How to Hit a Fade in Golf: Practical Tips for Powerful Shots

By Todd Mrowice

Golfer hits a fade with red arc

A fade is a gentle and controlled golf shot that, for right-handed players, moves from left to right through the air. It takes time to learn and perfect hitting a fade with the inherent risk that it can turn into a slice quite easily. Here’s a practical approach to hitting a fade so you can add it to your golf shot repertoire.

When to Hit a Fade

Hitting a fade can be an asset to your game, but it’s all about knowing the proper time to do so.

With a driver, the most logical spot to hit a fade, for right-handed players, is on holes that dogleg to the right. This allows you to play a shot shape that mirrors the shape of the hole. If you’re a long enough hitter, fading the ball around the dogleg corner can cut off your approach distance significantly.

With irons, when you want to hit a fade shot is mostly determined by pin position. The most common scenario that calls for a fade is when you face a pin that’s placed on the right side of the green. A faded iron shot allows you to aim to the left side or center of the green and allow the ball to fade in towards the pin.

Risk With a Fade

Hitting a fade requires some changes to your mechanics as well as your club position. These changes can easily turn your attempted fade into a nasty slice, which is a shot that curves uncontrollably to the right. Executing a fade properly takes time and practice

Hitting a Fade with Driver

Jimmy Ballard, who has taught hundreds of Tour pros, teaches hitting a fade in a few simple steps. First, Ballard explains that a fade is simply a straight shot that falls to the right, not a shot that curves or slices, noting that a curve is not controllable.

1. Tee your ball slightly lower than usual.

2. Aim the clubface of your driver toward your target.

3. Your ball position should be like normal, off of your inside left heel for right-handed players.

4. Drop your left foot back about 3-6 inches.

5. Most importantly, take your normal swing with your normal follow-through. The open stance that you create with dropping your foot back is the only adjustment your body needs.

Hitting a Fade with Irons

1. Line up about 10 yards left of your desired target.

2. Your ball position should be like normal, right out of the middle for short and mid-irons. If you have a long iron, such as a 4 or 5-iron, your ball position can be an inch or two forward of center.

3. Drop your left foot back about 3-6 inches.

4. Most importantly, take your normal swing with your normal follow-through.

Conclusion

Before trying to hit a fade out on the golf course, work on mastering the shot in practice and on the driving range. Once you're comfortable enough that you can shape the shot on-demand, and only then, begin hitting in on the course in the appropriate situations. Players who can execute a fade at a high level of success will be happy to have this shot in their bag.

About the Author

Todd Mrowice is a Staff Writer for GolfLink. His experience spans over 15 years and he has covered all aspects of the game including travel, products, business, and professional tours. Todd has also put his deep knowledge of golf equipment to work as a club fitter and in several marketing roles in the golf industry. He has a hole-in-one on his playing resume and appropriately gave his son the middle name “Ace.”