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Golf Shot Types for Beginners.

For any beginner in golf, understanding and mastering different types of golf shots is a key step towards improving their game. Each shot type serves a unique purpose and is used under specific circumstances during the course of a game.

For instance, a drive shot is used for long distance shots typically from the tee, while a chip shot helps to get the ball onto the green from a close distance.

Mastering these different shot types not only provides a player with a comprehensive toolkit to tackle various challenges on the course, but it also improves their overall understanding of the game, their strategy planning capability, and ultimately enhances their performance and enjoyment of the sport.

Understanding Basic Golf Shot Types

What are the 9 Basic Golf Shots

To anyone new to golf, golf shots explained in simple terms can be a game-changer. Let’s delve into the nine basic golf shots that every golfer should have in their arsenal.

  1. Tee Shot: Executed at the start of a hole, the tee shot is typically done with a driver or 3-wood for maximum distance.
  2. Approach Shot: This shot is aimed at placing the ball on the green, typically performed with irons.
  3. Fairway Shot: Played from the mowed part of the course, the fairway shot aims for distance and accuracy.
  4. Bunker Shot: A recovery shot played from the sand traps placed around the course.
  5. Pitch Shot: Shorter than the full swing but longer than a chip shot, pitch shots are used for approach shots within 100 yards of the green.
  6. Chip Shot: A low-trajectory shot used to get the ball onto the green from a close distance.
  7. Putt: A shot played on the green, typically with a putter, aimed at getting the ball into the hole.
  8. Lob Shot: A high trajectory shot intended to go over hazards and land softly on the green.
  9. Flop Shot: Similar to the lob shot, but hit with an open clubface to achieve greater height in a shorter distance.

Understanding and mastering these nine fundamental golf shots is a crucial step towards improving your golfing abilities and enjoying the game to its fullest.

How Many Types of Shots are in Golf?

In the diverse world of golf, there are a plethora of shots that a player can utilize, each designed for a specific situation on the course. The most commonly known shots in golf, as already mentioned, are the tee, approach, fairway, bunker, pitch, chip, putt, lob, and flop shots. However, these are just the basics.

For instance, there are various specialized sand shots, such as the plugged bunker shot, where the ball is deeply embedded in the sand, and the splash bunker shot, which is used when the ball is sitting on top of the sand.

Additionally, the punch shot, a low-running ball shoot, proves useful in windy conditions or when navigating through trees. There’s also the draw and fade shots – these are advanced ball shoots that curve the ball in a specific direction for strategic placement on the fairway or green.

Moreover, golfers often implore a recovery shot when the ball lands in a difficult spot. This shot varies based on the situation and can be a mix of shots such as a high lofted fairway wood or a low running iron shot.

While these shots only scratch the surface, they highlight the varied nature of golf and the strategy involved in choosing the right shot for any given situation.

Mastering these different types of shots can significantly improve a golfer’s game and open up new strategic possibilities on the course.

Essential Golf Shots Every Beginner Should Know

  • Drive: The initial shot taken from the tee-box, typically using a driver with the objective of achieving maximum distance.
  • Approach: A shot aimed at landing the ball on the green.
  • Putt: A shot typically played on the green, using a putter with the objective of getting the ball into the hole.
  • Lay-Up: A strategic shot where the player purposely doesn’t hit as far as possible to avoid a hazard.
  • Chip: A short, lofted shot usually made from just off the green.
  • Punch: A low-trajectory shot used to combat windy conditions or to navigate under tree branches.
  • Straight: A shot that flies straight from the point of impact to the target.
  • Flop: A high-lofted shot used to get over hazards close to the green.
  • Draw: A shot that gently curves from right to left for a right-handed player.
  • Fade: A shot that gently moves from left to right for a right-handed player.
  • Shank: A mishit where the ball comes off the heel of the club causing it to go sharply right of the intended target.
  • Top: A mishit where the player strikes the ball above its center causing it to dribble ahead.
  • Fat Chunk: A mishit where the club hits the ground before the ball, often resulting in a divot and loss of distance.
  • Thin: A mishit where the club strikes the middle or top half of the ball, generally causing it to travel low and fast.
  • Blind Shot: A shot where the golfer cannot see the landing area or target; common on hilly courses or when an obstacle obscures the view.
  • Mulligan: In informal play, a mulligan allows a player to replay a stroke without penalty due to a poor initial shot.
  • Fringe Putt: A shot made from the fringe, or border, of the green where the grass is cut slightly longer than on the green itself.
  • Lag Putt: A long-range putt designed to end up close to the hole rather than aiming to sink it; the primary focus is on distance control.
  • Gimme: In casual play, a shot so close to the hole that it is assumed that the player would make it, so they pick it up and count it as made.
  • Pitch: A high-lofted shot, often played near the green, designed to travel high in the air and stop quickly upon landing.
  • Plugged Lie: Also known as a buried lie, it’s when the ball is embedded in the grass or a sand bunker, making the next shot more difficult.
  • Fried Egg: A term used when a ball in a sand bunker has only a small part visible with the surrounding sand resembling the white of a fried egg.

Specialized Golf Shots explained

  • High Fade Golf Shot: A shot that starts left of the target and gently curves to the right, typically used to maneuver around obstacles or to counter a left-to-right wind.
  • High Draw Golf Shot: A shot that starts right of the target and subtly curves to the left, often used to bypass obstacles or to combat a right-to-left wind.
  • Hook: A shot that curves sharply from right to left (for a right-handed player), often unintentional and could end up off the target.
  • Slice: A shot that curves markedly from left to right (for a right-handed player), usually unintentional and may result in the ball landing far off target.
  • Knockdown Golf Shot: A low trajectory shot designed to minimize the effect of wind. The ball is played back in the stance, and the follow-through is abbreviated.
  • Flop Golf Shot: A high-trajectory shot used to clear obstacles and stop quickly upon landing. It’s often played with a high-lofted club and a full swing.
  • Bump and Run Golf Shot: A ground shot that involves hitting the ball into a slope or hill to slow its speed before it runs towards the target. It’s a handy shot for windy conditions or fast greens.
  • Punch Golf Shot: A low, controlled shot intended to avoid the wind or low-hanging obstacles like tree branches. The club is typically swung at three-quarters of the power.
  • Sand Golf Shots: Also known as bunker shots, these are played from a sand trap. A high-lofted club (like a sand wedge) is used to splash the ball out, with the clubhead hitting the sand first rather than the ball.

Comparing Different Golf Shots

Flop Shot vs. Chip Shot

A Flop Shot and a Chip Shot serve different purposes on the golf course and require unique techniques. A Flop Shot is employed when you need to get the ball over an obstacle and stop it quickly on the green.

This high trajectory shot is typically played with a high-lofted club and a full swing. Contrastingly, a Chip Shot is a low trajectory shot that spends more time traveling along the ground than in the air. Golfers use this shot when they’re close to the green and want the ball to roll towards the hole.

The club used for a Chip Shot is usually less lofted, and the swing is more of a putting strokle. This shot requires less precision and is less affected by wind, making it a safe and reliable choice in many situations.

On the other hand, a Pitch Shot is used when the golfer needs to get the ball over an obstacle such as a bunker or when there isn’t much green to work with.

The ball is hit with more loft and spends more time in the air than on the ground. The goal is to land the ball as close to the hole as possible, where it will then roll a short distance towards the. Both shots require practice to master and can significantly improve a golfer’s short game when used correctly.

Draw vs. Hook

A Draw and a Hook are both shots in golf that curve to the left for right-handed players (and to the right for left-handed players). However, they each have distinct characteristics and uses in a golfer’s arsenal.

A Draw shot is a controlled, gentle curve that starts right of the target and finishes on the target. It’s a desirable shot for a golfer as it adds extra roll once the ball lands, increasing the potential distance.

On the other hand, a Hook shot is a more aggressive curve that generally starts at or right of the target and then curves dramatically to the left, often ending left of the target.

The hook can be a problematic shot if not controlled as it can lead the ball into trouble, such as out of bounds or into a hazard. Both shots require an understanding of the golf swing and the effect of the clubface’s relationship to the swing path at the point of impact.

Fade vs. Slice

A Fade and a Slice are golf shots that curve to the right for right-handed players (and to the left for left-handed players). Despite their similarity, they are distinguished by the degree of their curve and the golfer’s control over them.

A Fade is a slight, controlled curve to the right, starting left of the target and gently moving back to land on target. It is typically an intentional shot used to navigate around obstacles or approach the green from a specific angle.

Conversely, a Slice is an extreme, often unintended curve to the right that starts at or left of the target and veers dramatically off course, usually ending up right of the target. This shot is generally considered a mistake and can result in significant difficulties, like landing in hazards or out of bounds. Understanding the effects of the clubface’s orientation to the swing path at the moment of impact is crucial in managing and preventing a Slice.

Bump and Run vs. Pitch Shot

A Bump and Run and a Pitch Shot are both handy shots to employ near the green. The Bump and Run shot is typically used when the green is flat and unobstructed, with the aim of getting the ball rolling on the green like a putt as soon as possible.

The golfer hits the ball with less loft, and it spends more time on the ground than in the air, ‘bumping’ along the terrain before ‘running’ towards the hoe hole.

This shot requires more precision and skill, as the golfer needs to control both the flight and the roll of the ball to get it close to the hole. Understanding when and how to use these two shots can significantly impact a golfer’s short game performance.

Technical Aspects of Golf Shots

How to Hit Different Types of Golf Shots

  • Setup/Stance: The foundation of any good golf shot starts with the right setup and stance. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with the ball positioned in the center for short irons, gradually moving towards the inside of the lead foot for longer clubs. Good posture is crucial – maintain a straight back, bend at the hips, and allow your arms to hang down naturally.
  • Grip: A solid grip is the only physical connection you have with the golf club, making it a vital aspect of the swing. The grip should be firm, but relaxed, with the club resting diagonally across the fingers of the trailing hand and the thumb pointing down the shaft. The lead hand should cover the trailing hand, with the thumb and index finger of the lead hand making a ‘V’ shape that points towards your trailing shoulder.
  • Wrist Position: Wrist position plays a critical role in controlling the clubface. At the top of the backswing, the wrist should be fully hinged to create a 90-degree angle with the club. During the downswing, the wrist hinge should be maintained until the downswing is almost complete. This helps to generate power and ensures the clubface is correctly oriented at impact.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the shots in golf called?

In golf, shots are named based on how they’re played. The main ones include the “drive,” which is a long-distance shot from the tee, the “fairway shot” played on the course, and the “putt” on the green aimed towards the hole. Other shots include the “chip,” a short shot typically made from near the green, and the “pitch,” a shot played with a high trajectory.

What is a shot in golf?

A shot in golf refers to the act of striking the golf ball with a club. Each strike is counted towards the player’s score for that hole. The purpose of each shot varies based on its position in the game and can range from achieving maximum distance to controlling the ball’s trajectory for precise placement.

How many golf shots are there?

There’s no definitive number of golf shots as they can vary based on the player’s strategy, skill level, and the course itself. However, there are several standard types of shots: the drive, fairway shot, approach, lay-up, chip, pitch, flop, bunker shot, and putt, among others.

How do you describe golf shots?

Golf shots are described by their purpose, trajectory, distance, the club used, and the spin of the ball. For example, a drive is a long-distance shot usually played with a driver club, while a chip is a short-range shot played near the green with the intention of getting the ball to roll towards the hole. The success of a golf shot is evaluated based on the player’s aim, the shot’s execution, and the resulting position of the ball.

What is a golf punch shot?

A golf punch shot is a type of strike where the player intentionally reduces the height of the ball’s flight. Often used in windy conditions, this shot requires a shorter backswing and a centered body position to keep the ball low and control its trajectory.

How do you hit low iron shots?

To hit low iron shots in golf, players need to adjust their stance and grip. The ball should be positioned towards the back of the stance, and the hands should be ahead of the ball at address. This leads to a steeper, descending blow that keeps the flight of the ball lower.

What is a trap draw?

A trap draw is a shot in golf where the ball initially moves right of the target line and then curves back to the left. This is achieved by swinging the club on an inside-out path with a slightly closed clubface which imparts right-to-left spin on the ball.

How to do a flop shot?

A flop shot is a high-trajectory, short-distance shot usually performed near the green to overcome a hazard or to stop the ball quickly. To execute a flop shot, open the clubface wide, take a wider stance, and swing along the body line. The key is to slide the club under the ball and let the loft of the club lift the ball into the air.

How do you visualize a shot in golf?

Visualizing a shot in golf involves mental rehearsing of the shot before execution. It includes envisioning the ball’s trajectory, the landing spot, and the roll. This technique requires concentration and practice, but over time it can enhance precision and confidence in shot-making.

Golf Terminology and Scoring

What is a bogey in golf?

A bogey in golf is a score of one over par on a hole. Par is the number of strokes an accomplished player is expected to take to complete a hole. If the hole is a par 3 and a player takes 4 strokes to hole out, that’s a bogey.

What is hitting a golf ball called?

Hitting a golf ball is commonly referred to as a “stroke” or “shot”. Each swing attempting to hit the ball counts as a stroke.

What is an unsuccessful shot in golf called?

In golf, an unsuccessful shot that doesn’t advance the ball as planned may be referred to as a duff, fluff, or mishit. These terms describe a shot where the golfer either makes poor contact or no contact at all with the ball.

How many shots do you get in golf?

The number of shots a player gets in a round of golf can vary, but a standard round consists of 18 holes. The total number of strokes taken during these 18 holes is the player’s score for the round. There is no set number of maximum shots, and the player continues to take strokes until the ball is holed.

What is a rare golf shot?

A rare golf shot often refers to a “hole-in-one” or “ace,” which occurs when a golfer hits the ball directly from the tee into the cup with one stroke. This is an extremely rare occurrence due to the distance and accuracy required.

What is the best shot in golf history?

Determining the best shot in golf history can be subjective as it depends on personal opinions and the significance of the shot in the context of the tournament. That being said, one often-cited shot is Tiger Woods’ chip-in on the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters. The ball was placed almost impossible to hole from, but Woods managed a chip that slowly rolled to the hole, paused for a moment on the lip of the cup, then dropped in for a birdie.

What is a Duff shot in golf?

A duff shot in golf is when a player makes a poor contact with the ball, often hitting the ground before making contact with the ball. This usually results in the ball not traveling as far as intended.

What are the different types of shots in PGA 2023?

In the PGA 2k23 video game, there are numerous types of shots players can execute, including a drive, iron shot, pitch, chip, flop, punch, splash, putt, and more. Each shot requires unique skills and strategies, adding to the game’s intricacy and realism.

What is a tee shot in golf?

A tee shot in golf is the first stroke taken on each hole, from the teeing ground. This shot is typically taken with a driver for long-distance holes, but golfers may choose other clubs based on their strategy and the hole’s layout.


Understanding the various types of golf shots is pivotal to enhancing one’s golf game. Each shot type, such as the drive, iron shot, and putt, possesses distinctive characteristics that can strategically influence the outcome of a game. Knowing when and how to execute these shots effectively can provide a golfer with a significant advantage over competitors. Furthermore, continual learning and practice are essential components for progress in golf. The sport’s complexity and depth mean that there are always new skills to refine, whether that be improving swing technique, mastering a new type of shot, or understanding course strategies. The journey of becoming a proficient golfer is marked by constant evolution, learning, and adaptability, making golf both a challenging and rewarding pursuit.

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