What Is The Difference Between a Draw and Fade?
If you have played a decent amount of golf and you’ve heard other golfers talk about a draw or a fade you may be wondering what is the difference between a draw and fade. We will get into each in more detail as well as tips to help you create a draw or a fade but let’s first differentiate between draws and fades vs. hooks and slices. The main difference is that when most golfers work the trajectory of their golf ball, whether it be a drive off the tee, an iron shot, or even a punch shot around a tree out of the woods, is the extremity of the shot. A hook or slice is a more extreme version of a draw or fade. In most cases a draw or fade is a controlled, intentional shot whereas a hook or slice is more extreme and usually comes unintentionally from an errant swing that causes a miss that most of us dread.
So first off let’s get the basics out of the way. A hook or a draw is a golf shot that goes from right to left, whereas a fade or slice is a shot that goes from left to right. This applies to right-handed golfers, if you’re a left-handed golfer please reverse all techniques within this article. Slices which are one of the common problems that golfers face is a shot that can hit those white out-of-bounds stake at the far right of the fairway. There are many things that can be said about correcting a slice but that’s an entirely new topic.
So What Exactly is a Fade?
Let’s start with hitting a fade, what it means, and how exactly to hit a fade. A fade is a golf shot that travels slightly from left to right. In almost all cases a fade is the best shot to control, not only with a driver but more importantly with an iron shot. Why you ask? It’s because a fade typically has a higher trajectory than a draw or hook and if you’re hitting one of your irons from the fairway that needs to have enough backspin to stop quickly on the green a fade is a much better shot trajectory. There are a lot of PGA Tour Professionals that swear by the 5 yard fade. The 5 yard fade can be incredibly powerful and can truly help you dial in your game especially on your long to mid-iron shots towards the green.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can talk to a fade or slice but you can’t talk to a draw or hook?” That basically means that when you hit a fade or slice it has a much higher trajectory and stays in the air longer than hook would. So when you’re yelling at your ball to stop going right you have a lot more time, where as a snap hook would already be on the ground and rolling rigorously to the left. Again the point is a fade can often give you more control and it can be easier for the majority of golfers to control a 5 yard fade as opposed to a draw that only draws 5 yards.
So how do you hit the perfect 5 yard fade?
There are several techniques you can use to make this happen but it’s important to not only practice it on the driving range first but to also test each different technique before applying it on the golf course so you know what to expect. One of the easiest ways to hit a fade, is to open your stance at setup. This creates a swing path that is only slightly more outside-in. The key is to make sure you test your swing to the point so you know exactly what adjustments you need to make to your stance that will ultimately affect your final shot trajectory.
Another technique or swing thought you can use to help create a fade is holding through impact. If you’re wondering exactly what that means, let’s explain it further. Throughout your golf swing when your swinging through impact your wrists break naturally and the golf club goes from an open position to a closed position after impact. If you can control your wrists so that you do not let your wrists close as quickly through impact it can also help you create that perfect fade that you are trying to hit. You can see in the image above how the golfer is trying to delay his wrists from breaking through impact. Again this is a technique or swing thought that takes practice and testing to perfect, if you overdo it, your shot can turn into a straight push to the right or a larger fade or slice than you are looking for.
What is a Draw and How Do You Hit a Draw?
A draw golf shot travels from right to left, a draw is controlled and typically an intentional shot. In most cases a draw, especially with a driver, can create more distance as draws usually have less backspin and will fly with a lower trajectory and roll out longer than a fade or slice would. There are some PGA Tour professionals that swear by hitting a small draw off the to create more distance, and even though that may be the case, they also know how to hit fade when needed.
So how exactly do we hit a draw? Obviously there are many ways between certain swing techniques and swing thoughts but we’ll share the most obvious right now. The first and easiest is the opposite of hitting a fade. At setup slightly close your stance, this will help create an inside-out swing. You can see in the image below where the yellow lines are pointing to the target and red line shows a closed stance. Along with that, make sure to keep your grip loose so that through impact you release the club easily and quickly which will help the face go from open to close through impact. A controlled draw compared to a controlled fade can sometimes be a harder shot to hit. It certainly pertains on each golfer’s individual swing but with practice and testing on the driving range you can learn each movement and commit them to memory or muscle memory so when it comes time hit that particular shot on the course you have already mastered it.
The next and relatively easy way to hit a draw is by slightly adjusting your grip. To hit a draw you will want a strong grip, which basically means that you’ll see more of the top of your left-hand and less of the top of your right hand. This helps you to hit rotate the club-head through impact a bit quicker and hit that draw that you’re striving to hit. See the image below for an example of a stronger grip.
Hopefully after applying some of these easy tips you’ll be able to not only know the difference between a draw vs. fade but take this advice and apply it to your actual golf game. Learning and practicing some of these techniques can make a huge difference in your golf game, especially for those amateurs that are right around the point of consistently breaking 80. Not only can you apply these shots to hitting drives around doglegs or hitting out of the trees but you can also use them when you need to hit greens in specific regions, carry or avoid bunkers, etc. The uses for learning to a hit a draw vs. fade are infinite and I’m sure you can all think of situations when you said to yourself I wish I could that shot in this situation. Well now you not only know the difference between a draw and a fade, but have a few excellent techniques and swing thoughts to try, test, and practice until you’ve perfected them enough to where you feel comfortable applying them on the golf course or in tournament play.