If you’re like me, if you’re happy after firing a round of 92 because it’s your fourth straight round in double digits, then your game is anything but consistent. When you play once every two weeks, you never really get into that groove where you can hit multiple good shots in a row. Golfers like us hit a variety of shots, some good and some bad, but very few alike.
But after years and years of playing at this same level, I’ve seen about every shot that can be hit. I’ve run the gamut of golf shots. I’ve hit the 100 yard sand wedge that makes a divot you actually have to repair (I always make sure people notice me repairing my divots. People tend to think you’re good if they see you repairing a divot.), yet I’ve also gotten, to quote Dan Patrick, “the whiff.” With this wealth of experience, I will attempt to break down, classify, and explain the various shots in my repertoire. Without further ado... Fore!
The Topspin Drive: Also known as the “Sir Tops-a-lot,” this shot always fascinates me. It feels at first like a solid drive, but then falls precipitously in mid-flight. I always console myself by noting how far it rolls. Typical yardage: 50-100 yards.
The Worm Burner: A relative of the topspin drive, this shot comes from topping the ball. The knuckle ball spin separates it from the topspin drive. Plus, you know it sucks when you hit it. The worm burner is generally followed by an expletive. Typical yardage: 50-100 yards.
The Level 1 Chunk: This generally occurs on shots from the 25-150 yard distance, when you simply hit the ground first, and the ball ends up roughly half way between you and the green. A leading cause of club throwing/breaking. Typical yardage: 50% of intended distance.
The Level 2 Chunk: This shot is characterized by violent contact with the ground before hitting the ball, generally on drives or long approach shots. Possibly the worst feeling in golf. Hint: If the ball is still in the tee box after your drive, you’ve probably hit a level 2 chunk. Typical yardage: 20-100 yards.
The “A Little Too Much English On That One”: This ball starts off straight, providing a glimmer of hope before viciously veering off to the right or left. Studies have shown that this shot contributes to 84.6% of all “fore” calls. Typical yardage: don’t worry about it; you’re not finding the ball.
The No-Looker/The Pro: Your basic good shot. On a good drive, duffers are obligated to pick up the tee immediately without looking at the ball, as if this type of thing happens on a regular basis. On a good approach shot, say things like “bite” or “be the club,” while thinking “holy poop on a stick, how did I do that?” Typical yardage: the correct distance.
The Skull: The low, lining chip that goes from one side of the green to the other. If you’re within 10 yards of the green, this is always a possibility. Typical yardage: too far.
The Beach Bum: If you go from a sand trap to a different part of the same trap, you’ve hit the beach bum. The beach bum occurs when people who don’t know how to hit sand shots have to hit them. After two consecutive beach bums, the ball can be tossed onto the green by hand. Typical yardage: negligible.
The “Does Your Husband Play?”/The Mildred: A chip or putt that just shows a complete lack of guts. Just an embarrassing situation all-around. Typical yardage: not nearly far enough.
The Club Snap: As the name would suggest, the head of the club simply flies off for no apparent reason. This is rare, but is generally caused by a level 2 chunk. Simply put, “noobie.” Typical yardage: take a mulligan.
The "6 or a 9": The most depressing shot in the game. Just when you think you've hit a good shot, the ball is inexplicably 30 yards too far or too short. And then you look at the number on the club. Typical yardage: 35 yards... from the green.
The Popup Drive: The ball is teed up a bit too high and is subsequently hit at an obscenely high angle. This is generally followed by the usual “nice wedge, man” jokes. Typical yardage: 10-50 yards.
The All Tee: Similar to the popup drive, except without any ball-club contact whatsoever. One of the rarest and most humiliating shots in golf. Typical yardage: Survey says “ZERO!”
The Whiff: Generally followed by: “No, seriously, it was just a practice swing. Guys, I’m serious. I wasn’t really trying to hit it.” The whiff is a good time to end your round, or this article.