This is the key to hitting successful fades and draws

eric johnson hits a fade

Successful fades start left of the target line and end up even with the line. They never cross. To get this right, you need a reference.

Stephen Denton

At the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock, I was watching Jim Flick simultaneously work with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Lehman. Not bad. Nicklaus was famous for his high fade; Tom had more of a high draw. Flick kept repeating, “Don’t cross the line.”

It took a while for me to understand what he was really talking about: Successful fades and cuts start left of the target line, then curve back toward it — but never cross it. The opposite is true, as you can imagine, for draws.

You can hit shots straightish, but they must have a curve bias or you’ll always cross the line. Fade or draw, just make sure you know where the ball starts and where it ends up.

How? Put an alignment rod on your target line, making sure the ball starts to the left of it for a fade and to the right for a draw, then curves back even with the rod. It’s “the world’s cheapest TrackMan.”

Eric Johnson teaches at Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Mont., and The Turn Club in Cranberry, Pa.

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