end up. It's the shot that you can count on when the rest of your game seems to have gone to hell.

I have a few thoughts on this, but first I'd like you to see this short video from GC's Michael Breed on how to create a go-to shot -- in this case, a slice.

Although it may sound as if Breed is spitting out a lot of instructions here, you only need to remember 2 keys in order to create a dependable go-to shot.
  1. Make sure you know where the club face is pointed at impact. Regardless of whether the ball is hooking or slicing, the ball will hit the ground on a line straight ahead of where the club is facing. It will bounce after impact so you need to allow for that when you aim, but you definitely want to be thinking about where the ball will first touch down.
  2. Minimizing body movement during the go-to swing makes it more repeatable. The point of the go-to shot isn't maximum distance, it's maximum accuracy. You may need to reduce the amount of wrist cock during your swing, or keep your hips more centered in your stance, or limit your motion in some other way that will cut your distance. All are fine, as long as you can hit the fairway.
On a personal note, I think your first attempts at a go-to shot should involve just reducing your wrist cock. That's basically what Steve Stricker does with ALL of his shots, and he's accurate while still being an average-length hitter. Your wrists are already gently cocked at address; just try to keep that angle about the same throughout the swing. I bet you'll be surprised at how quickly you get control of the ball.

Of course, if that isn't enough to get the job done, you can move on to the other things. The idea is to make as few changes as possible to get the results you want. But reducing your wrist cock almost always ends up being part of the equation.

And remember: Go-to shots are usually slices or hooks -- shots with a lot of curve -- rather than fades or draws. That's because it's generally easier to create a big curve than a small one (or a straight ball, for that matter). However, if you can create a smaller fade or draw consistently, that's fine too.

After all, there's only one rule of thumb for a go-to shot: As long as you can put your go-to shot in the fairway, it's a good one!


  1. This is an excellent golf blog. It helps that the writer has not only golf skills but writing skills as well. It focuses on key miss areas for most experienced golfers. I would suggest that this is NOT for beginners!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Ron. It's nice to know the work is appreciated.

    But I think most weekend golfers, whether new or experienced, make basically the same mistakes. It's just that experienced players have been exposed to so many different swing theories that it's hard for them to focus on the basics. I just try to strip away the extra "nonessentials" so we can all keep it simple.