Types of Golf Shots

golf shots

For those who love golf, there's nothing better than playing a stellar round, and a big part of that satisfaction you feel when you finish under par or lower your handicap comes from just how difficult of a sport it is. One of the biggest challenges that new and occasional golfers face is learning all of the terminology. There are numerous types of golf shots commonly used in the sport. Many struggle just to learn what the names of golf shots describe before they even begin to think about mastering the correct technique for them. This guide will get you on your way by breaking down various golf shots.

Golf Names for Shots

Knowing the different types of golf shots will allow you to speak the language of the links. When you can recognize the names of shots, you are ready to take personalized advice from pros, research courses and get more from golf tips published online and in books. Here is a rundown of some of the types of golf shots you're likely to encounter:


The drive is one of the most well-known golf shots, and you're likely to hear the name being used at the start of a hole. It describes a long-distance shot that usually starts from the tee but can also begin on the fairway, if necessary. Drive golf shots are all about distance. The objective is to hit the ball as far as you can to get it as close to the green as possible. Most beginners can achieve drives of roughly 200 to 260 yards. Top pros may be capable of drives that soar more than 300 yards.


An Approach is one of the golf shots you'll hear being mentioned outside of the green. The term doesn't refer to set style or form. Instead, it describes all of the shots that come after the drive and before the green. Usually, you make an approach with irons and aim for distance.


golf putt

Of all the different types of golf shots, the putt is the one you hear most often from people who aren't golfers. You'll hear it used not only once you reach the green on a golf course, but also for mini golf, which focuses entirely on putting. The putt is a short shot made with a putter that focuses on precision and control with the goal of getting the ball from a location on the green into the hole. A strong putt can make a huge impact on your overall score.


Any time there is a hazard on the course, you may hear this term that refers to getting the ball in a safe position so you don't end up stuck in a bunker or watching your ball sink into a water feature. A lay-up is one of the names for golf shots taken from the green and most often involves hybrids or the middle irons.


golf chip

Chipping is the name of the golf shot that describes a specific kind of technique. With a chip, the goal is to send the ball a short distance along the ground by not employing a full swing. You'll normally make chips with a wedge for a lay-up to get the ball onto the green or escape a hazard.


Like the chip, the punch is one type of short-distance strategic shot. With a chip, the ball rolls more than it flies, and with a punch, the flight is longer than the roll. You'll want to opt for a punch to avoid low hazards or improve control in windy conditions.


When you need to clear an obstacle, the flop is usually the preferred option among the different types of golf shots. Flop shots have a high trajectory but a short flight path to send the ball over the top of things. In addition, you may employ a flop if you don't want the ball to roll much when it hits the ground.


The draw is one of the names for a golf shot that describes how the ball spins. As a right-handed player, you achieve a draw when you hit the ball from right to left. A draw made by a left-handed player travels from left to right.

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The fade is the opposite of a draw when a right-handed player hits the ball from left to right or a leftie hits from right to left.


Not all types of golf shots are ones you want to employ on the course. Some of the names of golf shots describe what happens when the ball doesn't end up where you intended. A Hook is one of those golf shots. It describes when the ball has too much draw or a player unintentionally hits a draw.


The slice is another of the hope-to-avoid golf shots that is most-often hit by novices. It refers to an excessive or unintended fade from an open club and outside-in swing path. There are three types of golf slices: a pull slice, push slice (the most ruinous) and standard slice. To avoid hitting a slice, square your clubface and swing on the proper path.


If you hit the ball with the joint of the club face or the area nearby, you may end up with a shank. The term describes when the ball of a right-handed golfer veers extremely off to the right or a left-handed player's ball goes far to the left.


Should the club mistakenly make contact with the ball above the horizontal midline of the ball, it will get too much spin and end up rolling along the ground for a very short distance. This is what is known as a top.


If you accidentally hit the ground before you hit the ball and remove a lot of earth, you've executed a fat, and the ball is likely to only travel a short distance. Note that fats are mistakes and not the same as intentionally removing a divot when playing the fairway or from the rough.

Take the Shot

Ultimately, the goal of learning about the names of golf shots is to get you on your way to mastering them. Knowing about different golf shots will give you more options at every hole. As you practice to incorporate various golf shots into your game, what you're wearing also matters. Lightweight, moisture-wicking golf apparel from Devereux can keep you comfortable and focused, so you can focus on taking every shot.

Keep Reading:

Golf Drills for Beginners

How to Hold a Golf Club

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