I have heard from students that “draws go further than fade,” but I’ve always wondered if this was really true when I first started teaching.
It’s an interesting topic of discussion because everyone had a different view on why they thought this. I always noticed that my draws tended to produce a very flat flight, so when the conditions were right my draw worked great.
However, as conditions became softer in the winters in Memphis, where I grew up, I couldn’t figure out why I was much shorter than in the summers. I attributed it to the colder and wetter conditions of the time of year and thought nothing more about it.
Before the advent of TrackMan it was very easy to see that the balls that moved right to left tended to chase more when hitting the ground but that was also in the day of firmer and faster fairway conditions than most of us play now. We also believed that if you faded the ball it was going to go much higher than the drawing shot and this was also going to cost you distance as well.
Finally we also though that the ball had “over-spin” when you hit a draw versus fades that we though produced “cutting drop shot” types of spin that you would see tennis players hit when their opponents were too deep in the backcourt.
It is arguments like this that perpetuated the MYTH that draws always go further than fades but TrackMan has shown us different- sometimes it is exactly the opposite for some players! So let’s examine a few data parameters that show the positives and negatives for each type of ball flight…
Note: All shots were hit with a Taylor Made R15, 430 cc, 9.5 degree, set on lower for club consistency.
Face to Path Relationship and Curvature
- The Clubhead Speeds are almost the same yet the fading shot carried further than the draw
- Curvature is created when the face and the path diverge, assuming a centered hit, the greater the face to path ratio the higher the probability that there will be some loss of distance in the end
- We usually see a loss of carry on a shot that moves exaggeratedly left to right; however, you can also lose carry distance on a right to left shot when the ball comes out too flat. This is seen when the Angle of Attack and Dynamic Loft are out of acceptable ranges
- Your face to path relationship influences the curvature of the golf ball and this curvature can easily cause too much compression (low flat driving shots) and/or too little compression (high floating and wiped shots) during impact
- If you want the most carry distance from your shot shape then you must control your face to path relationship for the most efficiency; the bigger the gap the more problems you can have in general
Face to Path and Spin Rate
- Extreme Face to Path relationships can alter spin rates causing the ball not to perform optimally when hitting the ball both directions
- When looking at a hook versus the slice notice the spin rate numbers for both…the hook comes out flat and has very little height and spin 1992 rpms while the fade comes out higher with a ton of spin at 5218
- Big hooks tend not to carry as far as the slices but will obviously run out more due to their respective landing angles. Hook at 19.4 and Slice at 45.3
- If the conditions are soft then you are better off missing big with a slice rather than the hook and vice versa when the conditions are faster
- Neither shot is what we are looking for personally but it is interesting to see how they react in the areas of spin, height, carry, and landing angles
Dynamic Loft and Spin Rate on Height and Landing Angle
- Your Dynamic Loft when hitting draws and fades must be under control or it can negatively influence your carry and total distance
- Adding loft at impact will increase your spin rate with all things being equal…the fade had a 15 degree dynamic loft with a spin rate of 3768, while the draw had a 10.5 degree dynamic loft with a spin rate of 2643
- The fade carried 240.8 with a height of 105.6
- The draw carried 245.7 with a height of 63.6
- Add in the spin rate with these shots and you will see how their landing angles change at 28.8 for the draw and 42.9 for the fade…giving the draw an advantage in the roll out by almost 20 yards
So when the time comes for you to decide what shot shape is best for you and your game I would suggest taking the time to hit a few balls on a launch monitor tracking these data parameters. Knowing what your tendencies are when it comes to face to path, spin rate, dynamic loft, height, landing angle, and distance will give you the necessary information to see what curvature works best for you!