Sam Snead's 'Shawndale' Term for a Fade or Slice

Have you ever heard the word "shawndale" used for a fade or a slice in golf? I hadn't either, until I stumbled across an old newspaper article that quoted Sam Snead using the term.

This is how Snead was quoted, with the parenthetical appearing in the original article and provided by the article's author:

"I hit a great drive," Snead said. "But I still didn't have a clear shot to the pin because of that big sycamore tree out there. So I hit me a shawndale up there (a shawndale was a fade) and hit it off the hill and onto the green about 12 feet away."
Shawndale? What the heck is that? It's a small thing, but it really bugged me not knowing this term, not being able to find any other example of any other golfer, anywhere, using it.

But today I have the answer. The word Snead was using wasn't "shawndale," but "chondelle." Whether Sam knew how to spell it or not is another question (the article reporter clearly didn't). But Sam, an old backwoodsman, surely would have been familiar with the word "chondelle" — it comes from the sport of sporting clays.

Similar to skeet shooting or shooting trap, sporting clays is a sport for shooters. And in sporting clays, a chondelle (sometimes spelled chandelle) refers to a clay target that is traveling across the shooter's field of vision in a big, curving, looping motion, much like the shape of a rainbow.

When the Slammer said, "I hit me a big chondelle" (not "shawndale)", he meant that he hit a shot that was curving a great deal in flight.

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