Fundamentals for a Better Game – The Straight Shot – Part 9

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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This is the continuation of my series titled “Fundamentals for a Better Game.” The aim of this is to provide ball flight and impact fundamentals any player regardless of skill level can use to become better. This is part 9, Straight Shot. 

What is the straight shot?
This may seem like an obvious question or one that’s simple to answer and at face value, it is. The exciting part is you can hit a straight shot 3 different ways. Overall, the straight shot encompasses all of the previous TrackMan Fundamentals. 

Previous Misconceptions?
The most glaring misconception with a Straight Shot is that there is only ONE way to produce that shot. While conventual wisdom would say this is true, in fact, it is false. 

What Do I need to know?
You’ll have to understand the relationship between Club Path & Face Angle. The simplest way to hit a straight shot is to hit the ball directly in the center of the face with a Club path & Face Angle traveling directly down the target line, or ZERO. This effectively is called “Zeroing out.” This method brings up an interesting question. How do I hit a straight shot without striking the center of the face? 

I have touched on this in previous tips but I will summarize each secondary method. 

These methods are predicated on the path of the club in relation to the target line and the gear effect of an off-center strike. 

• A Club Path moving inside to out (for a right-handed player) would require a HEEL strike in order to have the ball fly straight. This is primarily influenced by Gear Effect.

• Conversely, a Club path moving outside to in (for a right-handed player) would require a TOE strike in order to have the ball fly straight. 

The greater the Club Path strays from zero in either direction, the more an off-center strike can either HELP or HURT your ball flight. Or to relate it to the golf course, either bring your ball closer to the middle of the fairway or farther out of bounds. 

How Can I Practice This?
Practicing a straight shot is more of an awareness practice than anything because you’ll use the flight of your ball to determine the 3 key variables for every shot:

• Where was the ball struck? (centeredness)

• Where did the ball start? (Face Angle)

• Which way did it curve? (Club path)

Once you can confidently & accurately answer these 3 questions, you’ll be on your way to getting more with less practice time & making the time you do have, exponentially more productive. 

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher the past 14 years. Voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State the past 21 years. Trackman Master Instructor. Titleist Certified Club Fitter. Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches private lessons at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. The Scott Sackett Signature Schools take place at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club. Follow Scott on Instagram @scottsackettgolf, Email: | Site URL: