Golfers who have skill are capable of working the ball left or right as the ball flies. By adjusting the swing plane and/or the clubhead impact angle, instead of a straight ball flight, the ball can be caused to curve strongly left (a hook), mildly left (a draw), strongly right (a slice), or mildly right (a fade). Reverse the directions for a lefty like Phil Mickelson.

Working the ball is a highly desirable skill. On dogleg right and left holes, the ball flight can be tailored to match the hole shape. This maximizes one's chance for hitting the fairway. Some golfers, like Vijay Singh and Paul Azinger, will aim to the left of every fairway, and attempt to fade the ball on every tee shot. They do this because they are effectively doubling the width of the fairway by choosing to fade the shot on purpose. If they get the fade they desire, or if the ball goes straight instead, they're still in the fairway. Only if they get double crossed by a draw will they miss the fairway.

Many golfers will prefer to fade or draw a ball into the wind on an approach shot rather than allowing the wind to move the ball as it flies. Jack Nicklaus is an advocate of always working an approach shot according to your natural shot shape.

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