How To Hit Draws And Fades
Thanks to the shot tracing technology that has become such a pivotal aspect of the TV coverage, fans can now get a real sense of how the pros shape the ball. Even in the era of multi-layer urethane-covered balls that are harder to curve than those used by previous generations, there are still some shots that leave us viewers awestruck.
So, how can you learn to hit draws and fades and add another dimension to your game? The theory, at least, is actually quite straightforward.
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A lot of it comes down to the set-up. By making small alterations to your address position, you’ll be able to work through the nine different shot shapes – something made famous by Tiger Woods in his pomp.
These consist of high, low and medium-flighted shots that draw, fade and stay straight. But we’re going to focus only on draws and fades here.
Ultimately, it all comes down to the correlation of the face and path. Where the ball starts is dictated by where the clubface is pointing at impact, and the swing path relative to that will control the curvature.
How to hit a fade
It’s a shot that is seemingly becoming more and more popular among the world’s best who are happy to sacrifice a few yards for the added control. Even Rory McIlroy, who ascended to the top of the game by overpowering courses with his delightful draw, has started trying to hit fades under the tutelage of Pete Cowen.
For right-handed golfers, this means starting the ball left of target with an out-to-in swing path which is ‘more left’ than the clubface.
To achieve this, you’ll want to get your feet, knees, hips and shoulders aligned left at address. The club should also be aiming this way but you want it to be open relative to the rest of your body.
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When practising, use alignment sticks to make this process easier, placing one in front of your feet to inform your set-up and another pointing at your target. This will help you get into the proper address position and give you a visual aid to make sure you’re swinging out-to-in.
How to hit a draw
Believe it or not, in order to hit a draw, the opposite applies. To get the ball moving right-to-left through the air, you want the club to be working from the inside with a clubface that is open to the target but closed to the path.
Use your alignment sticks again to help get your body into position and aiming right, which will encourage the in-to-out swing direction required. With a clubface that is pointing right of your target but left of your body, the ball should draw nicely.
It’s not something you should take to the course until you’ve spent some time practising, but providing you trust the path, trust the position of the face and execute the shot confidently, the ball will draw. And likewise with the fade.
You won’t be able to see it on the big screen like the pros, but pulling off one of these shots exactly as intended is undoubtedly one of the best feelings in golf.