The golf ball makes contact with your club. It travels high in the air, curves slightly to the right, and lands softly. A fade is a beautiful golf shot.
Also known as a “cut” or a “small slice”, a fade will curve slightly away from the player (to the right for a right-handed golfer).
Below we take a closer look at the benefits of this shot shape and share 6 techniques to help you learn how to hit a fade.
Let’s get started!
What Are The Benefits Of Learning How To Hit A Fade?
Before we focus on the “how”, let’s talk about the “why”. Learning how to hit a fade will improve your ball striking and give you more options when you play.
There are several reasons why learning how to hit a fade will improve your golf scorecard:
#1: Like A Butterfly With Sore Feet
The golf expression “…a butterfly with sore feet…” is used to describe a shot that lands softly on the green and stays close to the hole.
An iron shot that is fading will land much softer than a draw or a hook. Are you trying to get close to tucked pin? If yes, a fade is the shot you want to play.
A draw or hook has over spin and will release when it lands. Playing a firm golf course with a hook can be almost impossible.
Learn how to hit a fade and watch your ball land like a butterfly with sore feet.
#2: Consistent distance Control
A golf shot that fades is more consistent than a hook. You can trust it will travel the correct distance if you hit it well.
The problem with a hook is that it comes out “hot” – that is, it can jump on you and go much farther than you expected.
More distance on a shot can cause you multiple issues. First, long and left are quite frequently out of bounds. The worst penalty in golf.
Second, most greens are designed to slope from back to front. Being over the green is typically the hardest up-and-down and will put stress on your short game.
Learn how to hit a fade and have confidence in your yardages.
#3: Good Misses
This may sound like a strange rule, but you need to manage your misses to play good golf. No one hits every shot perfectly, so being able to play your poor shots is critical.
Bogeys don’t ruin your score. It’s the doubles, triples, quadruples, etc that do.
Learn how to hit a fade and you will be able to play your misses.
#4: Options: Work It Both Ways
If you are hoping to learn how to hit a fade, then we’re guessing your normal ball flight is a draw or a hook.
That’s okay. There are times when a draw can help. Adding a fade to your toolkit gives you more options on the course.
If you are playing a dogleg left par 4, it will help if you can hit a draw around the corner.
Conversely, if there is a pin tucked on the right side of the green a fade is preferred. You can aim at the middle of the green and work the ball towards the flag.
The more options you have the better.
6 Techniques To Learn How To Hit A Fade
Each golf swing is different. You may not need to do all 6 of these techniques to learn how to hit a fade.
The next time you visit the driving range to practice, give them a try. It may be one or a combination of them that help you execute the perfect fade.
Learning how to hit a fade starts before you even take the club back. There are several pre-shot steps you need to take.
A fade will curve slightly to the right, so it makes sense you need to aim 5-10 yards left of your target.
Quick tip to check your alignment. Take your stance as if you are about to hit your shot. Now lay down a 2nd club or an alignment stick parallel with your feet.
Step back and assess where the club/stick is pointing. If you are lined up correctly, it will be aimed 10 yards left of where you want the ball to start.
The first step to learning how to hit a fade is aiming for that shot path.
#2: Weaken Your Grip
The strong vs. weak golf terminology is not related to your grip pressure. It has to do with the placement of your hands on the golf club.
The best way to check your grip is to “count your knuckles”. Take your normal grip and count how many knuckles you can see on your left hand.
There are different opinions out there, but ideally, you should see two knuckles. If you can count 4 on your left hand, your grip is too strong.
Adjust your left hand until you can only see 2 and you might find the fade much easier to hit.
#3: Open Stance
You must be open in order to learn how to hit a fade. Open to change, yes, but more importantly, you need to open your stance.
Similar to when you are hitting a bunker shot, you want to open your feet and your shoulders. They should be pointing to the left of your target.
This may be the 3rd technique on our list, but it is the first one you should try.
If you asked a professional golfer how to hit a fade we bet their first piece of advice would be to “open your stance”.
#4: See the Fade
Golf is a mental game. To learn how to hit a fade you need to be able to visualize it. You need to see the ball curving to the right.
Stand behind the ball. Pick your aim point that should be 10 yards left of your final target. Visualize the ball starting on that line and slowly curving to the target.
Once you see the fade in your mind, swing the club and make it happen.
This is the exact approach used by PGA tour professional Dustin Johnson. He had always played a rolling draw but decided a fade would be more consistent.
Dustin showed up at a tournament and was hitting a fade on every shot. Reporters asked him how he made the change to his swing.
His answer was simple. He said, “well, I just decided to hit a fade”.
Very few golfers have Dustin’s talent, but it might be this simple for you. See the fade in your mind and make it happen.
#5: Outside In
From a golf swing perspective, what is required to hit a fade? How do you make the ball curve in that direction?
You need your swing to go from the outside in. Golfers also describe it as “swinging to the left”. Swing left and your ball will curve right.
This is where the golf term “cut” comes from – you cut across the ball at impact to create the fade.
#6: Read Your Divot
When learning to hit a fade your golf divot can be your report card. The direction of your divot will tell you if you make a “fade swing”.
When you practice hitting a fade use your 7-iron. After each shot, inspect your divot. Which direction does it point?
If your divot points to the left of your target, you successfully swung outside-in. That swing should have produced a fade.
If it didn’t, go back to #1 – #4 on our list of techniques, because something else likely needs adjusting.
Conversely, if your divot is straight or pointing to the right of your target, you did not execute the “outside-in” swing motion.
Your divot can be your golf instructor. It can tell you what you did right or wrong.
If you can get your divots to consistently point to the left of your target you have learned how to hit a fade.