Sunday, July 11, 2010

Current Thoughts on Levels of Ballstriking

was thinking about this today and how I would label a golfer's ballstriking ability I wanted to go in a tiered process and here's what I came up with.

LEVEL 1 - Ballstriker who consistently hits a noticeably pull fade or a push draw.

Kenny Perry, Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie come to mind here. They have noticeable curvature to their ball flight, but I would consider each of them great ballstrikers Monty and Rocco are a bit up there in age, but in their primes they hit a lot of greens and a lot of great approach shots. However, Monty wasn't hitting draws into tucked left pin positions and Perry doesn't hit fades into dogleg right fairways.

LEVEL 2 - Ballstriker who consistently hits a less noticeable fade or draw or pretty much hits it straight

Here I start thinking about somebody like Nicklaus, who was known for a fade but also hit it straighter than most given him credit for. While Kenny Perry can be a much better ballstriker than somebody who hits it straighter, I'm talking about good ballstrikers and their level of ballstriking here.

I think there's a lot of benefits to reducing your curvature of ball flight. Nicklaus is very underappreciated as far as his ballstriking goes. He was one of the greatest drivers of the ball ever and widely considered the greatest long iron player ever. Here's a great video of Jack in his prime.

LEVEL 3 - Golfer can hit it straight, draw or fade on command

Here's where I start to think of Trevino. He gets a rap as being a fade/slice golfer, but he could hit it straight and draw it on command. I watched Trevino hit balls on four different occasions starting in 1986. He is a wizard of working the ball in all sorts of direction.

LEVEL 4 - The golfer can hit it straight, draw or fadeit on command as well as hitting it low, high and medium trajectory on command.

When I think of this level I think of guys like Hogan, Moe and even Tiger back in 2000. Now Tiger pretty much hits low screaming draws. These days were fun.



Anonymous said...

Now Tiger pretty much hits low screaming draws

Really? Everytime I hear someone say so (including TW in recent interviews), they say his default shot is a fade? He says that when he is hitting it well he can hit a draw, but that when he hits it poorly it's all about fade.

I've heard others say that TW's shot has always been a natural fade w/ Haney teaching the opposite. (On the other hand, it's clear when you watch early 97 era videos he is hitting a *hard* draw)

Rich H. said...

I watched him at East Lake last year. Low draw after low draw. When he hits the block, that fades. He probably works it left to right and right to left more than most. But he used to be great at hitting it high, low and medium. He used to hit it very high on average, but now it's just all low stuff.

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