What’s a Fade and Why Should You Use it?
A fade in golf(for right-handed hitters) is when the ball moves left to right. It’s the opposite of a draw, where the ball moves left to right.
TV commentators ramble endlessly about the advantages of a draw off the tee: but we’re here to tell you that a fade is worth considering.
A handful of Pros utilize (successfully) a fade in their golf game. 18 time PGA champ, Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Johnson, and many others have made the fade a standard part of their repertoire. Even draw heavy Golfers like Rory Mcllory have more frequently played the fade in the 2021 season because of its forgiving shot shape.
Simply put, consistently driving a fade can elevate your golf game by improving ball placement, arming you with increased shot versatility on less-than straight fairways. Here at Gears, as the champions of the most precise and effective golf motion capture system in the world, we’re all about optimizing that swing. Read on to learn how you can nail that fade every time.
3 Steps to the Perfect Fade:
1. Dial in Your Ball Flight Mechanics
Ball flight is impacted by a few factors:
- Your Clubface
The angle of your clubface controls a good 75% of where the ball will start. If it’s too far right, you risk a slice. Too far left, you risk a pull.
- Your Swing Path
The swing path, or direction the club is hitting the ball from is another crucial element to ball flight. For example, just because your clubface is straight doesn’t mean that if you shift your swing path 15 degrees to the left the ball won’t fly left.
- Your Body Position
Correct body position ensures a more natural swing path. Your arms follow your feet. Just a good rule to follow.
For a fade, your clubface needs to be slightly to the right of the swing path. If you’re more than slightly(so, more than a few degrees), you’re probably overdoing it.
2. Angle Your Body Position
- Tee Down
Try to tee the ball a little lower than normal. You might lose a few extra years, but this will help alter your shot trajectory and improve your ball placement.
- Aim Left
We know, it sounds wrong. Aim left? Fades go to the right. But since they start from the left, it’s important that you aim left. Pick a target–a tree, rock, whatever is easiest to focus on–left of your actual target. Align your stance with it.
- Clubface Out
Your body is aligned with your new target. The next step is altering the angle of the clubface. To provide optimal results, open it up(angled slightly right if you’re a right handed hitter) just slightly. A good rule of thumb is your clubface should be right of your swing path but still aimed towards your actual target.
It’s extremely important that you don’t open up too much here. A few degrees is all that stands between a beautiful fade and a nasty slice(great way to ruin the start of a hole).
3. Swing Hard
It’s a simple fact: the more powerful the swing the faster the ball will move through the air. That being said, the more aggressively you drive, the better the results of your fade.
Swing with your whole body. In fact, one of the amazing things about the face is that it’s virtually the same as a regular swing but yields similar results. Rotation is everything here. Check out our article on rotation and power if you’d like a refresher.
Many golfers think they have to cut across the ball to get a fade. Do that, swing hard, and you’ve got yourself a slice. A fade in many ways feels like a straight or a draw; you’re feeling your legs, upper body and arms work together towards the target.
Other than slight adjustments to your clubface and stance, a fade isn’t much different from anything else. Remember that and swing hard.
How to Hit a Low Fade
The low fade can be helpful for certain holes, especially in high winds. Hitting a low fade is virtually the same as a stock fade, with a few small differences:
- Tee up just as you would for a stock fade, but place the ball farther back in your stance. This helps to lower your shot trajectory.
- Your stance needs to be a lot more open. This is to compensate for the change in ball position. Remember: A good fade means the ball starts slightly left of the target.
Slice or Fade?
The fade may not come as naturally to novice players or those just trying to break a habit. And that’s ok.
If you feel like your fade isn’t helping your game, or it’s moving the ball more than 10 yards right(or heaven forbid, to the adjacent fairway), here are some tips worth considering:
- Check Your Clubface
Clubface angle largely affects ball flight mechanics. Even though your body is aimed left of your target, your clubface should still be pointed towards it.
- Don’t Cut Across the Ball
A common mistake is to assume that a fade requires you to aim left and swipe the ball trying to create the left-to right flight motion.
The thing is, a fade shot is supposed to be straight until the very end when it veers right and drops suddenly.
- Get Professional Help
Hire a golf coach to give you a couple of pointers. They’ll be able to immediately spot any issues with your swing and correct them.
If you’re looking to fine tune every aspect of your swing down to the degree, give our biomechanics technology a try.
What Drills Can I Try to Improve My Fade?
The most important part of a power fade is basic golf mechanics. You’ll want to make sure your grip, stance, body position, and tempo are all in sync to really put a fade shot to work. If you’d like to revisit some of the fundamentals, check out our articles on golf grips.
Try this drill below to solidify your new fade:
- Grab a couple of straws
- Lay one on the grass, pointing towards your target
- Lay the other on the left to represent your club’s path after impact
If you’ve tried this drill and want more practice, check out Chris Ryan Golf for a couple of our favorites.
With proper practice and solid mechanics, you can utilize the fade to take your game to the next level. Try some of our drills above, meet with a local pro, or sign up for a consultation with gears sports biomechanics to get started. See you on the course!