Draw vs Fade: Everything to Know About Golf Swing Shot Shaping

We all know that slices and hooks are considered two of the worst shots any golf player can play. However, draws and fades are considered master class shots. While the line between a draw and a slice or a fade and a hook is fine, the differences in result can be drastic.

That’s why advanced players often play draws or fades rather than dead straight shots. In this guide today, we’re going to learn how to master these two gamified shots in golf without tipping over the zone of despair.

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What are Draws and Fades?

Just like we always do, we’re going to shed some light on what draw and fade shots are before we jump into learning how to play them.

Draw

A draw for right-handed players is when the ball starts going to the right of the target and then curves back to the left to land right on the green or as close to the target as possible. Draws are played by most PGA tour pros for improved distance and rollout. The added top spin on the long shots helps the ball get more carry as well as roll further on the fairway.

As we’ve said, the line between a draw and a slice is fine. A draw is hit on command and is 100% controlled by the player. A slice, on the other hand, is the uncontrolled and sometimes involuntary curvature of the ball. When the ball doesn’t return to its designated path and keeps going right, it’s considered a slice.

Fade

A fade is the opposite of a draw. Instead of going to the right, the ball starts off on the left of the target and curves its way back to the target line. Whether you want to hit a draw or a fade will depend on your personal preference as well as the condition of the course.

The extreme version of the fade shot is the hook. Or, the dreaded duck hook. However you might want to call it, it’s the uncontrolled curvature of the ball to the left of the target. The ball often lands in a rough or a hazard when the player cannot control a fade.

On paper, a draw and a fade are supposed to get the same distance and rollout. Because the basic concept of both shots is the same. However, in reality, right-handed players tend to get more distance with a draw while left-handed players get an advantage with fades.

Also, the club face angle is slightly different for a draw and a fade. A draw has a slightly closed club face with less loft. And we all know less loft leads to less backspin and more distance.

How to Hit a Draw

Now that you have the basic idea of what a draw and a fade are supposed to be, let’s get into how you set up and achieve the shot.

Address

Just like with the setup of any other shot, you need to figure out the right address position for a draw. The first thing you want to do is close the club face with the target. By closing, we mean you turn the face slightly to the left of the target instead of pointing right at it.

A closed club face might feel counterintuitive to a lot of you. However, it’s the right way to address this shot. A closed club face will introduce side spin to the ball which ultimately allows it to travel from right to left during its flight.

Grip

For a perfect draw, you need a strong grip. We don’t mean a tight grip. Rather, we want you to hold the club as firmly as you can without stressing your muscles or your fingers.

If you don’t have a strong grip in general or if you’re still working your way through to strengthen your grip without tipping over to death grip, you may use a neutral grip for a draw. It might be challenging at first. But as you put in the hours, you’ll realize the importance of a strong grip for a draw.

The best way to achieve a grip for a draw is to rotate your right hand slightly away from your body. You grip the club a little underneath than you would normally do. You’ll notice that you’re getting more strength in your hand right away. But remember, this grip only works when you’ve closed the club face and intentionally tried to hit a draw.

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The Swing

The moment of truth is here. You’re going to swing for the draw. Another very important step during the setup is to step away from the ball just a little bit to make room for the backswing and the downswing.

As the ball will start out on the right, you need to swing the club from in to out. Visually, there will be a negligible difference between your draw hit and the regular hit. But you’ll know within yourself that you’re coming in to out.

Also, you need to bring the feet a little close to each other. If you’ve already set up the ball for the shot, simply lift your right foot (for right-handed players) and adjust.

Draws with Drivers vs Draws with Other Clubs

The only thing differentiating between the driver and the irons is the tee. Tee shots are hit from the tee box while the ball is resting on a tee. We know there’s a lot of tees in one sentence but bear with us.

The tee height for a driver draw should be slightly higher than normal. If you’re comfortable, you may push the ball a few inches toward the target as well. If it doesn’t seem to be working for you, just simply revert back to your usual driver ball position.

As for irons, the ball should be slightly pushed back. It’ll help with compressing the ball.

Finally, when you swing the club after checking all of these, you should be hitting a beautiful draw. If not, there’s nothing to worry about. Just keep practicing at the driving range and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

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How to Hit a Fade

If you’ve captured the essence of hitting a draw, understanding the mechanics behind a fade will be very easy for you. A fade is pretty much the opposite of a draw. Following this principle, let’s see how the address, setup, and swing will look like for a fade.

Address

When you’re at the address for a fade, the club face should be slightly open. You’ll be coming from out to in so having an open face will allow the ball to fly out to the left. Due to the spin you add to the ball during impact, it’ll come back on track.

Although it’s not part of the address, let us remind you to not overdo the swing. As you’re keeping the club face open, too much force to the swing will end up in a slice. Fades are more sensitive to swing speed than draws due to their open face approach.

Grip

For a successful fade, the grip should be weekend. Remember how you rotated your right hand to bring it underneath the shaft of the club to strengthen the grip? Well, you’re going to adjust your hand position for a fade as well.

To hit a fade, you need to move your left hand over slightly so that you can’t see the knuckles. Your right hand knuckles, on the other hand (no pun intended), should be clearly visible.

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The Swing

During the swing, the club face should be open. You need to ensure that the club face remains open for the backswing. You can simply look at the club face when it’s at waist height to see which way it’s facing. If it’s facing the sky, the face is open. If it’s not, the face is closed.

During your setup, you need to move closer to the ball as opposed to moving away for a draw. When you move in, you get more leverage on the club and utilize the out to in motion to send the ball to the left.

Keep in mind that some clubs have a draw setting by default. It’s introduced as a forgiving mechanism for new players to achieve more distance. If you’re trying to hit a fade with a club set up for the draw, it might seem nearly impossible.

Make sure you’re using a neutral club or a club that has a fade setting on it. Lastly, spend time at the driving range to get yourself accustomed to the feeling of hitting a fade. Unless you’re comfortable with it, don’t use it during a competitive match.

Final Words

Fades and draws are two of the most esteemed shot in golf. Not every player can pull them off gracefully. Only the ones who have spent hundreds of hours at the driving range with utmost dedication can play the shots accurately.

If you want to be like them and control your shots better than ever as well as get more distance, start training for fades and draws, starting with your guide.

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Thanks for reading today’s article!

Nick Foy – Golf Instructor

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