20 Types of Golf Shots: From Beginner to Advanced

Numerous factors contribute to the difficulty of golf, such as the intricate mechanics of the swing, the various clubs involved, the unique designs of each course, and the ever-changing weather conditions

However, from my perspective, the most significant challenge arises from the wide variety of types of golf shots.

From the very first swing to the final putt, there is a multitude of shots that necessitate mastery when engaging in the sport of golf. Additionally, keeping up with the specialized terminology used by golfers can be quite a task.

Continue reading to discover the most common types of golf shots and learn how to proficiently execute a wide range of them, enabling you to become a well-rounded player capable of navigating the entire course, from the tee to the green!

Let’s dive in!

20 golf shot types from beginner to advanced

Types Of Golf Shots: An Overview Of The Basics

Before we delve into the various types of golf shots, it’s essential to understand the basics:

Tee Shot 

Every hole begins with this shot, known as the drive. Golfers typically employ the driver as their club of choice when playing on par 4s and par 5s. 

The objective is to strike the ball with sufficient distance and accuracy. Novice golfers often face challenges such as slicing the ball off the tee, leading some to opt for a 3-wood instead. 

The 3-wood tends to offer greater straightness due to its additional loft compared to the driver.

golfer taking tee shot

Approach Shot 

This shot occurs when you hit the ball far enough to reach the green. 

Typically, golfers utilize their irons for these shots, but an increasing number of players, particularly juniors and seniors, are turning to hybrids. 

Hybrids are favored for their ease of achieving higher and longer shots.

Chip Shot 

Executed around the green, the chip shot typically rolls more than it flies in the air. 

Various clubs, usually ranging from a 7-iron to a lob wedge, can be employed for this shot. Accuracy and distance control take precedence over pure distance in chip shots. 

Modern course designs have introduced challenges by requiring more air under short game shots, while the greens have become faster and firmer over time.

golfer taking a chip shot

Pitch Shot 

The pitch shot involves a higher flight time than ground contact and doesn’t require a full swing. 

For this shot, golfers usually utilize one of their wedges, ranging from the pitching wedge (around 48 degrees) to the lob wedge (approximately 60 degrees). 

Considered one of the most crucial shots in golf for reducing scores, the pitch shot doesn’t rely heavily on strength, speed, or extraordinary technique. Instead, it requires practice, repetition, and touch.

Putt Shot

Once you’ve reached the green or the fringe, the putt comes into play, involving the use of a putter to roll the ball along the ground. 

Putting presents an excellent opportunity to save shots. Surprisingly, the PGA Tour’s success rate from 8 feet is just under 54%

You can significantly decrease your overall score by dedicating time to practice putts ranging from 3 to 10 feet.

golfer taking a putt shot

Types Of Golf Shots: Beginner Golf Shots

For beginner golfers, mastering the following types of golf shots is crucial to developing a solid foundation in the game. 

By understanding and practicing these types of golf shots, beginners can improve their overall technique and performance on the course:

Blind Shot

A blind shot occurs when the golfer’s view of the target is obstructed, often by a hill or a dogleg on the course. 

In such situations, it’s crucial to rely on course markers, visualization, and proper alignment to hit the ball accurately. 

Beginners should focus on developing consistent swing mechanics and ball-striking skills to handle blind shots effectively.

golfer lining up a blind shot

Topped vs. Chunked Shot

Topping the ball means hitting it above its equator, resulting in a low, weak shot that doesn’t travel far. 

Conversely, chunking occurs when the club strikes the ground before making contact with the ball, resulting in a short, heavy shot. 

Both topped and chunked shots are common for beginners due to inconsistent swing paths and improper weight transfer. 

Working on the proper setup, balance, and maintaining a smooth tempo can help rectify these issues.

golfer taking a topped shot

Chip vs. Pitch Shot

Chipping and pitching are two essential shots around the green. A chip shot is played with a less lofted club (such as a 7-iron or pitching wedge) and is primarily used when the ball is near the green. 

It involves a short, controlled swing with minimal wrist action, resulting in a low-trajectory shot that rolls along the ground. 

On the other hand, a pitch shot is played with a more lofted club (such as a sand wedge or lob wedge) and is used when the ball needs to carry a higher obstacle, such as a bunker or a mound. 

Beginners should practice both chip and pitch shots to develop touch and distance control.

golfer taking a chip shot

Bump and Run Shot

The bump and run, or chip and run shot, is a valuable technique for getting the ball close to the hole when the green is firm, and running the ball along the ground is the preferred option. 

It involves using a low-lofted club (such as a 5-iron or 6-iron) and making a putting-like stroke to land the ball on the green and let it roll toward the hole. 

Beginners should focus on controlling the distance and accuracy of their bump and run shots.

Types Of Golf Shots: Intermediate Golf Shots

Various types of golf shots require specific techniques to execute successfully at an intermediate level:

Fairway Bunker Shot

Hitting a ball out of a fairway bunker requires a slightly different technique compared to shooting from the fairway. 

It is crucial to maintain a stable base and strike the ball first, ensuring that the club does not make contact with the sand before impact. 

Practicing fairway bunker shots helps develop consistency and the ability to escape these challenging situations.

golfer taking a fairway bunker shot

Greenside Bunker Shot

Greenside bunker shots are often considered one of the most intimidating shots for many golfers. 

The key is to open the clubface, position the ball slightly forward in the stance, and enter the sand a few inches behind the ball

This technique allows the sand to lift the ball out and onto the green. Consistent practice is essential to gain confidence and improve success rates from greenside bunkers.

golfer taking a greenside bunker shot

Punch Shot

The punch shot is a valuable tool when facing windy conditions or when trying to keep the ball under tree branches. 

It involves a three-quarter backswing and a shorter follow-through, resulting in a lower, controlled ball flight. 

Mastering the punch shot provides versatility and helps golfers manage challenging situations on the course effectively.

Types Of Golf Shots: Full Swing Advanced Golf Shots

In the realm of advanced types of golf shots, players have the opportunity to shape their shots and add another layer of skill to their game:

Draw vs. Hook Shot

A draw and a hook are shots that curve from right to left (for right-handed golfers). 

However, a draw is a controlled shot that starts slightly right of the target and curves back towards it, while a hook is an exaggerated draw that starts right of the target and curves excessively left. 

Advanced golfers who have developed a consistent swing path and clubface control can intentionally shape their shots to navigate obstacles or add distance.

golfer taking a draw shot / hook shot

Fade vs. Slice Shot

Similar to the draw and hook, a fade and a slice are shots that curve from left to right (for right-handed golfers). 

A fade is a controlled shot that starts slightly left of the target and gently curves back to the right, while a slice is an excessive fade that starts left of the target and curves sharply to the right. 

Advanced players can use fades and slices strategically to navigate tight fairways or shape shots around hazards.

golfer taking a fade shot / slice shot

Stinger Shot

The stinger shot, popularized by professional golfer Tiger Woods, is a low-trajectory shot that maximizes control and distance. 

It involves a sweeping motion with a longer iron or a fairway wood, resulting in a piercing ball flight that stays low to the ground. 

Advanced golfers who have honed their ball-striking skills can use the stinger shot to manage windy conditions or tight landing areas effectively.

Flop Shot

The flop shot is a high-risk, high-reward shot used to hit the ball high in the air and land it softly on the green. 

It requires an open clubface, a steep swing path, and a significant amount of wrist hinge to loft the ball over obstacles, such as bunkers or mounds. 

Advanced players who have mastered the flop shot can use it to escape challenging situations and set up birdie opportunities.

Next Up: How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Golf? 8 Tips To Lower Your Score Today!

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After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

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