We would all love to see every shots fly straight up our target line. Unfortunately, unless you are hitting with a pool cue, this is not the easiest task to achieve. We swing in an arc, so our chances of hitting a dead straight ball are pretty slim. Successful golfers plan for a draw or fade on every drive or fairway shot. [For right hand players: draw curves slightly left, fade leaks to the right.] You should too if you want to lower your scores.
Choose your preference for a draw or fade based on your past performance. First you should understand why you are creating a draw or fade. [If you have a hook or a slice problem then you really need to learn how to avoid swinging over the top.] Of course there are many times when you should draw or fade a shot to curve around a dogleg or tree or to fit your shot up a green which is shaped behind a large, angled sand trap. Plan for your comfortable draw or fade to prepare for every approach shot to the green.
Rickie Fowler described his preference for his setup to create draws or fads in a recent Golf Digest article. I have cut some of the content but borrowed his exact words.
“Butch [Harmon] taught me to hit a real fade. Transformed my game. Now I hit my little slider (fad) all the time, even when the design of the hole doesn’t demand it. Unlike a slice, where the ball starts far left of your target and then dramatically curves back, a real fade actually flies pretty straight before drifting to the right at the end.
To hit the fade:
1. I tee it low. I want the ball’s equator level with the top edge of the driver, or even a little lower is OK. I tee it high only when I want to hit a high draw or big straight ball, like on a wide-open par 5. Just sit back and let it go. But for the fade, the lower tee height helps me to get my chest “on top of the ball” at impact with no hang-back.
2. The other thing I do is pick a spot about 10 feet in front of my ball—a leaf or piece of mud—that’s in line with the left edge of the fairway. I aim the clubface at that spot and then set my body parallel to the target line, as if the left edge of the fairway were the center stripe. Then I think about standing tall with my chin off my neck, my whole body loose and athletic. I take my normal grip, nice and relaxed in my fingers. Just before starting the club back, I let the clubface peek open just a hair to the right.
3. The funny thing about a real fade is that it feels almost exactly like you’re hitting a draw. You’re attacking the ball from the inside.
For a draw:
1. The only difference is I add extra release with my hands at the bottom of the swing, really rolling the clubface over. This is what makes a real fade so reliable: You don’t do anything with your hands; it’s just a pure all-body swing.
In the end, setting your stance toward the left edge of the fairway and opening the clubface slightly at address are the two most important adjustments you need to make to hit the fade.”
Rickie swings with a wonderful straight leading arm for his long and powerful swings. Whether you like to draw or fade you should plan one for every shot to improve your chances of hitting more fairways (worst case it may go straight and still hit the fairway). Distance is only useful if you can make your next shot to the green count. Practice with GOLFSTR for every shot in your game. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com