Shape The Ball – Hit A Golf Fade, Tour Alignment Stick Drill

This is a great exercise to help to shape the ball and hit a fade golf shot.

A set of two tour sticks is needed to illustrate and practice the shot. Firstly, describing a fade golf shot is to describe a shot, for a right handed golfer, that is a controlled, small curve, that starts to the left of the intended target and curves in the air to the right, back towards the target. This is, of course, reversed for a left handed golfer where the ball starts out to the right and curves back to the left, towards the target.

This shot can be very useful during a game of golf. It can be used in many ways. The most popular is to move the ball around obstacles, such as trees or other obstructions. The shot can also be used to move the ball into a target, such as a flag, that could not be accessed from a normal straight shot, maybe because of a bunker guarding that area of the green. It is a great shot to avoid trouble by making sure that the ball moves in a direction away from a hazard, such as water or out of bounds.

To hit a fade shot, two things must be understood. The first is where the intended target is – where the ball needs to finish – and the second is the golf ball’s initial direction, which for the fade is to the left of the intended target.

Use the two tour sticks to visualise and align the body to be able to practice this shot. Put the first stick in the ground, vertically, approximately 10 feet in front of the golf ball, in a direct line between the ball and the intended target. This shows the line for a straight shot to the target. Now, position the second tour stick, laying it on the floor, pointing in a line to the left of the intended target. This will be the direction that the ball needs to start on and the line that the body will be aligned with at set up.

Now, set up to the tour stick lying on the floor, for a normal golf swing. Following this, point the club face at the vertical stick, 10 feet in front of the ball. This is now pointing at the target but open, or pointing to the right of, where the body aims. It is important that the grip is still held correctly at this point. Do not just turn the hands to turn the club face towards the tour stick. Make sure that the club face is turned, and then the hands are put correctly on the club.

The aim of this drill, when the club is swung, is to strike the golf ball with as normal a swing as possible, to get the ball to take off to the left of the vertical tour stick. If the ball is struck correctly, because the club face is pointing at the intended target at the moment of impact, the ball sets out to the left of the vertical tour stick and curves in the air towards the intended target, in a controlled fade shape.

Using the sticks in this way helps to visualise the fading left to right shot, and gives some great feedback on how far the ball will curve in the air.