By Josh Zander
Now that it is winter, many of us are taking a break from golf for a while. Like many other golfers, just because I am not playing doesn't mean I am not thinking about it. One of the ideas you may want to consider is developing a "Go To" shot. Tour players often call this their stock shot. This is a shot shape that you know you can do produce on command.
There are nine shots in golf. You can choose a straight ball, a draw, or a fade and then pick a low, medium or high version of each one. My "Go To" shot happens to be a medium draw. My scores improved significantly once I decided to stick to my "Go To" shot. The only time I stray is when the situation on the golf course dictates something completely different. Nicklaus' "Go To" shot was a high fade. History shows that worked out pretty well for him.
Why is a "Go To" shot so important? The answer is predictability. As a golf instructor, my students are always asking me how to be more consistent. A stock shot will help you plan and give you a good idea of where your shot is going to go. Think about your tee shot to a 40 yard wide fairway. Nicklaus would tee his ball up on the right side of the tee box and aim down the left hand side of the fairway. He could fade it up to 39 yards and still be in the fairway. If you tee it up in the middle of the tee box and try to hit it down the middle of the fairway without knowing how your ball is going to curve, you now have only half the fairway to work with. In other words, if you fade or hook your ball 21 yards, you have now missed the fairway.
Tour players have a stock shot and their goal is to never have their shot cross the target line. This means that a player like Zach Johnson who's "Go To" shot is a draw, always starts his ball right of the target line and draws the ball back to the target. His goal is to never start his ball left of his target line and never to hook his ball across the target line. When he accomplishes this, he will have a great ball-striking week. Remember, there are two shots that don't work in golf as a right-handed player, a hook that starts left and a slice that starts right! Get a "Go To" shot in your arsenal and you cannot help but be a better player. Spring will be here before you know it.