By Paul Myers
It is common knowledge among golfers that golf draws go further than golf fades do. Well, it is assumed to be common knowledge – but is it actually true? It seems like many long hitters and TOUR players play a draw, but that is not a hard and fast rule. In fact, Bubba Watson, one of the longest of the long hitters on the PGA Tour, is well-known for his lefty golf fade that seems to fly forever. Obviously, as he has proved with his high club head speed, it is certainly possible to bomb it off the tee while hitting a golf fade. Jason Zuback, 4-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion, has also been know to fade the ball as well.
Draws Usually Go Further – But Not Necessarily in the Air
By the nature of hitting a golf draw, you are taking the club into the back of the ball from an inside position. You are hitting slightly from the inside out, to deliver power to the ball and possibly generate more distance. However, it isn’t necessarily that simple.
Assuming the same launch angle and other conditions, if you tilt the spin axis the same amount either one way, the distance for a fade or draw will end up being the same.
However, in most cases, draws and fades using the same club do not launch at the same angle. A shot hit with draw spin will usually launch lower and not have as much backspin as a fade , therefore it might not stay in the air as long. You might end up with more distance out of your draw, but some of that distance will be accounted for in the bounce and roll of the ball. If you are looking for pure carry distance, a golf fade might have more to offer.
That being said, if you work with a club fitter and you alter your impact conditions slightly (for example, getting the right loft on your club to adjust your spin down and then tweak your angle of attack and swing direction), it’s possible to maximize carry distance with a fade, straight shot, or draw.
You Can Talk to a Golf Fade, but a Hook Won’t Listen
When you play a draw, there is the risk of it turning into a hook – and a hook is one shot you may not recover from. A low hooked tee shot will sometimes keep turning, and bouncing, until it finds some kind of trouble. Because of this, many draw players are always living in fear of hitting a hook – and making the double bogey or worse that can come with it.
On the other side of the coin, most fades don’t turn into slices that are quite as disastrous. Since the golf fade will usually have a little more backspin and launch higher, the ball will land more steeply won’t run away as far or as fast once on the ground. Simply put, unless you have a really low-lofted driver and you intentionally bring your spin and launch way down to optimize distance for fades, you typically have less distance but more margin for error off the tee when you play a golf fade as opposed to a draw.
Do What Comes Natural
While it is a valuable skill to work on controlling different ball flights off the tee, for scoring, you might go back to what you know and what you trust when the pressure is on. If you are naturally a golfer that hits a slight draw, trust that shot and use it the majority of the time. It can be useful to have a golf fade available for certain situations, but it’s usually best to return to your trusty draw when you need to hit a good one. There is just no substitute for what feels natural.
To answer the title question, yes, you can maximize distance while hitting a golf fade. There are plenty of powerful players on the PGA Tour who make the golf fade their shot of choice, because they can control it and still get plenty of distance at the same time through proper club fitting and optimization of their launch conditions. If you are naturally a golfer who hits a golf fade, it may be best not to fight it – work with a club fitter to get a head that gets your spin and launch right to maximize golf fade distance, and hit the best golf fade you can.
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