Mahan with a Plan
Hunter Mahan has proven that he and his fade are big-time
Analysis by Top 100 Teacher Dana Rader
The characters in the hit TV show The O.C. may have it easy, but this Orange County, Calif., native has had to work his way to the top. In fact, Hunter Mahan transferred from glitzy USC to finish his collegiate career at Oklahoma State, where he quickly claimed two-time All-American honors and the Jack Nicklaus Award for the top collegiate golfer in 2003. Like the namesake of this prestigious trophy, Mahan often plays a purposeful fade. His victory at the 2007 Travelers Championship and $2.9 million season (including top-10 finishes in the British Open and Tour Championship) prove you can successfully live with a left-to-right ball flight. Learn to use it to your advantage by following Mahan's iron-swing keys.
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7. Here's where you can really see how Hunter's fade takes shape. His clubshaft appears to jut out from the left side of the torso, meaning he's swung across the ball on a controlled outside-in path.Hands throw the clubhead left of target.
3 of 10David Bergman
6. Don't confuse a fade with a lack of power. Mahan's impact position packs a ton of punch. Notice how much more open his hips are than his shoulders. Sequencing the downswing like this sends your swing speed off the charts.Body turns left while his chest stays down.
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5. Mahan comes down to the ball on a steep plane to further encourage a fade. His clubshaft passed through his right shoulder on the way up (Frame 3), but now it's across the base of his neck.Hands drop almost straight down.
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4. If you copied the triangle Mahan makes with his arms at the top, you'd eliminate half of your downswing errors. The clubface remains open (toe pointing down) so a fade is imminent he aims up the left to take away danger on that side of the hole.Arms and elbows form a tight triangle.
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3. A slightly open clubface thanks to a slightly cupped wrist lets you know the type of shot he's after. Otherwise, Mahan looks like any other elite golfer with the clubshaft bisecting his right shoulder.Left wrists cups as it hinges to open the clubface.
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Adam, Luke and Camilo get the press, but Hunter Mahan has had one of the best seasons from the under-26 crowd in recent memory. Some unexpectedly high rankings in the key stat categories make him one to watch in 2008.
Driving Distance 41st (296.7 yds)
Driving Accuracy 33rd (68.05%)
Total Driving 3rd
Greens in Regulation 19th (66.91%)
Scoring Average 17th (69.9)
Money Leaders 16th ($2,858,995)
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2. His fade setup doesn't stop him from following the fundamental keys to a solid takeaway, including turning everything back in unison and keeping the clubhead outside of his hands.Perfect unison of arm, shoulder and hip movement.
9 of 10David Bergman
1. The first thing you should notice is how close Hunter stands to the ball at address his hands are almost resting on his thighs. This sets him up for a very upright backswing.
Hands in close to encourage a steep backswing.
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8. Mahan's finish is beautifully balanced. His entire body faces the target with all his weight on his left leg. Keeping the clubshaft pointed toward the sky is the final telltale fade trait. This is an incredibly easy way to swing the club and get great results. Near-vertical shaft position is the classic finish for a fade.
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