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Breaking 80: Where to hit the ball for fades and draws
Created on 1/1/2006 12:00:00 AM

To get to the next level, learn how to use the club's leading edge to become a shotmaker. An ability to control trajectory and shot shape gives you more scoring tools. Whether it's a low draw under a tree branch or a high fade with a 3-wood that stops on a green, there's a lot more to golf than hitting it straight, and you need it all if you want to score in the 70s.

Make contact on the right spot

One of the biggest misconceptions in shotmaking is that to hit a draw, you need to make contact on the inside-back portion of the ball (if you divided the ball into quarters, the quadrant closest to your right foot). This simply is not true. You need to hit the outside-back part of the ball. The inside-back quadrant actually is the right spot for a fade. To hit a draw, the leading edge has to be pointing down and to the left of the target when the clubface contacts the ball (exaggerated image, above right). For a fade, it has to point up and to the right.

Uphill putt? Hit the dirt
Consider the back edge of the hole. On uphill putts, focus on the back edge and you'll accelerate. For feel going downhill, don't let the ball touch the back edge.

Pitching it softly
Hit your pitch shots the way you would play catch with a 5-year-old. Just as you need to be gentle so you don't hurt the kid, your swing should be smooth, so key on finesse. If you swing too hard, you risk blading or chunking because of excessive swing speed and body movement.

Look up, look down
To set your body correctly to hit a higher than normal shot, simply look up at the highest spot where you want the ball to fly and your body will tilt slightly away from the target. Then just make your normal swing. Same holds true for a lower shot. Look out at a low spot in the distance and your body will stay more level, setting up a lower trajectory.

Pretend every shot is a trouble shot

When you play your next round, no matter where you are on the course, pretend you have to go around, under or over an obstacle. This exercise gets your mind out of golf-swing mode and onto the shot at hand. You'll be surprised how much better you play when your mind is entertained with shot shapes, and not bogged down in swing mechanics. Ever wonder why you hit great recovery shots but miss the green from the middle of the fairway? It's about picturing the shot.

Golf Digest January 2006


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