So you’ve nailed the technique for a basic golf shot. You’ve got the right stance, the right grip and the right swing. But now you’re looking to take your game to the next level by learning some of the different shots you can hit to get you down the course as cleanly as possible.
A fade is a shot type that all the best players know how and when to pull off. In this guide, we’ll go over what the fade is, when you should try it and how to pull it off.
By the time you’ve read this article, you’re sure to be the envy of the golf course!
What Is A Fade?
The basic difference between a fade and a regular shot is that a fade will make the ball slightly off-line to where your straight shot would go.
A fade will always make the ball travel towards the side of your dominant hand. For example, if you’re a right-handed golfer, your fade shot will make the ball travel slightly to the right (and vice versa).
A lot of people confuse a fade with a slice. Whilst these shots will put the ball in pretty much the same place on the course, they do so in slightly different ways. A slice is often the result of a mishit, but a great golfer will be able to do it on purpose when it’s needed.
Basically, a slice happens when the ball is hit with an open club face and the ball immediately leaves the club in an off-centre direction. If this happens by mistake, it’s often a problem with the golfer’s grip. A fade is different because the ball will leave the club face on-centre and then curve to one side because of the spin on the ball.
Both shots can be used in a real game but the fade offers you more control and consistency. Besides, if you tell your buddies you hit that slice shot on purpose, no one is going to believe you!
It’s important to bear in mind that a fade can only be hit consistently with a club like a driver. Irons and wedges don’t have the right angle to be able to effectively hit a fade with and you’ll most likely end up slicing the ball in the wrong direction.
Why Would I Need To Hit A Fade?
Because a fade makes the ball curve in mid-air, it can be a handy little shot for a number of different golfing scenarios.
If you’re lined up to tee off and there’s some water that you have to worry about right away, it could be the perfect time to pull off a fade. If you’re right-handed and the water is positioned to your right, you should aim far enough to the left of the course that there’s no danger of the ball falling short and landing in the water.
If you get it right, the ball will curve back round to the right and you’ll land safely on the fairway. However, even if you get it wrong, the worst that can happen is the ball going dead straight and landing in the rough. At least you’ll avoid losing your ball to the water.
Similarly, a fade can be used to navigate around other obstacles like trees and bushes. If you’re teeing off and there’s no direct path to the green from where you’re standing, a fade can be used to curve the ball around these obstacles and give you a clearer second shot to get to the green.
One other situation you should think about when considering when to use a fade shot is when you’ve got a lot of wind blowing to the left or right. As a golfer, you always want to use the wind to your advantage whenever possible.
If you’re right-handed and the wind is blowing to the right, a fade will get the ball nice and high in the air before letting the wind carry it over to the right with the spin of your ball. This is great for getting some extra distance on your drive.
How To Hit A Fade?
So now that we know what a fade is and when we should use it, it’s time to look at the actual technique we need to use.
The first thing you should do to try and hit a fade is to open your stance slightly. Instead of trying to stand square to the ball, with your feet perpendicular to the direction you’re aiming for, twist your body and move your feet slightly to the left if you’re right-handed and to the right if you’re left-handed.
We do this because we know the ball will travel in the air if we hit the fade correctly. Therefore, we want to start by hitting the ball slightly to the left or right of where we want it to land.
Setting your stance up like this will ensure that you get the direction right.
Once we’ve lined up correctly, we want to loosen our grip a little more than we’d normally have it. Now, this doesn’t mean you should loosen it to the point where your club will go flying after the ball! All you need to do is twist your non-dominant hand so your thumb moves away from your dominant hand.
You only need to do this slightly to help you hit the fade more consistently but it’s still very important to maintain a good grip to give you plenty of control over your swing.
By changing our grip in this way, it makes us hit the ball with a more open club face than we’d normally have. What this means is, instead of hitting the ball in a straight direction, we’re more likely to swipe across the ball a tad- giving us a beautiful fade.
The last thing you can do to help you nail the technique is to give your follow-through a bit of flair. This is sometimes called the ‘Arnold Palmer finish’.
It basically means moving the club around in a small circular motion after you’ve finished the swing. If you normally finish your follow-through with your club over your left shoulder (this should be the case for right-handed golfers), try and do a little pirouette with the club away from that position.
Whilst this doesn’t have any direct impact on the way the ball travels, if you concentrate on trying to do this every time, the rest of the technique will come naturally.
If you can pull off the fade technique properly with your driver, you’re going to have a great range of shots to give you the upper hand over your friends and opponents.
The best way to practice the fade technique is away from the course itself and to put some time in at the driving range.
Good luck out there!