Draw vs. Fade - Which is Which?

A fade shot moves from left to right for right-handed golfers. A draw shot moves from right to left. For left handed golfers it is the opposite.

A fade that spins too much is a slice, while a draw that turns too much is a hook.

It can be confusing remembering which one is which because it changes based on the way the golfer is swinging. Just remember that a fade moves away from the golfer in its trajectory and a draw moves inward.

Draw vs. Fade graphic (1)

Draw vs. Fade: Is One Shot Shape Better Than the Other?

The golf shot you play is a personal preference and should be based on which shot shape you can hit more consistently and have more control over. In most cases, confidence in your swing and the golf shot you’re playing is more important than how the ball moves.

However, many of the best players in the world have changed their shot-shaping preference to help maximize their results. The growing trend has professional golfers playing a fade, particularly for their tee shots. Dustin Johnson’s ability to carry the ball well over 300 yards makes the trade-off between distance and accuracy an easy (and highly profitable) decision for him.

How to Hit a Fade or a Draw

In simplistic terms, spin is applied to the golf ball based on the relation of the club face at impact to the path of the golf swing.

For a fade, the club face must be open in relation to the swing path. For a draw, the club face must be closed with regard to the swing path. The more these two aspects oppose each other, the more spin will be added to the ball, and the more dramatic the shot will move in flight.

In contrast, a club face square to the target on a swing path on that same target line will produce a relatively straight shot with optimal spin.

So what do you have to do to hit a fade? First, you must have the club face open. Next, you need to swing out-to-in along your target line. An easy way to do that is to align the club face to the desired target, then open your stance so that it is a few degrees left (for a right-hand player) of the target. Swing along the path of your stance and strike the ball with an open club face, and the ball will fade.

To hit a draw? Apply the opposite of what is done for a fade. Align the club face at your target and close your stance a few degrees. This motion produces an “in-to-out” swing path and impacts the ball with a slightly closed club face, creating the desired draw-spin.

Pros and Cons of Hitting a Fade

The fade shot has become more prominent in today’s professional game, as it is generally easier to control than a draw. A shot that fades also has a higher trajectory and lands softer, making it beneficial when hitting towards a tucked flag or playing a golf course with fast, firm conditions.

The biggest fallback for the fade is in the distance department. The average fade shot spins more, carries slightly less, and has a shorter overall distance, thanks to less rollout. For the world’s elite players, losing a little bit of yardage in exchange for hitting more fairways or getting closer to the flag is an easy trade-off. Your average 15-handicap might not be able to make that same concession.

Pros and Cons of Hitting a Draw

The draw shot has long been the more desired ball flight, as it produces a lower, more boring ball flight that results in, on average, more distance than a fade. A draw will generally roll out more, thanks to its topspin, making it especially helpful on open courses or links-style courses that favor keeping the ball closer to the ground.

A draw can be difficult to control, though, as the dispersion of draw shots is wider due to increased distance. Any player playing a draw can find themselves hitting a hook, making keeping the ball in play very difficult.

As your skill level increases, learning to hit and play a fade and a draw as the course calls for them will produce a significant advantage over many golfers.

About The Author

Writers of Independent Golf Reviews
Independent Golf Reviews has tested and reviewed 1000+ golf products over the past 10 years. We use our experience and expertise to give golfers an unbiased insight on the market. 
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