Fade vs Draw in Golf: The Differences and Tips for Each

In this guide, we’ll break down the difference between a draw vs fade, cover the benefits of shaping golf shots, and explain how you can hit both shot shapes.

Covered in this guide:

Draw vs Fade

Both “draw” and “fade” golf shots put slight sidespin on the ball, causing the shot to finish slightly off-center. While too much sidespin on a shot is usually bad, the slight side-to-side movement of draw and fade shots is often optimal or better than hitting it straight.

Golfers may find that their “natural” swing has a draw or fade shape to it, but many advanced golfers can purposefully shape these shots at will.

The major difference between draw vs fade shots is the direction the ball travels laterally. For right-handed golfers, a draw golf shot will travel slightly right-to-left, while a fade will travel slightly left-to-right.

The Benefits of Shot Shaping

Shaping your shot can have benefits both from the tee box and when hitting approach shots.

First, let’s take a look at the benefits of shaping your tee shot.

On a “dogleg left” hole, a draw is often the optimal shot shape. A draw can allow you to get closer to the pin by curving your ball around the leftward bend.

Golf Dogleg Left Hole Illistration In most situations, if you fail to hit a draw and instead hit the ball straight, you’ll still be on the fairway, albeit further from the pin. In the same situation, a fade is likely to put your ball in the rough right of the fairway.

Draws and fades can also be useful for increasing your chances of avoiding hazards along the fairway.

Next, let’s consider the benefits of shaping your approach shot onto the green.

Golf Fade Shot Example on Green With Pin Short-Sided on Right of Green For this example, the hole placement is on the short and right side of the green past a bunker.

The safe play with a straight shot is to aim for the center of the green to avoid coming up short in the bunker or going off the back of the green. However, if you can fade your shot, you can get closer to the pin while mostly avoiding danger

Fading and drawing the ball also puts more overall spin on it, which helps prevent the ball from rolling off the green.

Playing to Your Shot Shape

You likely find yourself either fading or drawing the golf ball on some of your shots without even trying. No golfer can hit the ball perfectly straight every shot.

Between drawing and fading, it’s more common for golfers to fade the ball naturally.

If your shots either go straight or fade/draw, that’s fine or even a positive! You can play around your “misses” to the right or left.

If you sometimes fade the ball, aim your shots where both a straight shot or fade will result in an easy followup shot. In the previous example, you’d want to aim for the center of the green. If you hit straight, you’ll be safely in the center of the green, but a faded shot will land closer to the hole.

If you regularly tend to spin the ball too much to the right (a slice), you may want to aim even more to the left.

While drawing OR fading shots naturally is fine, you want to avoid doing both randomly. If you miss to the right and left, there’s usually nowhere safe to aim.

If you regularly miss to both sides or regularly slice or hook (and/or push/pull) the ball, you should probably improve your consistency before trying to learn how to hit a draw or a fade.

What is a Fade in Golf?

A “fade” is a golf shot that travels slightly left-to-right. A ball fades due to the spin placed on the ball from the clubface being slightly open relative to the swing path.

It’s important to note that while the clubface is open relative to the swing path, it’s NOT open relative to the target line (and may even be slightly closed). If the clubface is open relative to the target line at impact, you’re likely to slice your shot.

Does this all sound like “mumbo jumbo” nonsense? Well, I’ll make it simple.

How to Hit a Fade in Golf (Simple Method)

The simple way to hit a fade in golf:

  1. Aim the clubface at your target (or very slightly closed vs your target).
  2. Open your body relative to the target (left of your target). This means your front foot may be a bit more open (pointed slightly more forward than directly in front of you) and a line from your right toe to your left toe would point left of your target.
  3. Swing along the path of your body while keeping the clubface pointed at your target at impact.

What is a Draw in Golf?

A draw is the opposite of a fade. A draw is a golf shot that moves slightly right-to-left due to the spin placed on the ball from the clubface being slightly closed relative to the swing path.

How to Hit a Draw in Golf (Simple Method)

The simple way to hit a draw in golf:

  1. Aim the clubface at your target (or slightly open relative to your target).
  2. Close your body relative to the target (body right of your target). A line from your back foot to your front foot would be pointing left of your target.
  3. Swing along the path of your body while ensuring the clubface is aimed at your target at impact.

You may also find it a bit easier if you place the ball slightly further back in your stance.