Instruction: Shaping your shots

All accomplished golfers need to be able to fade and draw their shots. It allows you to navigate doglegs, play miraculous recovery shots or just impress your friends. Here, we'll show you how.

Charlie Lemay's picture
Martin Park with Darren Hodgson
Wed, 3 Apr 2013

Have you ever stood on a tee of a difficult hole and feared the worst from your game? Do you think that you just have to find that fairway otherwise your entire world will just cave in around you?

There must be a hole on your local course that you dread missing a fairway. Perhaps there is a water hazard on the right, perhaps an abundance of heather or gorse on the left, or the entire hole is tree-lined with lollipop pines and you cannot for the life of you think how you are going to play that hole well every time you step on to the tee.

Well, here is a cure for you. It might take a couple of visits to the range, but I guarantee that when you master how to shape the ball off the tee, you will find more fairways than ever and score to your full potential.

While many people say that you drive for show and putt for dough…think about that old adage…If you didn’t drive well in the first place to find the fairway, how on earth are you going to putt for any dough whatsoever when your ball is deep in the trees or you have to reload a provisional ball.

Good golf begins with a solid tee game and to help you improve your scoring, learn how to drive the ball consistently. Everyone has a natural shape shot, mine is a gentle fade although it is essential to be able to draw the ball on occasions to get maximum distance and help fight other elements like a left to right wind for example.

Hopefully these tips will help you find more fairways and develop another arrow to your golfing bow.

Fading the ball:

Without changing anything in your actual swing, all you have to do to make the ball move left to right, just like Monty, is to open your stance.

By that I mean align your feet, knees and shoulders slightly to the left of your intended target, while keeping the clubhead facing the target. It is very important not to fight the natural swing path the club will then take around your body and by putting the ball ever so slightly further forward in your stance will help you stay behind the ball and hit it with a glancing blow.

By opening your shoulders, your swing path into the ball will change, it will now come in to the ball from the outside of the line and at impact, you will cut across the ball, putting…wait for the technical term… cut spin…or left to right spin on the ball.

Colin Montgomerie aims down the left of every fairway and cuts the ball back into the centre. It work for him every time and he has won seven Volvo Order of Merit titles with a “fade”.

If you have problems in pulling the ball straight left every time you try and fade it, try weakening the right hand, put it more on top of the grip. That way it helps keep the clubface open at impact.


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