Ball flight

Ever tried hitting a draw as a stock shot when you are a natural fader or vice versa? Do you play what you have that day? Do you just hit it as straight as possible?

How much further do you think a draw goes than a fade on say a 200 yard shot? 250? Obviously conditions play a role. Do you find that guys who hit a natural fade can free wheel through the ball where a draw requires more precision? The misses between a draw and fade also seem to really favor the fade as a far less risky shot. A draw seems to be easier to flight and better in the wind, a fade offers more spin and distance control. What do you think are the pros/cons of these shots because both seem to have their advantages?

It’s an interesting topic to me because you see guys that hit both, or one or the other almost exclusively. I am not referring to recovery shots either. Guys that hit both seem to have higher highs and lows, guys that stick to one or the other seem to be more consistent.

There are also a lot of courses where a certain ball flight is favored: most notoriously Augusta. And there are a lot of examples of guys who have been unable to convert: Kaymer, or guys that have done it successfully: DJ, Rickie

What separates these players? What are your experiences?

Depends on how you’re achieving the flights and the dynamic loft you’re delivering. A draw doesn’t necessarily have to go further than a fade.

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As my first boss in the golf business once said to me “Son, you can’t talk to a fuqing hook.”

I used to have a sweeping draw, worked my way to slight fade, became major slice, back to a mix of slight fade/draw/straight ball currently. If I had my choice I’d take a 3 yard fade all day.

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This sounds fun. T’s and P’s in this difficult time.

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Let’s just say I’m not attacking a lot of pins right now. Just looking for the fattest part of the green.

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I feel that in my soul. striking it in the center of the face but the swing is out of whack.

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When I’m hitting a fade and I slice one, my thought process is “no big deal, I’ll just close the face a little and it will be fine”

When I’m drawing and I hit a hook, it’s instant fear that every shot above an 8 iron will go OB left. Nothing I can do to fix it other than keep swinging and hope it straightens itself out. For some reason, it’s way easier for me to close the face a little more to fix an issue then to open it up.

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I feel like a draw goes further for me, on a 200yd club a draw can push it to 215. If I’m hitting driver the gap can easily be 20 yards

The problem for me personally is that a draw brings basically 3 misses into play: push, hook, snap. While a fade is generally just a one-two way miss of either a pull or push with curve not really being an issue. So I feel like I can smash fades, but I need to be more careful with draws.
I don’t know If my numbers reveal this to be true but this is how I feel when playing/ hitting balls. I guess to sum it up for me, a draw is a much more penetrating flight while a fade is much more controlled. This is obviously all anecdotal btw.

It is just interesting to me that you see a guy like Kaymer who gets to number one in the world hitting one ball flight, then tries to change it. This has happened a lot in the chase for distance, I can’t think of any names off the top of my head but I think there are quite a few guys that have tried to convert their shot shape. Interestingly, it seems that guys convert from a draw to fade much easier than a fade to a draw. Once again purely observation.

Also interesting, tour wise, a lot of shorter hitters seem to draw it a lot: Kisner, spieth, luke donald used to, zach johnson, furyk, webb, Fleetwood (not short but not long) etc. Seems like a lot of the big longer guys hit a fade: brooks, DJ, Rahm, Finau, JT, woodland etc. I am obviously generalizing a lot here, but it seems that if the shorter hitters played fades they would probably have a hard time competing. IDK how the hell kuchar manages to be competitive hitting his wipe fade, and conversely P Reed’s slangin draw that he manages to control

I have pals who literally hit a 12 yard hook on every shot, with every club except the putter. They are more consistent. But they are limited, it’s true.

I’m not sure I could enjoy playing without taking on the challenge of trying to hit the shot that is asked for, you know? Left pin, I want to try and cut it in there.

@tedscott I am so envious. I am a toe-slapping embarrassment. I hit it like crap.

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Love this topic. I’ve always been of the mind that you should use your natural flight whenever possible and only stray when absolutely necessary. That’s probably a good rule for 99% of golfers.
I’ve personally always been a drawer of the golf ball. I don’t think that a draw is necessarily more difficult to control. If I hit my stock draw 9 iron I know it’s going to fly 155 yards and start a little right of target and move towards it.

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Yeah this thread hasn’t probably been fair to draws as there are a lot of guys that hit a nice consistent draw all the time.
It is just an interesting topic to me because across all skill levels people are constantly trying to convert from one to the other, and many people struggle a lot doing it.
Also if you want to break it down further, there are shots inside of the ball shape that people hit that are pretty cool: corkscrew fade, trap draw, high draw, a fantastic one: low fade, pull/push fade, etc
I love watching different ball flights

Sounds like you hit a pretty consistent push-draw. Some folks (me included in years past) chase a draw, but achieve it by getting over the top and hitting a straight-draw or pull-draw with a shut face. Those shots, my friend, those shots are NOT stopping quickly.

If you’re hitting a draw with a square face or even slightly open, that’s a useful shape.

Disclaimer - I’m not an instructor…or particularly smart, for that matter.

Changing ball flight would be such a huge commitment for someone at a fairly high skill level. It always is a red flag when pros do it or seems to be. I’m sure there are plenty of pros that have done it successfully.
I work with a teacher and he tells me at every lesson… “You are likely always going to hit a draw. All we are trying to do is get to where you never hit it too far left.”

One thing about people who favor a draw though… A lot of times they struggle to hit wedges consistently because of path. When I hit my wedges well I almost feel like I am dead over the top on the downswing. I’ll never get to a point where I am over the top, but it’s the feeling.

Correct. If your ball is starting on line or left of target and moving left you’ll never control it.

That has been my miss over the years so I’m very familiar!

Ditto on the hard left miss. Short of the green usually isn’t too bad. Over the green tends to get real ugly, real quick.

A couple years ago I started taking lessons and got my path figured out (mostly). Push-draw it is now, with the miss being a straight push. Who knew taking lessons really IS a much better use of money than new clubs???

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I intend to play a fade 99% of the time. Sometimes I release my hands and hit a slight draw. But I enjoy the feeling of holding my hands off through the shot. I’m able to feel that better than I can the opposite.

I play a push draw 95% of the time and the only reason it’s not 100% is I can leave the face too open and hit an accidental push fade the other times. I don’t typically miss right (left-handed) very often because my typical miss is not a hook, but just a push that doesn’t draw. Which is really easy to play with. I would stick with the flight that you are the most comfortable with and learn how to vary the height… If I have to access a left pin (again I’m left-handed) I start it at the pin and if it draws, cool GIR. If i “miss” it and its a push then I have a good chance at birdie. I’m generally really conservative and just try to take advantage of the par 5’s and aim a safe targets on most par 4’s and 3’s.

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When I’m playing my best, I hit a low-fade with my driver and draw everything else. I try to flight everything under a seven iron as low as i can with a push-draw that feels like a hold-off push. My big miss is a toe-hook with the driver, and a pull with the wedges.

My warm-up before rounds is spent trying to hit push-draws that don’t over curve. If I can do that, I can typically hit a fade without too much compensation. I typically only “free wheel” with driver, and the fade feels more reliable because it won’t run off the golf course.

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Right now I just try and hit it as straight as possible.

I don’t even know what my “natural” ball flight is. If I go up and hit a ball without thinking it slices about 30 yards.

I have always wanted to hit different shots on purpose but I don’t think I am close to that.

I’m a mid handicapper that cannot not try to shape shots. I just love trying to work with what the course is asking for… I’m not sure if the satisfaction from being successful with those shots outweighs having a one way miss (I do not) or likely better scoring (again, not consistent), but damn do I love it.

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