Two of the greatest players ever lived have always talked about the fact that they never tried to hit the golf ball straight and they certainly found hitting it straight very very difficult. Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus, now when you watch those guys play on the golf course, often the ball would fly soaring high into the air and land next to the flag. So the perception is well it must have flown in a straight line but vey rarely did it fly in a straight line and very rarely did they try and hit in a straight line. Nicklaus was a big fan of fading the golf ball. He would often set it down the left hand side and cut the ball back into the flag and hog in the opposite way hitting the ball to the right and drawing it back in. So if two of the best payers worked on this, well why is it so difficult to try and hit the golf ball straight?

It works on the fact that the golf ball is round, the golf swing is round, and that when we hit the golf ball we have to get impact positions that are absolutely perfect to produce a golf ball that comes with absolutely pure back spin and after an ounce of tilted back spin or as a lot of people term it, side spin. Hitting the ball with pure back spin is nigh on impossible. We’ve done lots of research, with launch monitors and track man and flight scope and things like that. And very rarely do you see a ball that comes out with very limited sort of tilted back spin or side spin. So it’s very difficult to get the ball to fly perfectly straight.

So what are the advantages of playing for the curve? Well Nicklaus often talked about the fact that if he aimed left and tried to hit a little bit of a fade, he knew he would never hook the ball. So if he aimed seven yards left which was his prescribed distance with the short time he always talked about aiming seven yards left. If he aimed seven yards left and he hit it straight, it would stay seven yards left to the flag; predominantly it would be on the green. If he cut it a little bit as was his intention, he would cut it nicely back into the flag and a nice little seven yard fade landing on line with the flag. And if he over cut it or slice it just a little bit, it would finish probably up to seven yards on the other side of the flag but quite importantly still on the green. And he always said that if he tried to hit a fade, he would never hit a hook, whereas if was aiming at the flag and tried to hit a dead straight shot, he could hit a hook and a fade or a slice and not really feel the difference. And Hogan likewise talked about how if was inside the line and releasing the club head, he knew the ball would always be starting right and moving back in towards the flag rather than blocking way out right or snap hooking across the green.

So when you’re practicing just be aware that hitting the ball perfectly straight is very difficult to do and isn’t absolutely necessary. What is necessary is to have a shape that you can control and is consistent. So be it to draw or fade, as long as you know what’s going to happen to the golf ball to a certain degree and the result is a ball that finishes back to the target line, don’t worry if he is not plumb up dead straight every time.