The 3 different types of golf shots, according to Claude and Billy Harmon

If there’s one piece of advice every golfer, no matter your handicap, should take on board, it’s to never forget that golfers aren’t playing a golf swing, they’re playing a game. Everything is a means to an end for playing the game itself better. Don’t get lost in the weeds: Your goal is to get a little ball in a little hole, as quickly as possible.

The uncle-nephew teaching duo of Claude Harmon III and Billy Harmon are two who know that better than anyone else, and on Claude’s most-recent episode of his podcast “Off Course,” the pair did what they do best: Reminded us of that fact (you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes right here)

The exchange started with Claude sharing a phrase that Billy taught him, which he’s started using in his own teaching.

3 types of shots

“There are three types of shots,” Claude says. “There’s a good shot, a good-enough shot, and a bad shot.”

That framework for evaluating shots may sound simple, but it’s important, Billy says, because too often golfers think about their shots as either good-or-bad.

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“If I thin a 7-iron onto the green, my instinct is telling me that was a bad shot. But it wasn’t a bad shot, it wasn’t a great shot, but it was good-enough” he says. “I think by nature we always compare ourselves to great shots, but how many of those do we really hit?”

Billy’s point is an important one, because he says, most golfers don’t hit many great shots, yet they focus on the quality of their great shots rather than improving the quality of their bad shots. To do that, you need to stop chasing perfection, he says, and focus on finding a shot shape that’s predictable.

“That’s why I think the inside [mental] game is so important,” he says.

Listen to the full episode below:

Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Director of Service Journalism at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.