Draw Vs Fade - Simple Tips To Shape The Ball

Alex Elliott shares his simple tips that will help you shape the ball left and right with ease

PGA pro Alex Elliott shares his tips on how to draw and fade the ball at will
(Image credit: Future)

Learning how to hit draws and fades is a real advantage when it comes to going for tight flags and accessing parts of the fairway that will open up the hole for an attack. So, in this video and article, I'll run through some simple steps you can take to get the ball moving right and left on demand.

First things first, when practising, it's really important to set up some sort of feedback station like the one I'm utilising in the video above. All you need is two alignment sticks, with one lying on the ground pointing at your target, and the other stuck into the ground that you're going to shape the ball around.

How to hit a fade

Starting with the fade, what has to happen at impact to create this shape? Well, you need an out-to-in club path - so one that’s travelling a little left of target - and a face that’s open to the path but not pointing right or your target. 

It might sound a little complicated but a lot of the adjustments required can be made at address. First of all, making sure you know how to aim in golf is essential.  When trying to hit a fade, setting up a little left of your target will promote the desired path. 

Then, when you grip the club, hold it a little bit tighter than usual in the top two fingers - that is, the ring and little finger of your lead hand. The reason for this is that it will reduce how much the clubface closes through impact, meaning it is more likely to stay open to your path.

PGA pro Alex Elliott showing how to grip the club when trying to play a fade

Grip the club a little tighter with the ring and little fingers when trying to hit a fade

(Image credit: Future)

From there, swing away and try to get the ball starting left of target and fading. Don’t be afraid to get creative here and work on hitting some big shapes like Bubba Watson. It might sound daft but the number one rule when trying to hit a fade is to make sure you hit a fade, whether with more or less shape than you intended.

How to hit a draw

The draw is a shot that so many golfers wish they could hit. To add it to your arsenal, line your body up right of target to encourage the in-to-out path required and set the club up closed to your body but not pointing left of the alignment sticks. 

PGA pro Alex Elliott demonstrating how to set up to the ball when trying to hit a draw

Aim your body and club right of target when trying to hit a draw

(Image credit: Future)

Once you've done that, strengthening your grip slightly and altering your ball position so it's further back in your stance than normal will also help you create the desired shape as it will promote an earlier strike, making it easier to keep the path and face pointing going right.

And again, don’t be afraid to exaggerate in order to make sure you get the ball moving right to left. Finally, you can release the hands and arms naturally through impact as you don't have to worry about holding the face open.

Location: Mottram Hall 

Alex spent a great deal of time learning the game from fellow northwest golfer, Andrew Murray, who was a European Tour regular from 1979 to 1995. He spent three years on the European Tour caddying for Andrew’s son, Tom, before taking his PGA qualifications. His passion for the game and personality in front of the camera has helped him to create a thriving social media platform on Instagram and YouTube, where he offers a whole host of tips and advice to help viewers shoot lower scores.

Most significant influences on your teaching:

Mike Bender's book, 'Build The Swing Of A Lifetime', which I read during my PGA qualifications. He uses so many different tools to help students deliver the club better when hitting the golf ball. Andrew Murray, too. He helped form the way I interact with golfers and simplified what can be a complex game for a club golfer.

Advice for practice: 

I like to get students to work in sets of five golf balls – three drills shots to two course shots. The drill shots have no consequence, but with the two course shots, I ask the student to create a green or fairway and go through a full routine.

Greatest success story:

One of my students hadn’t played golf for ten years - he'd lost his love for the game. After watching my online Instagram and YouTube content, he came for several golf lessons and has now joined a local golf club. Knowing I've helped get someone back into golf... you can't beat that.