How to Fade the Golf Ball

The fade is the shot that I recommend people hit. Why? There are a few reasons. The first is because it is easier to hit than a draw. This means that even when you aren’t playing your best you can usually get away with hitting a fade allowing you to still shoot good scores when you are not at your best.

Jack Nicklaus refers to the fade as his “bread and butter shot.” If the best player of all time makes a statement like this, it’s wise to take note of it.

Now, don’t get me wrong … a fade is not a shot that curves wildly from left to right. That type of shot is a slice. A fade is a shot that starts out slightly to the left and falls slightly to the right. A real fade is also a shot that is purposely hit instead of making this curvature from a flaw in your swing.

Another reason the fade is better to hit than a draw is because a fading shot stops faster on greens especially with long irons. This is because a fading shot has more backspin thus making it fly higher. The higher the shot, the faster it will stop.

Finally, most golf holes are designed for shots that curve from left to right. So hitting a fade will allow you to take advantage of how these holes are set up.

2 Types of Fades You Can Hit

There are 2 types of fading shots a person can hit. I refer to them as the “real fade” and an “over the top fade.” Even if you don’t want to hit a fade as your regular shot, there will be times when you need this shot example: curving the ball around a tree or a dog leg left. If you’re a player that hits a draw and are presented with a situation like this, do your best to make the necessary adjustments to your stance and body position (as outlined below) to hit the “real fade.”

The “Real Fade”

The real fade is a shot that curves from left to right approx. 5 yards with irons (8 irons and up) and approx. 10 yards with woods.

A real fade is performed from an open stance and body alignment. Positioning your body like this creates a swing path that is to the left of your target line. As the club makes contact with the ball, the face is square relative to the target line. This means that it is open relative to the path the club is swinging on. It is this open clubface position (relative to the swing path) that causes the ball to spin from left to right back to the target line.

So a real fade has you with an open stance and body alignment. The ball starts slightly left of the target and spins back to the target.

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How to Hit a “Real Fade”

The real fade is quite easy to hit if you understand what you are trying to do and make the necessary adjustments to your stance and body positioning. Let’s take a look at the different parts to the “real fade”:

Stance and Body Alignment

The first thing we have to look at is the stance and body alignment. With a real fade, the golfer has an open stance (to the left) and their body is also aligned open (to the left) of the target. This stance and body position is created on purpose by the golfer being aware of where a square alignment is then making the adjustment to the open position.

Path

From this open stance and body alignment, the path of the club swings to the left which starts the ball out to the left of the target. This is the critical part to developing a real fade.

*** IMPORTANT ***

With this shot, you are not starting the ball to the left because you have a swing flaw. You are starting the ball to the left because you aimed your whole body to the left. In other words, you are purposely trying to hit the ball left of your target. In trying to teach this shot to people this is where they go wrong. They aim there stance and body to the left yet they swing down the target line. REMEMBER: if you aim left, you have to swing left. The ball will spin right because of the clubface position.

Clubface

Once the golfer gets the ball starting to the left consistently, he/she has to put the spin on the ball to allow it to fade back to the target line. This spin on the ball is achieved by setting your clubface square to your target line. Remember … the swing path is to the left so if the clubface is square to the target line it is open to the swing path. This allows the ball to spin back to the target line thus producing the real fade.

So, who hits a real fade? Good players. This is because good players understand that to hit this shot they just have to make some minor adjustments to their normal set up position. In other words, they are telling themselves to hit this shot as opposed to hitting this shot because they have a flaw in their swing.

Just because better players hit this type of shot doesn’t mean that you can’t hit it. Again, it just takes a little understanding and some minor adjustments to your stance and body position.

Mistakes People Make:

1. The person doesn’t realize that they have to purposely swing to the left.

2. Hitting with the arms sends the club over the top.

3. Hitting hard tightens the wrists and holds the clubface too open through impact creating a slice.

4. They release the club too much which does not allow it to stay open thus they pull it left.

5. Grip may be in a weak position which may cause the ball to spin too much right.

6. Their grip is too strong which causes a pull as opposed to the fade.

So now you know how to hit a “real fade” it’s time to understand the over the top fade. If you want to fade the ball, you should really be doing a “real fade” but some people do have success with the over the top fade.

The “Over the Top Fade”

The “over the top” fade is a shot that is created because you have a flaw in your swing NOT because you are purposely trying to hit a slight fade. Now, I’m not saying this is a slice which would see the ball curving severely from left to right with the ball ending up well right of your intended target. The flaw I am talking about would see the ball move slightly from left to right with irons (approx. 5 yards) and a little more with woods (approx. 10 yards).

overtopfade

Here’s how an over the top fade is created:

Stance and Body Alignment

The over the top fade is performed from a square stance and body alignment or even a body alignment that is slightly closed. The swing path then swings left of this stance and body alignment which would be referred to as an over the top swing path.

Again, I’m not saying this is a huge slice. The ball with this shot is only fading back to the target line even though there is a flaw in their swing that sends the club over the top.

Clubface

The clubface in this over the top fade would be in a square position relative to the target line. If you couple this clubface position with a path that swings to the left, it means the face would be open relative to this swing path. This open clubface position causes the ball to spin back to the target line.

*** IMPORTANT ***

As you read the description of this shot, I really don’t want you to try to fade the ball this way. I’m simply making you aware of this shot so you can check to see if this is how you are making the ball fade. On the other hand, if you are a better player and consistently hit the ball this way then you may not want to change it. After all, it did work quite well for Bruce Lietzke.

To check and see if this is the shot you are hitting, just lay a club down parallel to your target and hit some balls. From this square stance, take note of where your ball starts. If it starts to the left then fades back to your target from a square stance and body alignment, you have an over the top fade.

Why Do You Hit The Over the Top Fade?

This over the top shot occurs by starting the downswing with the arms instead of the body. In doing so, the body tilts to the left in the initial stages of the downswing. This tilt to the left makes the club swing left. Because the clubface is square relative to the target line, it’s open relative to the stance and body alignment. This causes the ball to fade back to the target. In theory, these are the very same elements found in a slice it’s just that the club is not swinging severely over the top like a slice would be.

Conclusion

I truly hope you understand the 2 different fade shots you can hit and how to hit them. With a little practice you should be able to consistently hit the real fade and make this game a little easier.

Paul Wilson

Creator – Swing Machine Golf

Paul Wilson Golf School at Bear’s Best Las Vegas



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