- Understand the Ball Flight Laws
- Aim your stance line left
- Aim your club face at target
- Visualize the fade
- Swing aggressively
The fade is a great shot with the driver, as it is easy to control and allows the golfer to make an aggressive swing.
While many golfers might fear that the fade will become a slice, if done correctly, it won’t be a problem.
Many of the best golfers of all time played a fade with the driver. This includes Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan.
Also, many of today’s greats including Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson play a fade with the driver.
The fade with the driver is known for the consistency as many golfers that play a draw might end up fighting the hook in golf. The fade allows the golfer to have a reliable shot shape that they can count on under the most intense pressure.
How To Hit A Fade With Driver (5 Steps)
Update: As someone that hit 99% of my drives in a draw pattern, over the past seasons I have started to play the fade with my “bunt” driver. This is a driver that I hit less than full and use it as a “fairway finder.” I can sometimes hit this shot as many as 7-8 times per round. It is a wonderful shot and helped me reach the next level in my golf journey!
Step #1: Understand the ball flight laws
The basic idea is that the ball will start in the direction that the club face is pointing at impact. The clubface controls about 75% of where the ball will start.
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.
To hit a fade we need the clubface to be right of the swing path. Whether you have a pull swing swing or a push swing path, the club face should be to the right to get the ball to curve right.
Whether you prefer to hit a push fade or pull fade, you can adjust your alignment to hit the shot that fits your swing and your eyes. The great news about learning more about the ball flight laws is that you can make adjustments in a round or during practice to produce the shot that you need.
To develop a consistent shape in your shot pattern, you will attempt to build similar numbers with the majority of your golf swings. Some golfers always prefer to play one shaped shot, while others will hit the shot that best matches the hole.
Below, I will provide several examples that help you practice what way your ball will curve and get the general understanding of what is taking place. The goal is to eliminate the shot that starts and curves in a different direction then what you are intending to do.
If you can build a fade into your swing with the driver, you will have a consistent ball flight you can count on.
This will help eliminate big numbers from your scorecard.
Having this information will help you make the adjustments mid round or post round and not get stuck in the rabbit hole of swing corrections.
I provide three examples below, all which include a club face that is right and a path that is right. You can see how a slight variation in the difference between the face and the path can cause a ball to curve.
Related Post: When to hit a fade in golf (3 situations)
Ball Flight Laws: Scenario 1
Clubface: 3 degrees right
Swing Path: 3 degree right
The ball will start right of the target line (club face is 3 degree open or right) and fly straight since the clubface and the swing path are the same number of degrees open or right of the target line.
The end result is a push shot to the right. The ball will start right and stay right.
Ball Flight Laws: Scenario 2
Clubface: 3 degrees left
Swing Path: 5 degree left
The ball will start right of the target line (club face is 3 degree open or right) and curve away from the swing ptch, which means it will curve left.
The end result is a draw shot. The ball will curve a decent amount with these numbers.
This shot would be considered a pull fade.
Ball Flight Laws: Scenario 3
Clubface: 3 degrees right
Swing Path: 1 degree right
The ball will start right and fade to the right. This would be a similar shot to what Lee Trevino played most of his career…a push fade.
Step #2: Aim your stance line left
Now that you understand the ball flight laws, we can understand that the swing path must be to the left of the club face. One way we can make this happen is to slightly open our stance or aim slightly left with our feet and shoulders. This will get the path moving left of the clubface, assuming the clubface is still aimed down the target line.
If you check out some of the greats listed above, they will often be aimed slightly to the left. If you aim too far left, you could end up hitting a slice and losing distance.
One key item to point out is that we don’t need a major gap between the swing path and the clubface, but instead just enough to cause some slight fade on the ball.
Related Post: Golf draw vs fade (overview)
Step #3: Aim your clubface at the target
With a stance slightly left and a club face down the target line, your setup is being built to produce a swing path left of the clubface, which will produce left to right curve on the ball. You will want to hit some shots and determine just how much the ball is curving and then adjust your stance line or the aim of your clubface accordingly. Some things to check out in your ball flight:
- Where is the ball starting?
- Is the ball over-curving?
- Am I losing distance due to the fade?
If the ball is starting too far either direction, remember that hte ball will start relative to where the club is at impact.
If the ball is over-curving, you have too large of a gap between swing path and clubface. Make a minor adjustment on one of the two.
If you are losing distance, chances are the gap between the two is too large and you are slicing the ball.
The goal here is to read the ball flight and adjust your swing path and clubface accordingly. It will take some trial and error to find the right setup for your perfect fade with the driver.
Step #4: Visualize the fade
One of the best instructors at helping golfers work the ball either way is Shawn Clement.
He promotes finding a target well off in the distance and an intermediate target. You want to set up your feet and stance line to swing towards the target way off in the distance.
You will adjust your clubface to produce the shape that you want to hit. The golfer will swing along their stance line and send the ball flying towards the distanced target and then watch the ball fade or draw accordingly towards the final destination target.
The golfer is encouraged to visualize the shot they want to produce and keep the target in the distance in mind during the swing, sending the ball flying in that starting direction.
Related Post: When to hit a draw in golf (3 key situations)
Step #5: Swing aggressively
One of the major advantages of the fade with a driver is the ability to swing aggressively. You and to feel confident as you stand over the ball that you can let it fly. The best power hitters of all time played the fade for this very reason. So learn to swing fast and let the swing go.
If you set up properly the fade should naturally be built in as long as you don’t overdue a release or stop your body rotation causing your body to stall and your hands to flip.
Best Online Instructors For A Fade
I would highly recommend checking out Shawn Clement. His ability and system to help golfers hit the shape shot they desire is some of the best I have seen. I have implemented his visualization and target based approach to hit the shape shots I need on the golf course.
Get your setup right, keep yourself tension free and enjoy the game. Shawn Clement is rather impressive overall, but very special when it comes to shaping the shot.
Next Steps: Get out and practice
Of course before you try this approach during a round, it is essential to get ou and practice and see the ball moving from left to right. Remember, if it turns into a slice, you have too large of a gap between swing path and clubface and you should review the ball flight laws.
Start by getting the ball to move just 1-2 yards left to right then to the extreme and feel the difference between the two. This will help you build up the feel of what causes a slice and what causes a fade.
The next step at the driving range is to picture some boundaries (simulated practice) as if you were playing a round of golf and hitting a tee shot at a course you are familiar with. Use different markers on the course as the edge of a hole or fairway so you can visualize the shot as if you were on the course.
Go through your favorite course while at the driving range playing the simulated game and hit a variety of fade shaped shots to test your ability to take it to the course.
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:
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:
- Is a Golf Simulator Worth It?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator?
- What is the Best Golf Simulator?
- Golf Simulator Accessories?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for under $7000
- Top 11 Reasons to Buy a SkyTrak
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for Under $1000
- Why Build A Golf Simulator?
- What Space is Needed?
- Can A Golf Simulator Improve My Game?
- How Much Does A Golf Simulator Cost?
- Don’t Forget to Check out our 15 best golf swings of all time.