Shots in Golf

The Four Special Shots in Golf

Golf is a sport that requires precision, strategy, and a wide range of skills to succeed. Among the many different types of golf shots used by players, four stand out as the most unique and specialized: the fade, draw, punch, and flop shots. 

Mastering these four special shots can significantly improve a golfer’s ability to move the ball creatively around the course. This article will explain in detail what these four special golf shots are and how to execute them.

What is a fade shot?

A fade shot, also known as a sliced shot, is a type of controlled miss-hit in which the golf ball curves from left to right in the air for right-handed players. A fading golf shot begins straight down the intended target line before gradually curving sideways in flight. A fade allows the ball to avoid hazards, navigate doglegs, and hold greens that slope right to left.

To hit a fade, players use an open clubface alignment and an out-to-in swing path. The open clubface initially points the ball right of the target line, while the inside-out swing path imparts right-to-left spin on the ball, resulting in the signature fade movement from left to right.

Fade shots are especially useful for right-handed golfers because the curve moves the ball away from course obstacles that are typically located on the right side. Grip, stance alignment, ball position, and swing path manipulation are all essential components of executing quality fade shots.

What is a Draw Shot?

A draw shot is essentially the inverse of a fade: the ball starts straight and gently curves from right to left for righties (or left to right for left-handed golfers). This controlled slice alters the ball’s original path of flight to avoid hazards, hold greens, or navigate doglegs. Golf fans enjoy watching draw shots because of their appealing sideways curve shape.

To hit a draw shot, righties will use a closed clubface with an inside-out swing path. At impact, the closed clubface points left of the target, and the in-to-out swing imparts clockwise sidespin to the ball. As a result, the golf ball moves sideways through the air in the direction it is spinning, forming the iconic shape of a draw shot. To perform a draw correctly, one must make precise adjustments to their alignment, grip, stance, and swing path.

What is a Punch shot?

A punch shot, also known as a knock down shot, is a low-flying golf shot that eliminates airspace by intentionally keeping the ball extremely low after impact. This specialty shot is ideal for keeping balls under tree branches and strong wind gusts. Players can control the height and trajectory of the ball during impact by “punching” down on it.

To execute a properly compressed punch shot, a golfer must make ball-first contact with the club’s lead edge. Keeping the hands markedly forward of the clubhead at address allows one to strike the ball before it hits the ground. On the downswing, the wrists hinge downward to create an extremely steep angle of attack into the back of the ball, resulting in a low driving trajectory. Punch shots require good course management, careful club selection, and precise ball striking to be effective. They keep golf balls low and provide better control in difficult situations.

What is a flop shot?

The flop shot, also known as the sky lob, is a tremendously high-arcing short shot that is intended to land softly on the green and stop immediately. This specialty finesse shot is used to fly the ball over high-lipped bunkers and shorter rough lies when there isn’t enough room to putt from. It enables golfers to challenge tucked-away hole locations surrounded by bunkers and other obstacles.

A flop shot requires extreme wrist hinge and hold during the backswing, followed by a forceful release through impact. On descent, the dynamic loft of the clubhead increases significantly, resulting in high backspin rates. 

At address, the shaft leans heavily toward the target, with ample knee flex and the ball positioned just inside the lead foot. To properly crest the lofted shot, golfers must brush the turf shallowly after ball strike. Landscape limitations, skill level, and imagination necessitate careful application of the flop on various holes.

When to Use These Special Shots?

Successfully implementing specialty shots requires making creative shot choices based on the challenges at hand. For example:

Fade Shot – Great for getting around course obstacles to the right of the target line, holding up shots into right-to-left sloping greens, and offsetting dominant right miss tendencies.

Draw Shot – Used to shape tee shots on doglegs right, curve approach shots left into back right hole locations, and eliminate overpowering left miss tendencies.

Punch Shot–  Keep balls beneath tree canopies, avoid air currents in windy conditions, and maintain control when hitting from tight lies in the rough.

Flop Shot – Hit over bunkers and other impediments to greens, test tucked hole locations, and demonstrate shot-making ability.


Golfers strive to develop a comprehensive shot-making repertoire capable of overcoming diverse course architectures. While straight shots have merit, the four special shots – fades, draws, punches, and flops – are essential weapons for achieving lower scores. 

The creative use of these specialty Shots in Golf enables players to avoid hazards. Shape shots intentionally, manipulate trajectory, conquer elements, and demonstrate skills. Practice commitments aimed at honing fades, draws, punches, and flops are invaluable due to improved shot-making abilities. Aspiring golfers should set aside time specifically to master these unique techniques. Combining these four special shots strategically with stock straight shots. Based on hole layouts is a formula that champion golfers have used in the past to achieve success. 

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