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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Golf Academy
August 17, 2017

The "9 Shot" Test
By Chris Foley

Normally our Practice for Performance column focuses on a drill, game or exercise to help you take your game from the practice tee to the first tee. This month we are going to talk about assessing your game to create better awareness of what to practice.

Knowing what area of your game to practice is as important as the actual practice session. We all tend to practice what we are good at, not necessarily what we need to get better at.

A great self-assessment tool to see where you are at with your ball striking is to see how many of the "9 shots" you can hit. There are really only nine shots in golf when we look at trajectory and the direction the ball curves. The "9 shots" are:

• Straight with the standard trajectory
• Straight with low trajectory
• Straight with high trajectory
• Curving to the left with standard trajectory
• Curving to the left with low trajectory
• Curving to the left with high trajectory
• Curving to the right with standard trajectory
• Curving to the right with low trajectory
• Curving to the right with high trajectory

To assess yourself, take nine balls and attempt each shot. As a general rule, most players will find some trajectories and directions easier than others. The shots that you can't hit are what you should focus on.

Keep in mind that the where the clubface in aligned at impact has the biggest influence on the starting direction of the golf ball and that the face and path of the club create the curvature of the golf ball. When the face is aligned to the left in relation to the path the ball the ball will curve to the left. When the face is aligned to the right in relationship to the path the ball will curve to the right. By changing the face/path relationship you can change the curvature of the ball.

The loft of the clubface at impact has the biggest influence on trajectory.

By practicing face/path control and learning to hit the "9 shots" your ball striking will improve. Also, you will be able to better self-correct when you are struggling on the golf course.

If you are can't hit any of the "9 shots", see you local PGA Professional to help you with your game.

By utilizing this self-assessment your ball striking can become more proficient. With more proficient ball striking, you will hit more greens and will shoot lower scores!

I welcome your feedback and questions. Please contact me at cfoley@ChrisFoleyGolf.com, 218-820-9426. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisFoleyGolf and look for more great practice tips on #PracticeForPerformance Thursdays.

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