A fade is a golf shot that initially flies left of the target and then curves to the right during its flight, finishing on the target.
It is a deliberately controlled ball flight that produces accurate results and is a great shot to be able to play when you are out on the golf course and faced with a left to right dog leg. In this situation, you will be able to play the shot around the dog leg corner and get much closer to the green, leaving yourself a much easier shot to play at the pin, rather than if you only have the option of laying up.
To play a fade, you need to initially set up so that the club face is aiming left of the target. The club face is 85% responsible for the direction that a golf ball flies in. If a fade begins on the left of the target, the club face must be aiming left of target when it strikes the golf ball. The reason that a golf ball curves during its flight is because there is a difference between the direction that the club head is travelling in, or its swing path, and the direction that the club face is aiming in. If you place an alignment pole on the ground to represent the target line, the far side of the line is the outside and the near side of the line is the inside. If you are playing a fade, the club head needs to be approaching the golf ball from the outside of the line and then striking the golf ball and travelling to the inside of the line. You need an out to in swing path to play a fade golf shot.
As you are swinging the golf club head on an out to in swing path, the club face needs to be aiming to the right of this swing path, but not right of the target. This will impart tilted axis spin on to the golf ball when it is struck and the golf ball will initially fly left of target and then curve, due to the tilted axis spin, to the right. The greater the difference between the club head’s swing path and club face’s aim, the greater the curve during the ball flight.
To play a fade, set up with the club face aiming left of the target and then align your feet more left of this. Swing the club parallel to your feet alignment and this will produce an out to in swing path. If you play the shot with the club face aiming between your swing path and the target, so left of the target but right of the swing path, the ball will start left of the target and then curve to the right finishing on the target.
Work on this initially at the range or practice ground and then once you have become more confident with the shot and feel you can control the amount of spin you are placing upon the golf ball through impact and therefore the amount of curve you see during the ball flight, you can take the shot out on to the golf course and start deliberately playing a highly accurate and controlled left to right fade.