How To Hit A Fade In Golf (3 Tips)


Hitting a fade in golf has some major advantages.  

Being able to control the curve of the ball is one of the major fundamentals in the game of golf.  Being able to control your low point, your start line and curve and having enough speed are the three most important fundamentals of the game of golf.

There are typically two types of golfers:  

  • The golfer that always plays only one shape, for example a draw or a fade.  
  • The golfer that prefers to work the golf ball both ways. This golfer will often hit a fade or a draw depending on what is the best option for the shot they are faced with.

If you are someone seeking how to hit a fade you have come to the right place.  I will start with a dive into the ball flight laws before providing three tips to help you hit a fade.  It is important to understand the ball flight laws as it the tips then make more sense when attempting to create a reliable fade shot for your game.

How To Hit A Fade In Golf

The topics below include:

  • The Ball Flight Laws Explained
  • Advantages of The Fade
  • 3 Tips on How To Hit A Fade
  • How To Hit A Fade: Next Steps
  • How To Hit A Fade: Top Online Golf Teacher Recommendation
A fade is often the go to shot for the best golfers in the world on tight, narrow courses with plenty of trouble!

The Ball Flight Laws Explained

The basic idea is that the ball will start in the direction that the club face is pointing at impact. 

From there it will curve based on the swing path relative to the club face.  For example, if your club face is 2 degrees right and your path is 4 degrees right.  The ball will start right and curve left towards the target, which is away from the swing path direction.

If the face was 2 degrees left and your path is 4 degrees left, you will hit more of a fade.

There are some 9 potential shots in golf.

Resource: Golf Draw vs Fade (overview)

Ball Flight Laws and 9 Potential Shots in Golf

  • Pull
  • Pull Hook 
  • Pull Slice
  • Straight
  • Push 
  • Push Slice
  • Push Hook
  • Slice 
  • Hook

First check out this video for further explanation on the different types of shot and how they are related to ball flight laws.

Scenarios of Ball Flight Laws

These three scenarios below will result in the ball curving to the right, which is a fade for the right handed golfer.  The key is to ensure that a fade is only a slight curve to the right and doesn’t turn into a slice.  If the gap between the direction of the face and the direction of the swing path gets too large, the ball will tend to curve more significantly!

Ball Flight Laws: Scenario 1

Clubface: 3 degrees left

Swing Path: 5 degree left

The ball will start left of the target line (club face is 3 degree closed or left) and curve away from the swing path, which means it will curve right. 

The end result is a fade shot.  The ball will curve a decent amount with these numbers.

This shot would be considered a pull fade.

Ball Flight Laws: Scenario 2

Clubface: 3 degrees left

Swing Path: 10 degree left

The ball will start left of the target line (club face is 3 degree closed or open) and slice since there is a big gap between clubface and swing path.  The end result is a pull slice.  The ball will start left and curve hard to the right.

This is a shot that many amateurs struggle with.  They continue to aim further and further left.  The swing path keeps moving left and the face remains open.  The end result is a full slice.

Ball Flight Laws: Scenario 3

Clubface: 3 degrees right

Swing Path: 1 degree right

The ball will start right of the target and fade.  Many of the best players of all time hit a push fade.  You will often see them aimed left and hit the ball from the inside with a slight fade.  This is a premium shot to hit under pressure.  Many of the recent majors won by Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson feature them hitting power fades with the driver.  They were able to control their ball flight and keep the driver in play.

In summary, most golfers will either want to fucs on scenario 1 or 3 for the optimum fade shot in golf.  Scenario 2 is the sign of a weaker golfer who hits the big pull slice driver that often reduces distances rather significantly!

Resource: Are wiffle balls good for practice?

Advantages of the Fade

There are some major advantages of the fade.  They include:

  • Easier to control with the driver.
  • Lands soft with the irons.
  • The pull fade is a powerful swing that is repeatable.

Many professional golfers that first appear on tour that hit a draw with the driver and possess plenty of club head speed, will sometimes learn to hit the fade with the driver.  Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods often play their best golfer when they are hitting the power fade.  

The fade with the driver allows the golfer to go at the ball pretty hard and rely on that gentle fade that falls back towards the middle of the fairway.  Many US Opens have been won in recent history by the person that can hit the power fade with the driver, which allows them to maintain plenty of distance, but still remain somewhat accurate.

Some of the best iron players of all time, especially with the long irons, are those that play the slight fade with the irons.  This is the shot that flies plenty high and then lands softly on the greens.  One of the best fade golfers of all time is Lee Trevino who had precision with every club in the bag by hitting a slight push fade time and time again.

Freddie, Justin and Tiger and all played the power fade with great success! Check out the three tips below to start hitting a reliable fade.

How To Hit A Fade In Golf: 3 Tips

Quick review, we want the path to be slightly left of the clubface.  Whether the club face is open to the target line or closed to the target line will impact the start line and the ball will curve away from the swing path.  For example, the 2 degree left club face with a 4 degree left swing path will start the ball left of the target line and then fade back towards the target.

The golfer that prefers to hit a push fade will aim left of the target, hit the ball from the inside (2-3 degree left path) with a face that is slightly right of that, but due to the open stance will start right and fade right.  This is one way to ensure you are maximizing your distance and staying shallow through the shot. 

The best two examples of the golfers that hit power push fades are Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.  

Let’s jump into the three tips.

Resource: Hitting irons for beginners (5 simple steps)

TIP #1: Aim Your Feet Line Left, but Keep Club Face Square

The number one easiest way to hit a fade is to aim your feet line to the left of the final destination of the ball, but keep your club face right down that target line.  Next, swing along your feet line, creating a slight leftward path that has an open face.  

Your golf ball will start slightly left of the target line and fade back towards the target.   The open stance and square face at setup helps produce ball flight numbers that produce a fade spin on the ball.

TIP #2: Aim Your Feet Line Left, but Swing Down the Target Line

If you aim far enough left, you can hit the shot that is more of a push fade.  The golfer will want to aim their stance line left, but stay through the shot and keep the path slightly in to out.  The key is to keep the club face right of the swing path.  

This takes some time to lock in and get your aiming points just right to be able to hit this shot.  The best example and the person to check out on this shot is Lee Trevino.  He was often aimed well left of the final destination of the ball and hit a push fade that split fairways in half!

TIP 3: Hold Off Your Release

The third option or tip is to set up just slightly left of the target line and aim your club face along your stance line.  Play with a slightly weaker grip and hold off the release, your body and arm action can still be aggressive; you just ensure your club face stays to the right of the swing path, producing a left to right spin. 

This shot is an excellent option when playing lower shots around trees from the rough or if you are used to hitting a draw and get nervous about the double cross shot in golf.

Build your feels on the range or at the course. If you can add a launch monitor (maybe more affordable than you thought) it can be a major game changer!

How To Hit A Fade: Next Steps

Head to the driving range or pull out your portable launch monitor. Here is a drill to work on hitting the reliable fade shot in golf:

  • Set up an alignment stick down the target line about 6-10 feet in front of you.
  • Set up a second alignment stick about 2-5 feet left of this first alignment stick.
  • Hit this game time and time again, adjusting your clubface and stance as needed.
  • Eventually, work to get the ball to curve back to the target, once you can get the ball started in the gap

The best way to monitor your start lines and curve of the ball is with a launch monitor.  I have used the SkyTrak to build my ability to work the ball both ways.  

Here are my top 3 recommend affordable golf launch monitors:

Having information such as the following is a game changer:

  • Carry Distance
  • Spin Rate
  • Ball Speed
  • Spin Axis (side spin reading)
  • Swing Path 

Resource: Is SkyTrak Worth It?

How To Hit A Fade: Top Online Golf Teacher Recommendation

If you want some further guidance, I would highly recommend checking out Shawn Clement.  He is rather impressive and has an unique teaching style to help golfers of all ability levels improve their game and their ability to work the ball both ways.  His positive energy is refreshing and worth checking out.  Here is a video on hitting the fade:

Closing Thoughts: My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  

I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

The ultimate training space/lab to work on your game, understand the numbers of your swing and shoot lower scores!

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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