Day 7: Fine Tune Your Fade or Correct Your Slice
Today we're going to talk about how to tone down your slice so it can become a slight fade.
We'll also work on consistency by continuing to practice Hogan's technique of eliminating one side of the course. This allows you to avoid trouble areas and just play the safer side of the hole.
Double Your Margin for Error!
Using this strategy can improve your margin for error by 100%. Let's say you were going to hit a shot straight down the middle to a fairway that's 20 yards wide.
If you play a dead straight shot, that means you can miss up to 10 yards to the right, which would be a very, very small fade, or 10 yards to the left, which in most cases would be a very, very small draw.
That's not a lot of room for you to work the ball. You're going to have to hit that ball pretty straight.
The solution is to learn how to work the ball correctly and eliminate one whole side of the course.
Let's say you're going to play a fade. If you eliminate the right side of the course, now you can start the ball all the way down the left side of the fairway and you have 20 yards to work across before it gets into the rough on the right.
You can hit anywhere between 1 and 20 yards of fade and be in good shape. That's a much wider margin for error. It's much easier to play a 1-20 yard fade than a 0-10 yard fade or a 0-10 yard draw.
This strategy allows you to hit a lot more fairways without actually having to hit better quality shots! You just use the layout of the hole to your advantage.
Match the Shape of the Hole
You can also start to choose the shape of your shot based on the shape of the hole. If it's a dogleg right, you can hit a fade and work it with the dogleg so as the ball starts to fade it stays down the center of the fairway.
Obviously if you hit a draw into a dogleg right your ball is working against the curve and it's going to work away from the hole and be much more likely to kick into the rough.
Playing with the shape of the hole and with the course makes things a whole lot easier.
The lessons for Day 7 include drills to practice this strategy, and to tone down your fade and draw.
The Opposite of Day 6
You will use the same drill setup as Day 6. Set up two alignment rods, with a foam pool noodle on each one for visibility.
Because we're hitting a fade instead of a draw, the alignment for the Day 7 drill is the opposite of Day 6. Line up your ball and the drill so that a dead straight shot would pass between the rods, barely missing the one on the right.
Lay a club on the ground parallel with the target line for reference. You won't line up square to that line, but it will show you where you would set up for a straight shot.
When it comes time to actually get into your setup you'll adjust your alignment according to how much movement you want on the shot, just as you did yesterday.
If you want your shot to start 10 yards left of the target line and let it fade 5 yards right, to end up 5 yards left of the target, adjust your stance so your setup points 10 yards left of the target in the distance.
This way you only have to swing a couple of yards across your body and hold the face a little bit open to get the desired fade. If you kept your feet square to the target line you would have to swing way to the left, which is hard to do with any consistency.
From now on, just adjust your feet to match your desired starting line. With your feet square to the starting line you can just let the ball work back slightly to the right or left, depending on what type of shot you're going to play.
The drill is the same as Day 6. Start out about five feet behind the foam noodles and hit a fade.
Line your feet up about 10 yards to the left of the target, hold the club face slightly open, and swing a little to the left for a 5 yard fade.
The key to this, and the key to eliminating one side of the golf course, is that you never cross the target line. Never allow the ball to land right of the target line when you're playing a fade.
Imagine there's a big wall that starts just outside the right foam noodle and ends just to the right of the target, out in the distance. Never allow your ball to touch that wall.
If your ball crosses that line, that's one of the worst shots you can hit.
It's much better to miss 30-40 yards to the left and stay on the correct side of the course than to miss one yard to the right. That may sound a little ridiculous at first. Isn't a 1 yard miss better than a 30 yard miss? Not always.
One yard in the wrong direction can send the ball down a hill into an area where it's impossible to get up and down, or land it out of bounds or in the water, whereas 30-40 yards in the right direction may leave you with a very easy chip or a pitch.
Keep that in mind as you go through this drill, and count any shot that crosses that line as a miss.
Do the drill the same way you did for the draw. Start by hitting five shots from 5 feet behind the alignment rods. Work on barely fading the ball, then move back 5 more feet and play another five shots.
The farther back you go, the smaller your margin for error.
When you start just 5 feet behind the alignment rods you can line up about 30 yards left of the target without hitting the left noodle.
From 10 feet back, you can get is about 15 yards left of the target and still stay inside the left noodle.
From 15 feet away, you may only be able to start about 5 yards left of the target without hitting that noodle.
As you get better, move farther back to increase the challenge. Make five shots from each position and you'll be ready to move on to Day 8.
Checkpoints for Practice
- Set up two alignment rods so a perfectly straight shot would pass inside, just barely missing the right one
- Adjust your stance to line up 10 yards right of the target for a 10-yard fade, then swing just slightly left
- Hit five fades each from 5, 10, & 15 feet away - the ball starts left, goes between the rods, then fades right
- Double your margin for error by eliminating one side: any shot that crosses the target line counts as a miss