Draw vs Fade – How to Hit These Essential Golf Shots

draw vs fade

Curve and spin are integral parts of the game of golf. Learning to control your ball flight by hitting draws and fades can significantly lower your scores.

But what exactly are draw vs fade, when should you use them, and how do you hit these shots consistently? This guide will breakdown everything you need to know about these two essential shot shapes.

What is a Draw and Fade in Golf? – Draw vs Fade

Let’s start with some definitions. A draw in golf is a shot that curves gently from right to left for right-handed players (left to right for lefties). This curve is created by sidespin – the ball rotates forwards as well as leftwards through impact. The draw shot shape is often referred to as a hook when the curve is more severe.

Conversely, a fade is a shot that curves softly from left to right for right-handed golfers (right to left for lefties). The fade is produced by backspin as the ball rotates forwards and rightwards after impact. An exaggerated fade is called a slice.

Both draws and fades are formed by the relationship between the clubface position and swing path as you strike the ball. Mastering both will lead to better ballstriking and lower scores.

When to Hit a Draw

There are a few situations where a draw is the ideal shot shape:

  • Downwind holes – The draw’s lower trajectory and added sidespin give it more distance than a fade, allowing you to max out a downwind hole.
  • Dogleg left holes – A draw will hug the corner and pick up extra yards compared to a straight shot.
  • Pins positioned on the left side of the green – Draws land softer than fades so you can attack tucked left pins aggressively.

Overall, the draw is an excellent tee shot option as the sidespin leads to extra distance. Draws also excel on approach shots where you need to maximize carry or control the curve.

Mechanics of Hitting a Draw

To master the draw, you’ll need to make adjustments to your setup, swing path, and clubface:

  • Aim left – Align your body, feet, and clubface left of your target line to promote an inside-out swing path.
  • Stronger grip – Rotate your hands clockwise (for righties) on the club to help close the face.
  • Inside-out swing path – Swing out towards the ball then pull the clubhead left through impact.
  • Delay release – Keep your wrists “flat” as long as possible before releasing the club.

Common mistakes include releasing too early, an over-the-top downswing, and not aligning your body open enough. Work on drills to shallow out your downswing and get the feeling of swinging left.

draw vs fade

When to Hit a Fade

While draws maximize distance, fades offer more control and are preferable in these situations:

  • Into the wind – The fade’s penetrating trajectory and backspin handles wind better.
  • Dogleg right holes – Fades hug the corner on holes that bend to the right.
  • Right side pins – The fade’s extra backspin and angle of descent allow attacking pins on the right.

Overall, fades are safer on tight doglegs and better for holding firm greens. They also avoid big misses left.

Mechanics of Hitting a Fade

To carve your fade, you’ll need to adjust your alignment, grip, and swing path:

  • Aim right – Line up your stance, feet and clubface right of the target.
  • Weaken grip – Rotate hands counter-clockwise (for righties) on the club.
  • Out-to-in swing path – Swing out slightly towards the ball then back right through impact.
  • Earlier release – Allow your wrists to hinge and release before impact.

Watch out for swinging too far from the inside, releasing the club early, and not aligning your body open to the target. Focus on shallowing the downswing and feel your right side clearing on the downswing.

Drills to Groove Draws and Fades

To develop consistent draw and fade shots, dedicate practice time to these drills:

  • Alignment sticks – Place sticks outside your feet and shoulders angled left or right depending on the shot.
  • Impact bags – Position bags left or right and make sure your momentum is headed there at impact.
  • Swing aids – Use swing trainers that guide you into an inside or outside delivery.
  • On-course rehearsal – Visualize shapes on different holes, then purposefully hit draws or fades.

Be patient and work on one shot shape at a time. Start with shorter clubs and gradually increase to driver as you gain confidence.

Maximizing Shot Shaping for Different Clubs

The amount of curve you can realistically play will vary based on the club you are using:

  • Driver – Higher loft and length makes big draws or slices common. Focus on a small 5-10 yard fade.
  • Irons – Mid and short irons are more controllable for curving shots. Maximize 10-20 yards of shape.
  • Wedges – Finesse is needed for shaping wedges but curves of 15-30 yards are achievable.

As a benchmark, try shaping your shots in 5 yard increments up to 10% of your total carry distance for each club type.

Final Verdict

Learning to work the ball both ways is critical for scoring. A draw is great for distance while the fade’s control sets up more birdie putts. By mastering both shot shapes, you have more options to attack any hole or pin position.

Start by understanding the differences between draws and fades. Then make adjustments to your setup, grip and swing path to curve the ball. Dedicate time to drills and on-course practice to hone your skills. Learning to work the ball both ways will pay off big time in lower scores. Now it’s time to get shaping!

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