Being able to shape the ball through the air is a great weapon for left handed golfers to have at their disposal.
Hitting draws and fades will not only help players attack elusive pins tucked away behind bunkers but also escape tricky situations such as hitting the ball around trees or other obstacles.
To hit draws and fades, left handed players must first understand the relationship between club face angle at impact and swing path.
Club Face Angle and Swing Path
When hitting a solid, straight shot (assuming alignment is correct), the club face will travel on an inside-to-square-to-inside swing path with the club face square to the target line at impact.
To hit a fade, the club will have to travel on an out-to-in swing path with the club face open to the swing path but slightly closed to the target line.
To hit a draw, the club will have to travel on an in-to-out swing path with the club face closed to the swing path but slightly open to the target line.
These are both the paths and club face angles required to hit the different shapes of shot. Bigger draws and fades can be played by increasing the swing path and club face angle.
Although these paths and club face angles must be present to hit the different types of shot during the swing, they are not always easy to visualize during a swing which could be moving upward of 100mph.
Left handed golfers can use the following drill to help practice shaping the ball.
1. Place two alignment sticks one foot apart either side of your practice balls.
2. The alignment sticks represent an extended target line and straight swing path through the ball.
3. Practice hitting shots from between the alignment sticks, down towards the target.
4. To hit straight shots, practice swinging on an inside-to-square-to-inside swing path with the club face squaring up to the target through impact.
5. To practice hitting fades, bring the club down, cutting across the alignment sticks. Rather than thinking about leaving he club face open to the path but closed to the target line try to get the club face pointing towards the target at impact. If the shot is successful the ball should leave the club face and travel right to left in the air, finishing near the target.
6. With a draw, practice swinging through the ball on an in-to-out swing path with the club face pointing towards the target at impact. If the shot is successful the ball will travel from left to right in the air, finishing near the target.
For a left handed golfer to become a more complete player, it is necessary for them to learn how to execute the fade and draw shot.