The Art of the Fade and Draw

When you step up to the ball and see a sharp dog-leg, you’re faced with a couple of options. Lay up before the dog-leg or hit a draw/fade to follow the line of the fairway. Being able to step up and hit a controlled shot on command can drastically improve your golf game.

All players, regardless of their ability, can add shape to their shots and master the technique of a draw or a fade. Once the technique is down, you can set yourself up in the proper position and shed some strokes off your score. If you can hit the draw or the fade, your stance and impact can determine where you hit the ball and the score you’ll finish with at the end of the round.

The Fade

When you want to hit a fade, you’re curving the ball to the right (for right-handed golfers) or to the left (for left-handed golfers). You are increasing the side-spin of the shot so you won’t get the distance you would see with a draw or a straight shot.

You’ll see a fade hit when golfers are playing around a hazard, wish to land the ball softly on the green, or take some distance off as they approach the pin. When you’re practicing, open the clubface so that the toe of the club is pointed in a direction away from your front foot. This way, at the point of impact, your club will put side spin on the ball.

Tip: The more you open the face, the more fade you’ll see.

As the clubface becomes more open, so too does your stance. You want your front foot to move back away from the ball. You want to open up your stance to see more fade on the shot. Approach the ball with a weaker grip, which decreases the amount of rotation on your wrists and allows you to address the ball with a more open face because you can’t fully rotate.

The Draw

The preferred shot off the tee and on the approach to the green is the draw. This is when your ball curves from right to left (for a right-handed player) or left to right (for a left-handed player). You want to start the ball just outside of your target and have it draw back towards the hole.

The swing path doesn’t necessarily determine the direction of your shot, but more so the position of the clubface—similar to the fade. To start the draw, remember your clubface has to be open. When you want to make adjustments with your swing for the draw, drop your back foot back a couple of inches at address. Moving your back foot backward will create room on the downswing for the desired swing path, in-to-out.

As you come forward, shift your hips to the target while keeping your shoulders back momentarily. Keeping the shoulders back prevents shifting the back foot and spinning the upper body. With a strong grip on the club, you want to minimize forearm rotation.

Swing the club on a long, sweeping arc, and maintain the sweep through impact. For a proper draw and the best results, the clubface must be closed to the path, not the target.

Wrapping it up

Both the draw and the fade are best used with a low-loft club. You’ll see professionals that golf in PA use their draw and fade off the tee or from the fairway. When you’re using a wedge with high loft, it is increasingly difficult to apply the side spin you need for your shot.

When you master the art of the draw and fade, you’ll be able to gain the best position on the fairway in relation to your lie, and land the ball softly on the green. It takes practice, but once you have the fundamentals down, you’ll see strokes cut off your score and your game improve. Set up a lesson with a club professional and begin to understand the controlled movements associated with a draw and fade.