By T.J. Tomasi
It’s the course architect’s job to make golf exciting, so he prepares a progression of tests, some requiring the ball to curve to the left, some to the right and some to fly straight.
For a right-handed golfer, a fade is a curve on the ball from left to right; a draw is just the opposite. A fade for a pro is a straight ball that gets to the top of its flight pattern, then falls to the right, at most about three or four yards.
When you see a good player fade the ball, it looks like a straight shot to the untrained eye, but a slice is noticeable no matter who’s looking at it.
Most golfers slice the ball, creating a shot that starts curving soon after it begins its flight, and by the time it’s on the ground, it may have curved 20 or more yards. The fade is easy to control; the slice is not.
Here’s the rule of thumb: If you can see the curve immediately, it’s a slice or a hook; if you have to wait to tell, it’s a fade or a draw.
How to work it
To work the ball the way you want, you must have a slightly open face at impact for the fade and a closed face for the draw.
Set up at address with the face you want at impact. But be careful —
don’t simply set the clubface behind the ball and then rotate the face open or closed by adjusting the forearms. This won’t work since the forearms will naturally rotate the face to square, taking the curve off the ball.
Instead, adjust the face either open or closed in your hands before you sole the clubhead. This way your forearms are not a factor.
The diamond drill
This drill will improve your ball striking:
Tee up your ball and arrange three others in a triangle two feet in front of your ball. The top ball of the triangle should be on the target line with the other two on either side (see photo below).
Your task is to hit three balls per series: one that starts over the right ball and curves back to the target; the second goes directly to the target over the front ball; and the third starts over the left side of the diamond and fades back to the target.
When you can do three series in a row without mistakes, you’ll be accurate to any pin.