Checking in with Team Canada

Tip: Shot-shaping 101

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Alena Sharp (Golf Canada)

When I analyze a golf swing I do so with a number of objectives in mind. Helping to create the desired shot is a very important one but also allowing enough variability to create a number of shots as required. Oftentimes I will suggest an adjustment in setup rather than alter an athlete’s swing mechanics. This is both easier to manage (as long as comfort is not the priority) and delivers almost immediate results.

Let’s focus on two parameters that change the resulting impact of ball flight dramatically: shoulder alignment and ball position.

Successful athletes like Alena Sharp, an Olympian with Team Canada at the 2016 Rio Games, know how to match these positions up to their desired result. She demonstrates here two different setup positions to deliver two different-shaped shots.


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Shoulder alignment to the right of target, ball position closer to the centre of your stance. This allows your path to move to the right of the clubface and encourages right-to-left shape to the shot.

Shoulders aligned to the left of the target with the ball position closer to your lead foot. This allows your path to move to the left of the clubface and encourage a left-to-right shape to the shot.

At first these positions may feel uncomfortable and contact may be inconsistent. But stick with it and try both address positions. At some point you may need both shapes to be successful on the golf course.

This article was originally published in the Fall Issue of Golf Canada Magazine. Click here to view the full magazine.