A fade is golf’s control shot. The ball rises up high, curves gracefully to the right, and falls gently down to the ground in the fairway or on the green. A draw gets you more distance, but it can easily get out of control and turn into a nasty hook. To keep the ball in play, hit a fade. Here are four ways to do it.
If you set up square and strike the ball squarely, the result will be a straight shot. To make the ball curve intentionally, you have to change something. To set up left-to-right spin, the clubface has to come into the ball ever so slightly open to the path of the club. For example, if the club is traveling from 3 o’clock to 9, the clubface, instead of facing 9, must be facing between 9 and 10.
1. The classic way to hit a fade is to change your setup. Aim yourself slightly to the left of the target and twirl the club in your hands so the clubface aces halfway between your aim point and the target. You have pre-set the club open to the swing path, so if you just make a square swing along your body line, the clubface will sweep into the ball open, and the left-to-right spin will be imparted.
2. Another way of hitting a fade is to set up completely square, and take the club away outside of your normal swing path. If you swing the club back down on this path, outside-to-in, the clubface will be facing directly at the target, but the club path will be to the left of that. The ball will start out left and come back in to the right.
3. A third way of hitting a fade is to set up to the left of the target, clubface square, and swing back on your normal swing path. The change happens as the club is on its way up. Over-rotate your left forearm clockwise as you swing back. This will open the clubface. Keep this rotation as long as you can on the way back down. The clubface will close again, there’s no preventing it, but there will not be enough time for the face to close all the way back to square. It remains open and left-to-right spin is once again imparted.
4. A fourth way is subtle, and is perhaps only for advanced players. Hold the club tighter than normal with the last three fingers of the left hand. Hold it very tightly, but not so much that your left forearm gets rigid. This will tend to lock your left wrist, preventing the club from closing at impact. The open clubface will give you the fade you’re looking for.