Have you ever wondered why pros take dead aim at pins that are very close to trouble. The answer is simply that they can execute a swing that produces a predictable ball flight, and more importantly, a ball flight that will not be working towards the trouble.
We see Justin Rose take dead aim at a pin that is almost hanging off the left edge of the green. The trouble looms left and the added factor of the shot playing slightly downhill means the ball is in the air longer — bad news if it is going the wrong direction!
Rose executed a perfectly controlled fade; the swing shape is easily recognizable by the hold-off and over-rotated finish.
The three keys for you to add this shot to your bag are accurate alignment, adequate body rotation and trust.
Starting with alignment, you will need to aim your body lines slightly left of the target. This will help you swing on a path that is more outside-to-in. That’s right, we want a swing shape so many amateurs relate to — a pull — but in fact, the out-to-in path with a clubface that is open (relative to the path) will produce a fade.
So at address, after you have aligned left of the target, ensure the clubface is closer to pointing at the target as opposed to the intended path.
Next, we need to focus on rotation. From the backswing to the downswing and all the way through, rotation is paramount. The body needs to be leading and unwinding to help keep that clubface open. This will take repetition to feel comfortable, but failing to rotate and allowing the arms to take over will result in a steeper path and a slice instead of a soft-falling fade we’re looking for.
Allow yourself to turn your back to the target when taking the club back and focus on finishing with your chest pointing well left of the target. Notice how Rose really rotates through and does not allow clubface to square up or start to rotate closed. The strike is still very solid because the club was not overly open going back. Many players try and create a fade by manipulating the club going back. Instead, keep it simple and just think about the face needing to be open to the direction you are swinging.
The result will be solid strikes with a slight left-to-right spin imparted on the ball; not the swiping and glancing strikes that put too much sidespin on the ball.
Finally, trust your alignment and that your body can carry the swing motion. To successfully play this shot on command, trusting that swinging towards the trouble with an open face is necessary.
The worst thing is to try and save the shot at impact or intervene and square-up the clubface. What you are actually doing is shutting the club to the target by squaring it to the path — no good, unless you secretly wanted to find the trouble on the left!
Remember these simple steps to play what looks like a hard shot: aim slightly left, rotate and swing on a path that finished hard left of your target, keep the clubface open to the direction you are swinging (best visualized as the target), and trust yourself enough to keep you hands quiet during the swing.