Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Does a Draw Go Further Than a Fade?
On Manzella’s forum, somebody asked the question ‘does a draw go further than a fade?’
I think it’s a good question to ask because it’s one of those questions that your average amateur, who does not get lessons and is not on the internet looking for swing instruction information, doesn’t really quite understand.
Provided that the typical factors of distance are equal (clubhead speed, attack angle, hitting the sweetspot, etc), the draw will typically go further than the fade. Particularly for higher handicap golfers. And understanding how the ball flies makes it easier to understand.
If you hit a draw that comes back to the target, the clubface needs to be open at impact to the target to some degree. The path will be going out to the right (inside-to-out) than where the face is pointing.
In the Hoffman video above, let’s say his clubface is 2* open (right) of the target at impact. In order to hit that draw, he would probably have to have a club path that is about 4* to the right (inside-to-out) of the target. That 4* path is 2* to the right of the face at impact. Thus the ‘push-draw.’
With the clubface open, that adds some loft to the club. When you add the loft, that makes the ball fly higher and stay in the air for a longer time, all of which can help hit the ball longer. There’s obviously a point of diminishing returns, but in general if you want to hit the ball longer, you need to hit it higher.
In fact, that’s a good piece of chipping advice. The higher you hit a chip, the longer it will likely go.
Anyway, from there, the ‘draw spin’ put on the ball causes the ball to ‘spin less.’ There is no overspin on a ball that is struck reasonably well and is hit with a draw. However, there is ‘less spin’ and that is what happens with the draw.
If you hit a fade that comes back to the target, the clubface has to be closed with relation to the target and the path has to be left (outside-to-in) of the face. So let’s say I hit a nice baby fade at the target, my face may be -1* left (closed) and the path may be -2.5* left (outside-to-in). So the path winds up being -1.5* left of the face at impact.
But like the opposite of the draw, the face is closed which de-lofts the club and the fade spin will likely speed up the spin rpm’s. My dad is a good example of this as he’s managed to give himself a pretty consistent swing, but his face is dead shut at impact and his path is probably around -10* left (outside-to-in) of the target. He keeps it in play because he’s got the face closed enough. But he loses distance because he de-lofts the club with that closed face. That also helps him with being more accurate (the ball gets on the ground quicker instead of staying in the air and being moved by the wind, etc). But with that over the top move he doesn’t get much clubhead speed and with that closed face he doesn’t get the ball very high up in the air.
THE EXCEPTION(AL); PUSH-FADE
For the most part, the great golfers who hit fades more or less hit a push fade. Well, how can this be? Wouldn’t they miss the target well to the right?
The big thing these golfers do, guys like Colin Montgomerie and Couples is that they start off by aiming their body well left of the target. But then they’ll have the face closed to the target, but open to where their body is aligned.
Monty has a path of -6* left of the target (outside-to-in). So let’s say Monty’s face is closed by -2* (left) with relation to the target. So the ball will probably start out about -3* left of the target and then fade back to the target.
But the face never actually is closed by the golfer’s swing because they are aiming out to the left to begin with. Since that is the case, then the clubface is not being de-lofted by the golfer because that’s where they were aiming to begin with.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF LEE TREVINO
Golfers like Trevino fascinate me because they figured a way to hit the ball well after countless hours of practice and fine tuning their swing and despite their unorthodox looking swing, they developed into really good ballstrikers.
I used to have a roommate like this in college. He had a very closed stance at address, super strong grip and a clubface that was wide open and he swung on a very vertical backswing and downswing plane and hit the ball extremely well, typically with a baby fade. But he would always tell me how in high school he used to hit hooks and then one day they stopped without any instruction.
What we know about Trevino is that he famously fought a nasty hook and once he was able to eliminate that, he wound up being a fade ball player, one of the greatest ballstrikers of all time, and a phenomenal shotmaker who could work the ball in any direction (although is preferred shot was a fade).
Trevino was the typical ‘push-fader’, and look at his setup.
But if you also look at his address position, he had the ball played pretty well back in his stance and had a pretty strong grip.
I think what probably happened to Trevino was he had a pretty decent swing to start off with and because he played the ball back in his stance and because he worked on hitting down on the ball because of the Texas hardpan, his attack angle was very steep and that moved his path out to the right.
Eventually he learned to ‘hang on’ and how aiming well left (or as he said, ‘aim left, swing right, walk straight) helped him. I’m not sure what exactly was first, but I get the feeling that he learned to aim left first and then ‘hang on’ with the hands next.
And that produced a push-fade for him. And if he wanted to hit more of a draw, he would just swing the same, but change his stance and where he aimed the face.
But the main point is typically a draw goes further than a fade, but not always. And in today’s game where it is far easier to hit up on the driver with the modern technology, a lot of faders hit the ball further because typically hitting up with the driver leads to a shot that fades.