When looking at how to set up and swing to be able to work the golf ball when out on the golf course, we initially need to consider exactly what we want the ball to do.
We are going to consider working the golf ball in just two ways here. Working the ball so that it deliberately starts left of the target and then curves left to right during it's flight, finishing on the target, is known as a fade and deliberately starting the ball right of the target and working it right to left so that it lands on the target, is known as a draw.
Working the golf ball, or getting it to curve deliberately in the air, is easy if you understand exactly what causes the golf ball to swing during it's flight.
A golf ball will curve during it's flight due to the spin that is imparted on it during impact. Every golf shot played with a lofted club has backspin on the ball. If the club face is aiming in the direction that the club head is travelling in, as the ball is struck, the ball will spin backwards on it's vertical axis and the ball will fly straight. However, the backspin is tilted off the ball’s vertical axis and so the ball will curve during it's flight. This occurs when there is a divergence between where the club face is aiming and where the club head is travelling as the ball is struck.
To hit a fade, we need to impart tilted axis backspin on to the ball to allow the ball to start left of the target and then curve towards and finish on the target. To do this, aim the club face deliberately to the left of the target as you set up but aim your feet line even more left than the club face is aiming. By aiming your feet more left you can now swing the golf club head on a line parallel to your feet line (out to in relative to the target line), with the club face aiming to the right of this line, but to the left of the target. This will start the ball left of the target and because there is a difference between the club head path and the club face angle as you strike the ball, you will impart tilted axis backspin and the ball will curve left to right in the air and land on the target.
To work the ball right to left in the air, do the opposite. Aim the club face to the right of the target and then aim your feet line further right. Swing the club head on a line parallel to your feet line (this will be an in to out swing path relative to the target line) and keep the club face aiming to the left of this line but right of the target as you hit. This will allow the ball to start to the right of the target but again because there is a divergence between the direction of the club head path and the club face angle, tilted axis backspin will be imparted on to the ball and this time the ball will start right of the target and curve right to left during it's flight, finishing on the target. The greater the difference between the direction of the path of the club head and the club face angle, the greater the tilted axis backspin that will be imparted on the golf ball and therefore, the greater the amount of curve that will be observed during the ball’s flight.
Try working on this on the range initially to deliberately hit fades and draws and once you are feeling confident with this, take it out on to the golf course and add another dimension to your golf game.