HOW TO HIT RICKIE FOWLER’S FREAKY-LONG FADE

YOU CAN PLAY LEFT TO RIGHT AND STILL BOMB IT

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - News - With Max Adler

You can play left to right and still bomb it down the mid­dle.

There’s not a player on the PGA Tour who can’t work the ball both ways. Each week we face at least a few holes where there’s pretty much no op­tion but to curve your tee shot right or left. Sure, you can lay up short of most se­vere doglegs, but play con­ser­va­tive all the time out here, and you get dusted. Thing is, not all tour play­ers shape it both ways prop­erly. And I used to be one of them. ▶ For many years, my left-to-right tee ball was ba­si­cally a big slice. I’d wipe the club­face across the

ball, and my tim­ing had to be really on to get a pre­dictable re­sult. Then last year, Butch Har­mon taught me to hit a real fade. Trans­formed my game. Now I hit my lit­tle slider 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. The ball holds its line into a strong wind, and really tum­bles and gets out there when it hits the fair­way – ben­e­fits that peo­ple al­ways as­so­ciate with the draw. ▶ If you’re a right-handed week­end player, chances are you’re used to see­ing a left-to-right shot shape with your driver. That doesn’t have to change. But I can show you a way to do it with more power and con­sis­tency: the real fade.

1 TEE IT LOWER, AIM LEFT

To hit the fade, I tee it low. I want the ball’s equa­tor level with the top edge of the driver, or even a lit­tle lower is okay. That brings your start­ing lines in. By that I mean, when it’s teed high there’s so much space for the club­head to come at the ball from any di­rec­tion, and you hit big­ger misses. 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.

The other thing I do is pick a spot about 3 me­tres 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 cen­tre 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.

2 KEEP TABS ON YOUR RHYTHM

The feel­ing of the take­away is the same as when I’m try­ing to hit a nor­mal straight ball. My first move is to ro­tate my left arm so the toe of the club­face pops open. Then I just slowly turn my shoul­ders to com­plete the back­swing. You never want to get quick with the take­away, be­cause that will dis­rupt the tempo of the whole swing.

Then at the top, my only thought is Good

rhythm. Back when I would hit the slice for my left-to-right shot, I could get too quick here. My spine would tilt back, my body would stop turn­ing, and I’d throw my hands at the ball. I’d hold the face open to make sure the ball didn’t snap left, and the sound of the ball peel­ing right off the face never sounded solid. The way you want to feel at the top is that you have all the time in the world. If at this mo­ment some­one shouted di­rec­tions to me to hit ei­ther a fade or a draw, I could do it.

3 MAKE IT AN ALL BODY SWING

The death move on the down­swing is start­ing with your hands and com­ing over the top. Peo­ple do this be­cause they think that to pro­duce a fade, the club’s path has to cut across the ball from out to in, but that’s just a slice. 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 and feel­ing all your big mus­cles – legs, up­per body, arms – mov­ing to­gether to­wards the tar­get.

Re­mem­ber I said I wanted to feel my chest on top of the ball? This is that mo­ment. For a draw, the only dif­fer­ence is I would 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 to­wards 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. Got it?

‘BUTCH TAUGHT ME TO HIT A REAL FADE. TRANS­FORMED MY GAME.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.