The ability to hit a fade in golf is a coveted skill. Like a draw, a fade is a more controlled shot. A fade golf shot typically lands very softly and doesn’t get away from the player’s intended target. It’s a shot that can help save you strokes every round and is much more reliable than a slice.
What is a Fade in Golf?
If you aren’t familiar with the term a golf fade, or sometimes referred to as a cut shot, it is a ball flight that shapes left-to-right for right-handed players and right-to-left for left handers. This is the same shape as a slice, but a fade is much more controlled and doesn’t cover as much lateral distance. For example, when a right-hander hits a tee shot that intentionally moves a few yards left-to-right, that’s a fade. If that same player were to hit a tee-shot that moves uncontrollably offline to the right, that’s a slice.
How to Hit a Fade with a Driver or Irons
The fade is the natural shot shape of some golfers. But many more players hit quick hooks or a big slice. In order to hit a controlled fade there are a few fundamentals that apply to both drivers and irons.
Check Your Grip
Your grip is crucial in any golf shot. Even if you do everything else correctly, a poor grip can prevent you from hitting the golf shot you are aiming for.
When hitting a fade, you want your grip to be slightly weaker than normal. That means you will want your top hand (left for right-handers) rotated a little counterclockwise. Instead of seeing three knuckles on your top hand at address, you should see two. If you find that you can’t get the club back to square at impact you’ve rotated your top hand too weak. Another consideration is to hold the club a little more in the palm of your top hand versus the fingers.
Your bottom hand should also rotate slightly in the same direction as your top hand. Keep in mind that getting your bottom hand too far onto the top of the club is a sure fire way to open the club on your takeaway hit a slice. When experimenting with your grip subtle changes are best.
Mind Your Stance
When properly executed, there is nothing better than aiming down the left side of the fairway or at the left half of the green and fading the ball to your target in a controlled manner. When hitting a straight shot your feet are parallel to your target line. That is also the case when hitting a fade you just want to be sure to aim slightly left of your final intended target to allow for a fade’s slightly left to right shot shape. See the photo below where the final target is the tree on the right. It is often helpful to aim your clubface slightly towards your final intended target.
Open the Clubface
While players like Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino have said they opened the clubface slightly to hit a fade, it is important to note that it is not completely necessary. You can also fade the ball with your swing path. That said, some players feel more comfortable opening the clubface instead of altering their swing path.
If you choose to open the clubface, just rotate the toe of the club slightly away from the ball at address. Even a degree of an open face will be enough to create some curve in the ball’s flight. Be very careful as the more you open the club face, the more the ball will start to the right of your target line and curve right of your target line (for right-handers). As discussed in the last section it is crucial to aim left of your target when hitting a fade.
If you’re uncomfortable opening the clubface, another way is to swing slightly across your target line. The most important part of hitting any golf shot is your swing path, and that includes the fade golf shot. To hit a fade, you want to have a slightly outside-to-in motion, meaning the club is hitting the ball and moving left (for right-handers) through impact. Again, be careful because if the clubhead comes in from too far outside and cuts across the ball, you will create a slice. You only need to attack the ball from a degree or two outside-to-in to create an effective fade.
To help produce a golf fade you can also think about your swing positions at the top and finish. At the top you want your hands to be high above your trail shoulder. At the finish you want your hands to remain low and left as in the below pictures.
Finding the balance with your stance, the clubface and the swing path is vital but this kind of experimentation is part of what makes golf fun. Many new players tend to open their stances too much, swing very steep and very outside-to-in, and hit very large slices. As anyone who has hit a slice will tell you, it is a very frustrating shot and one that is difficult to work out of your golf game.
Practice Fade Shots with Swing Align!
If you’re struggling to develop a consistent shot pattern or just need a tool to help provide instant feedback, the Swing Align trainer may just be your saving grace. Swing Align teaches you how to properly align yourself, how to get in the proper position for a controlled swing motion, and allows you to feel your whole body rotate. Regardless of your shot shape, even a fade, you want to control the swing with your body not your arms and hands.
Using the Swing Align Bundle, and the included Swing Junction, practice aligning yourself slightly left of your target to learn how to hit a fade. Understand where your feet should be positioned and what it looks like when they are too open which typically creates a slice. From there, practice keeping your body and arms connected and rotating through the swing. Rotate and don’t sway during the swing and don’t flip your hands. This will allow you to groove a consistent swing motion that produces a controlled shot time after time. With the right aim, clubface position and path, you too can hit a highly controlled fade.
Develop a Consistent Fade with Swing Align!
Improve your golf game and develop a consistent fade with Swing Align! Visit the full line of products that can help you with whatever aspect of your game you are struggling with. You can also find drills and tips that will help you make the most of your practice sessions. Shop today!