First, because it’s hard on the lower back – all of your force is going out and to the right (for a right-hander) and you’re trying to yank the club left through impact.
The poster-boy for “swinging left” is of course Tiger Woods, who never had any back issues until he began to swinging in this manner (and also setting up with a “leaning left” stance at address), and I’ve pointed out how many times he’s double-crossed himself swinging that way and blown drives way left and right.
Another golfer with an otherwise fine swing (even getting in the heel separation at times with the leading foot on the back swing pivot) is Justin Rose, who looks great practicing his down swing to the “3 O’Clock” position then ends it with a yank-left move – and guess who also has back issues?
Golfers claim to do this to avoid hitting it left (and how many times has TW blown it left trying not to do that exact thing?), but Jack Nicklaus, one of the longest-hitting golfers in Tour history, played a power fade the proper way, which is why he was still so long fading the ball.
It has to do with club path and face, the only two things that matter when shaping a shot.
Instead of setting up square to the target and then trying to manipulate the path through impact, all you have to do is pick a starting line and a secondary target.
That is, what line do you want to start your ball on, and what is the eventual target?
If I want to hit a 20 yard fade, wouldn’t it be far easier to do it the way Jack Nicklaus did, which would be to set up as if swinging at a target 20 yards left of the actual target (thereby setting your ball’s starting line) and then open the face to produce a fading ball to your actual target?
Or set up as if hitting a ball at a target 20 yards right and then closing the face, to produce a draw to the actual target?
Jack Nicklaus Setting Up To Fade It
That way, you’re swinging exactly the way you would normally swing, with the club path starting the ball on a certain line, then having the face produce the spin to move the ball either left or right, depending on the shape you want.
I drew the below graphic years ago, showing this concept:
Trying to manipulate the path and the face during the swing may work with a lot of practice, but you see the guys on Tour constantly double-crossing themselves under pressure or when their focus lapses for just a second… it’s a hard way to do an easy thing.
Now, Trackman has shown that a ball will move twice the difference of the path and face – meaning, if you set up aiming ten yards left of your target and then open the face to halfway between your line and the target, the ball will fade to the target.
That is a 2-1 formula – set up ten yards left, aim the club face 5 yards left of the target, and the ball should start on the initial line and fade 10 yards, twice the difference of the face/path.
Let’s take a look at the numbers were on certain drives analyzed by the Foresight GC Quad Launch Monitor at TXG Golf back on May 25th:
My 5 Drives
I’ll show you 3 driver stats for the 5 drives I recorded for use that day at TXG, and you can see that the studies are correct.
In the first, take my drive which was the most accurate – I hit a 334 yard drive which started left and faded back to nearly perfect dead-center, missing by only 2.9 yards Left (top right of the graphic).
I like to hit a fade, so how does one hit a 334 yard fade?!?! Well, you can see that my path at impact was 4.8 degrees out-in, or going left, and the face was closed 3 degrees to the target, or “open” to the club’s path by 1.8 degrees.
A perfect 2-1 ratio would have been a face closed 2.4 degrees to the target, making it 2.4 degrees open to the path, and the ball would likely have hit a flagpole from 334 yards away, if that were the case.
The drive I hit that was closest to to the 2.1 ratio was a nearly dead perfect accurate fade.
Let’s now look at my biggest miss to the left:
With a path that was 4.5 out-in (going left), my club face turned over and at impact, it was 5.9 closed to the target, or 1.9 closed to my club path.
That should mean a pull-hook – the ball starts left due to the path, and the face that is closed to the path means the ball draws left… and as you can see, that was a big miss left of 47 yards – the dreaded double-cross (hello, TW).
That was likely a grip issue, as I don’t ever try to manipulate the face, and I probably got careless with my grip (a little strong), which closed the face coming back to impact with my neutral hand position.
So, two shots where a prediction based on the path-face would have been exactly what happened, now let’s look at my biggest miss to the right:
On this drive, I started the ball left but missed the center target line by nearly 25 yards right!
That would still be in play for me, most likely, because when you play a fade, you always start your ball as far left as is safe (don’t aim at trouble, because if the ball goes straight, you hit it into trouble exactly where you were aiming), to move the ball back to the right.
Here’s the club path was 5.1 out-in (going left) but only 2.1 closed to the target – which means it was 3 degrees open to the path.
With a path 5.1 left of the target, I would want my face 2.6 closed to the target or the amount open to the club path for a perfect fade, and because it was more open than that, there’s your over-cooked fade with the ball going more right than I would intend it to… if you saw me do that on the course, I’d be leaning left after the swing and yelling, “Oh boy… hang on!” because I would know I over-faded it.
So there you have it – three shots with three different results that you would be able to predict if you know how to move a ball – and I can hit 330 yard fades with a driver because I don’t try to manipulate the club face or the path on my swing – everything is pre-set so I’m going to hit or miss based on what I did in my setup.
When I swing, I swing…
And that, my friends, is the way you want to do it – trust me. I have actually hit flag sticks on the range with my stock fade swing, as far away as 200 yards when I hit balls regularly.
That’s because when you swing the same way every time, you’ll get the same result every time provided you’ve set up properly, and when I hit balls regularly, the setup becomes almost second-nature (and you get a feel for it as well).
Doing it trying to manipulate your path and face during the actual swing will lead to a load of bad misses when under pressure or when you have a lapse in focus!
Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?
Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency?
Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?
If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing: