Hitting specialized golf shots, such as fades or draws, may seem complicated, but its really not. These step-by-step instructions (and help from Thomas Golfs patented “shot alignment bar”) open the door to new accomplishments in shotmaking.
Before explaining the fade and draw, its important to review the four steps to hitting a straight golf shot:
- Stand behind the ball and visualize a straight line between ball and target.
- Pick out a leaf or mark thats a few feet or less in front of the ball and on this visualized target line.
- Address the ball, aiming the clubface at the leaf or mark you just selected. (This is where Thomas Golf clubs give you a big advantage. The top plane of each iron, wood and hybrid is designed with an alignment guide that is parallel to the ground and in the exact direction of the clubface.)
- Align your heels, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line. Youre now positioned to hit the ball straight at the target.
How to hit a fade:
- Complete steps 1, 2 and 3 for a straight shot.
- Instead of aligning your heels, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line, align them left of your target (for right-handed golfer). Keep the clubhead and alignment bar aimed along the original target line.
- Swing naturally, along your body line (not the target line). The ball should start left of the target, then fade to the right, toward the target.
How to hit a draw:
- Complete steps 1, 2 and 3 for a straight shot.
- Instead of aligning your heels, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line, align them right of your target (for right-handed golfer). Keep the clubhead and alignment bar aimed along the original target line.
- Swing naturally, along your body line (not the target line). The ball should start right of the target, then draw to the left, toward the target.
Concepts on How to Hit a Fade or a Draw
Concepts on How to Hit a fade or a draw One of the easiest concepts in learning how to shape your shots is to think about your current swing and the type of shots it produces. Lets use a fictitious character to illustrate the process. Garys normal shot pattern is a slice. He is taking lessons to help straighten out his shots. Some of the things that Garys teacher is working with him on is his grip and his turn on the backswing. Gary has a weak grip and doesnt make a full turn so the face is very open at impact. What Gary can learn from his tendencies is that if he strengthens his grip a little he will get less curve to the right and coupled with a fuller backswing turn he should also have more time to square the clubface. At the very least he should be able to take out some of the slice. Therefore, if he does the exact opposite of what he is currently doing, he should be able to produce a draw or hook.
A very strong grip with room to move his arms and make a full turn will change Garys ball flight. Examine your own swing in relation to your ball flight and experiment with it at first with slight variations and then with more drastic variations to see how your shots change their shape. Some things to consider are your grip, ball position, alignment and the position of your hips, shoulders and spine at impact. A even simpler concept regarding hitting a fade or draw is to try and trace the shape of the fairway with the club off of the tee you can see the outline of a dogleg by the shape of the fairway.
If you have a left to right dogleg then swing your club slightly left to right, tracing the curve of the fairway. A third concept is to replicate your body position at impact by beginning your swing in that position. For instance, a player is going to try to hit a draw. He imagines his chest pointing at or behind the ball at impact, his right shoulder lower than the left and the majority of his weight on the right side. He should start his swing from that position and try to replicate that position at impact.
The nice thing about this concept is it starts you out in a good position to hit a draw and it also gives you a mental picture of where you should be when hitting the ball. An example to illustrate a fade would be to start your swing with your shoulders pointing a little left and your right arm bent. Finally, an old concept that is currently under fire says that you should first point the clubface at your target. To hit a fade you should line up your body left of the target while keeping the clubface pointing at the target. Swing along the line of your body (left) and return the clubface back to square at impact. The theory is that the ball will start on the line you swing your club on and curve towards the place your clubface is pointed
Concepts are really just general ideas on how something works. If one of these concepts helps you wade through the mechanics of how to hit a fade or draw then its very likely that the information you learn will stay with you longer than if you tried to simply memorize mechanics.
Drills on How to Hit a Fade or Draw
- Hit balls off of a hill with the ball above your feet to practice a draw. Hitting balls off of this lie will help you flatten your swing which is useful in hitting a draw. It is a natural draw lie since the club closes earlier in the downswing and the shoulders need to turn flatter to prevent fat shots. When hitting a draw off of a normal lie it is useful to remember the feeling of a rounder, flatter swing.
- Hit balls off of a hill with the ball below the feet to practice a fade. The ball is further away from you so the club head needs more time to close. This swing promotes more up and down motion with the swing rather than the flat plane used to hit a ball above the feet. The steeper swing is much like the upright swing you might use to hit a fade off of a normal lie.
- Use your alignment sticks as a guide for your swing path. Pretend you are playing a dogleg left. Place one alignment stick about 6 inches behind the ball pointing slightly toward your right foot. Place the other the same distance in front of the ball pointing about 20 yard to the left of the target line. Use the illustration to help you swing along the line of the “dogleg” and hit a draw.
- In order to get visual feedback as to where your club is at impact put colored tape down one side of your shaft. For instance, pretend you have covered the right side of the shaft with red tape. Take a few practice swings. At first, swing so that you see more red tape than shaft at impact. This would indicate that the clubface is closing. Then, take a few swings so that you see more shaft than tape at impact. This would tell you the face is opening at impact.
- After hitting a few golf balls this way start to work on the path. Put your alignment sticks on the ground such as in drill #3. While following the different paths and monitoring the tape on your shaft you can learn how ball flight works and become more confident in your abilities to hit fades and draws on the golf course.
- Using an old shaft or alignment rod plant it vertically about 20 yards in front of you on the range. Pretend it is a tree and practice hitting draws and fades around it. Use it also as a reference as you practice the gamut of fades and draws. Shaping the ball consistently is contingent on you having control over every type of fade and draw.
- Low fades, medium fades and high fades.
- Practice hitting fades starting out left, over the shaft and to the right of the shaft.
- Low draws, medium draws and high draws.
- Hit draws again starting left of the shaft, over the shaft and right of the shaft.
- Start this drill with a mid-lofted club and shorts swings. End the drill with your driver.
How to hit a fade or a draw
There are a lot of factors that go into the flight path of a golf shot. The path of the club is significant when working the ball as is the clubface position. A few of the other dynamics include the speed of the swing, the angle of approach and even the trending of the club directly before and after impact.It can become burdensome trying to consider every variable that can effect whether you hit a fade ordraw so lets keep it simple and stick with some mechanics that most golfers can identify with.First, keep in mind that a flat swing will make it easier to draw the ball whereas an upright swing will simplify hitting a fade. Second, the faster you swing the more sidespin you create. Therefore, tour player Jordan Spieth will be able to control a 25-35 yard fade and a golfer with an average swing speed may be able to handle a 10-20 yard fade.
Finally take into account that its easier to shape shots with lower lofted clubs because of the backspin and additional sidespin longer clubs create.By using simple mechanics you can learn how to fade or draw on your own. While experimentingwith these fundamentals you may even discover how to cure your everyday swing ailments! Grip the grip has a majority of influence on the clubface position. When you have a weak grip it makes it difficult to square the clubface at impact.
A slightly open face helps to produce a fade, whereas a strong grip will cause the clubface to close sooner and better facilitate a draw.
- If you are an experienced and confident golfer you may choose to weaken or strengthen your grip to create movement on your golf ball from one side to the other.
- Another grip tip that works for some is to double or triple overlap your right hand over the left to make it tougher to close the face and easier to create a fade. In contrast you could use a baseball or even split grip to help close the face sooner in order to hit a draw. Alignment Alignment can refer to the alignment of the feet, hips, shoulders and forearms.
- Foot alignment has the least amount of influence on path. Your arms will follow your shoulder line. The shoulders can effect path and the club face. Your forearms can create an in to out or out to in path if one is higher than theother at impact.e. Hip alignment at address can influence the path of the club.
- A ball that is further back in the stance will help fade the ball because the face hasnt had a chance to close yet. Spine Position If the head and spine are leaning forward at impact it could make it easier to hit a fade.
- If the head and spine are leaning right it would make it easier to draw the ball. Hip Position at Impact
- Hips that are too far open at impact will typically cause a fade.
- Hips that have not cleared yet at impact will many times cause a draw. Chest Position at Impact If the chest is pointing behind the ball at impact the arms will normally keep going and cause a draw.
- When the chest points ahead of the ball at impact it traps the arms behind and on average will leave the club face open causing a fade. Try experimenting with one or more of the mechanics above.
Ball Position. A ball position that is more forward than normal will help create a draw because the clubface will already be closing at impact.
For example, to hit a fade try moving the ball back in the stance and pointing your chest forward of the ball at impact. Or to hit a draw you might lean your spine and head to the right at impact and strengthen your grip slightly. I wouldnt recommend you move your grip unless you have practiced with it before the round. If you are new at learning how to hit a fade or draw then you should make small adjustments until you start seeing changes in your ball flight. Instead of dwelling on exact methods it is sometimes easier to manipulate simple mechanics in order to work the ball.
How to Hit a Fade or Draw in Difficult Situations
One of the key ingredients to hitting a trouble shot is having an open mind. Creativity will get you out of many situations and if you allow yourself to think out of the box you may even pull off some pretty amazing shots. A player who has a good basic understanding of how to hit a fade or draw and also has the ability of controlling trajectory has an advantage in challenging conditions.
The first step in your process should be to look at the openings for your shot. You may have as few as one and as many as three or four options available to you. Once you decide the best course of play you need to visualize the shot you want to hit. That will help you decide which club to select.
Next, if you have a rangefinder shoot your distance to the landing area, then the place you want the ball to end up. If there is a place you do not want to hit the ball (such as a creek or a bunker) you need to shoot that yardage to it as well.
Here are some examples to help you think out of the box on your own shots.
- Your ball lands on a large grass mound on the left side of the fairway. The ball is quite a bit below your feet. You are 150 yards away from the hole, which we will say is normally an 8 iron.
- The green is clear on the left side and there is a bunker on the right guarding the hole. The hole is on the right side of the green, reachable only if you are able to carry the bunker.
- Your decide your options are to #1 Try to fly the bunker and hit your shot directly at the hole. # 2 Hit a safe shot to the left side of the green or # 3 Hit a fade starting in line with the left side of the green fading right towards the hole.
- You decide you want to hit the fade. Your lie will assist you as will the hole set up because the pin is to the right while the green is clear to the left.
- Use one more club than you would hit normally which at this point would be a 7-iron.
- Choke down slightly on the club and dont play the ball too far forwar Align yourself towards the left-center of the green and take a ¾ swing. The fact that the ball is below your feet, you choked down on the club and did not move your ball forward you will assist you in hitting a fade.
- You are playing a dogleg right and hit your tee shot too close to the right side where your ball hit a tree. The ball is now 20 yards directly behind the tree in line with the hole about 160 yards away and in the rough. The tree branches are hanging about 10 feet from the ground.
- To your left you have a fairway curving gently from left to right and beyond the rough on the left side is out of bounds. On the right it is fairly open but it is rough rather than fairway.
- The tree is too big to hit over so your options are #1 Pitch out directly left into the fairway.
- #2 Hit a low draw around the tree trying to carry it as far as possibly so as not to land in the rough.
- #3 Hit a low fade that runs right along the fairway towards the hole when it hits the ground.
- The best shot on paper is to hit the fade. Even if your short you will still be in the fairway. The key is to take the most lofted club you can and still keep the ball under the branches. You dont want the ball to carry too far past your landing point. Also remember that unfortunately a more lofted club will not fade as much as a lower lofted club.
- If you feel comfortable hitting a draw this might be a better opportunity for your ball to reach the green. With a draw you can de-loft a shorter club in order to hit it under the branches.
- For this shot you will take one club longer than what you need to reach the green. Choke down a few inches on the club because you wont be taking a full swing. Play the ball more towards the center of your body and open your stance slightly. Stand a little more narrow than normal.
- Close the club face a little bit and make sure your hands are in front of the ball.
- Keep the club low while you swing and use the club to feel as though you are drawing a line around the tree. The ball will draw and you should at least be on the right edge of the green even if the ball does not curve.
- Common sense and awareness are imperative when figuring out how to hit a fade or draw in a difficult situation. Let the circumstances guide you and then apply simple mechanics to help materialize the shot you envisioned.
When to Hit a Fade or Draw
Changing your ball flight can help you navigate both simple and complex challenges during a normal round of golf. A basic decision you might face regarding hitting an intentional draw or fade is the shape of the hole. For instance, if you are facing a dogleg right with a tree at the right corner of the bend then a fade would most likely work well. Ideally the ball would trace the curvature of the fairway and roll right when it hit the ground.
In this case, the difference between being able to hit a fade or having to stick with your everyday draw could mean a difference of your ball being 40 or 50 yards closer to the green.
Another common situation you may encounter is a hole location tucked in a corner behind a large bunker. If the pin was tucked left it would be advantageous to aim towards the middle of the green and draw the ball towards the hole. By aiming at the middle of the green you give yourself room to work with if you mishit your shot.
As simple as these decisions are to reach there will also be more complex issues you will face.
Your lie, for example, can dictate which shot you should hit. Its easier to hit a fade If you ball rests on a tight lie or hardpan as opposed to the ball sitting in deep rough. A draw would be a better choice to hit from the deep rough because when the club hits the grass the grass will slow it down and the face will close.
If your ball is lying on an uphill slope then a good shot selection would be a draw. On this type of lie your club squares up sooner on the downswing so if you dont move your ball back the club face will be closing by the time of impact. The same results occur with a ball lying above your feet.
Conversely if the ball rests below your feet then the favorable shot would be a fade. If the ball is below your feet its actually further away from you and therefore the clubface needs more time to close. Unless you move the ball more forward in your stance then you most likely will have an open clubface and a swing that promotes a fade.
Another condition that can help make your decision whether or not you can pull off your fade or draw is the wind. The wind effects the golf balls spin. A wind in your face will emphasize side spin. Therefore if you hit a slight fade into the wind more than likely it will fade more than you planned A tail wind will not contribute to the balls sidespin.
Its obvious that a right to left wind will favor a draw and a left to right wind a fade. However, if you need to hit a soft fade then a right to left wind can knock a fade down and turn into more of a high straight shot. The opposite is true with a draw and a left to right wind
If you pay attention to the shot at hand you will find clues all around you that will help you decide if you can hit a draw or a fade. If you consider yourself a feel player then you probably are able to take in all of this information quickly and turn it into an image of the shot you see yourself hitting.
When you are just learning how to hit a fade or draw then its important you consciously take in all of the information regarding your shot at hand and then decide whether you can hit your fade or draw easily.