Playing a fade or draw on the golf course alters the trajectory of the shot and allows the golfer to attack certain flag positions, avoid trouble, play to the shape of the hole or control the ball in windy conditions.
The definitions that follow are for right handed golfers, make sure to reverse them if you are a left hander.
Fade - This is a golf shot that starts to the left of the target and curves, in a controlled fashion, from left to right back to the target.
Draw - This is a golf shot that starts to the right of the target and curves, in a controlled fashion, from right to left back to the target.
These types of shots require lots of control but allow the golfer to 'miss' a little and can provide a huge advantage if successful in execution. Therefore, the fade or draw should only be used by more experienced players or if the skill has been practiced thoroughly. To make the execution of either shot easier use the logo on the ball to guide your set up.
This explanation is for a right handed golfer playing a draw shot or a left handed player playing a fade shot. Reverse all directions for the 'other' shot.
When setting up for a draw shot the aim is to start the golf ball out to the right hand side of the target and curve the ball from right to left back to the target. To achieve this we are going to swing as normally as possible but set up to the ball in a slightly different fashion than usual.
1. Pick your target (where you want the ball to end up) - this is target 1.
2. Pick another target to aim at. This second target is the direction you want the ball to travel towards before curving back to target 1 - this is target 2.
3. Set the ball up so that the logo or the writing on the ball (some golf balls even have lines or arrows drawn on them) points towards target 2 - the direction you want the ball to initially travel in. Moving the ball in this way is only possible on the tee or if the course is playing with preferred lies. Setting the ball up in this way helps the visualization process of aiming and gives a reference line (the markings on the ball) with which to aim the body correctly during the next step.
4. Set up to address the golf ball normally using the markings on the golf ball to align your feet. Here the line of your feet should be in a parallel line with the markings on the golf ball which means that the feet, knees, hips and shoulders should all be aiming at target 2.
5. Turn the club face in the hands so that it points at target 1 - this will look a little strange - and then re-grip the golf club as normal. At this point the golf club should be aiming at target 1 while the golf ball logo and all parts of the body should be aiming at target 2.
6. Swing as normally as possible trying to hit the golf ball towards target 2.
If successful, the ball will be projected out towards target 2 because the body and swing are both aiming in this direction. During flight, the golf ball will curve back towards target 1 because of the set up of the golf club face. This means that the club face will be pointing at target 1 during the impact position and so will impart spin to the ball causing it to curve sideways in the air and draw back to target 1.
Using the markings on the golf ball to achieve these shots helps the golfer to trust the aiming process and correctly aim the feet and body when trying to aim at an imaginary target. Without the use of the markings it can feel 'wrong' to the golfer when setting up to the left or right of where the ball needs to end up and the shot can end up being a disaster because of this. Use all aids possible, even the writing on the golf ball, to improve your performance on the course.