If you want to be a golfer who has the right shot for every occasion, you need to be able to control distance, spin, curvature, and trajectory. We will reduce direction, the fifth characteristic of a golf shot, to being able to hit a straight ball and assume that you already know how to do that, since the other four controls are variations of this shot and depend on your being able to hit it.
Please don’t think, though, that I’m going to tackle that project in this post or in a series of posts. I want you to really learn how to do all those things, not just get a general idea, and you do that by signing up for a series of lessons of your own design. This is what you would tell the pro you want to learn.
Say you hit your 7-iron 145 yards. To get the ball close to a pin with a 7-iron, that one distance isn’t enough. You need to know how to hit it anywhere between 133 and 145. That’s lesson number one.
Sometimes when you’re chipping you need to put on spin so the ball will stop. Other times you need to take spin off so the ball will run. Ask the pro how you hit each shot, with the same club.
Sometimes you would like to bend the ball a little bit into a tucked pin. Other times you need to bend the ball a lot around a tree. Learn both shots, curving left or right. Find out how to do that.
Hitting shots into the green with a higher or lower trajectory will get you closer to the pin by design rather than by chance. With a pin in front, a high shot that sits quickly is best. A lower shot that releases is how to get to a pin in back. Hitting into an elevated green calls for a higher trajectory. Controlling trajectory is a vital skill for playing on a windy day. All of this is the fourth lesson.
None of these things are difficult to do, and winter is a good time to learn how. Your teaching pro will be delighted to spend time with you on these matters, since few golfers ask about them. Afterwards, just keep these skills in practice to be in command on the golf course.