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Fade vs Draw in Golf – Differences & Tips on How to Hit Them

If you could pick one shot between a fade vs draw to play consistently, which would it be?

Most amateurs would likely answer a draw, but in this post, I explain why it’s important to learn both shapes. And detail how you play a fade and draw.

After reading this post, you will know when you should induce a draw or fade. I also guide you through the differences in shape of these shots and the alignment, ball position, clubface angle and club path require to hit them.

Fade vs Draw in Golf (Key Takeaways)

The difference between a fade and a draw may only be a few yards, but you won’t have much success pulling off the shots you want to hit without the right adjustments in your game.

Here are the major fade vs draw takeaways that you need to understand before hitting a shot.

  • A fade shot requires a slightly steeper path with a more open clubface; changes from square to open are subtle when hitting a fade, or the end result will be a slice.
  • A draw shot requires a slightly more shallow path and a slightly closed clubface.
  • Make slight adjustments to your setup and stance to get the fade vs draw ball flight in your golf swing.
  • Your wrists help to control the clubface; if your wrist are in the correct position, you will have a much easier time controlling your ball flight.
  • A pre-shot routine should help you ensure you have the right setup and mindset to pull off the fade or draw shot.

Overview of a Fade versus Draw

A fade and draw are two controlled shot shapes that golfers induce to avoid hazards and trees, and enhance control from tee to green. A fade starts left of the intended target and curves right closer toward the intended landing zone.

Conversely, a draw delivers the opposite shape, meaning your ball starts right of the target, and gently curves left. Golfers may hit a draw to take trouble out of play or to cut the corner on dogleg holes, leaving an easier approach in.

ball flight direction graph

What is a Fade in Golf?

A fade golf shot curves from left to right for right-handers in a controlled manner. A fade is my strongest shot and I use it on most shots, because it brings consistency to my game.

However, it offers the most value on a hole that doglegs right, as my ball shape allows me to cut corners and reduce the hole length.

Pros of Hitting a Cut Shot

A fade shot is excellent for holes that dogleg right, or when you have a tree or water in your direct line. You can set up and shape the ball around the obstacle and still leave yourself in a favorable spot for your next shot.

In addition, I find a fade shot works exceptionally in left to right winds, as I can play with the wind, and optimize my distance control.

Cons of Hitting a Fade

Hitting a fade on a hole that doglegs to the left is challenging as the shape brings trees and water into play.

Naturally, a left shaping dogleg is ideal for left hand golfers looking to hit a fade. I also find that the open clubface produces an elevated launch, which is never welcome in windy conditions, as it costs me distance.

When Should You Play a Fade?

A fade suits shots where you wish to take the right side of the hole out of play, or you have a tree directly in your line.

In addition, you can shorten the length of a hole by playing a fade on a right shaping dogleg. By using the curve you can cut the corner and leave yourself a short approach shot.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

How do You Play a Fade?

1. Open Your Stance

When setting up for a fade, ensure your body is open to the intended target. If you’re right handed like I am, that sees your feet and shoulders pointing to the left of your desired landing zone.

Opening your stance accounts for the curve on the ball and promotes an inwards club path through impact. This combination sees your ball start to the left and curve right to the target.

2. Cup Your Wrists

The ultimate goal with a fade is to get your clubface open to swing path at impact. You need to cup your wrists on the downswing, which will steep your swing and open your clubface leading into contact.

A steeper swing causes your club to follow an inside path through contact, with the clubface open to the line. The combination starts your ball left of the target and fades right towards the intended target.

Using the HackMotion wrist sensor, I manage to gauge how much extension I create throughout the swing. When I hit a fade, I tend to over extend my wrists prior to impact, before extending them through impact.

You can use the sensor to develop greater clubface control leading into impact, ensuring you deliver the correct path and clubface angle for a fade.

3. Swing Inside

The next step is to induce an inside swing path through impact, which will start your golf ball left of the target. If you swing on an outside path with your face open to the target your ball will start and finish right of your intended line.

Padraig Harrington exhibits a prime example of the ideal swing path for a fade. He doesn’t overdo it, he only swings 1 to 2 degrees inside, making it barely noticeable to the naked eye, but the outcome is a 7 to 8 yard fade.

The three time major champ suggests swinging a club without striking a ball, and work on hitting your lead thigh on the follow through. This action teaches you the motion of swinging on an inside path through contact, despite being exaggerated.

4. Open the Clubface to the Path

The last step to play a fade is to get your clubface open to your path at impact. When your clubface is open to an inside path at impact, it should align with your intended target, be it the fairway or flagstick.

As your club swings inside through contact, the open clubface helps you generate the curve required to shape your ball from left to right.

What is a Draw in Golf?

A draw in golf is a controlled shot that curves from right to left, opposite to a fade. A consistent draw is a highly prized shape for amateur golfers, but I find it serves a purpose in certain scenarios.

As a right hander, a draw is ideal for me on holes that dogleg left, helping me shorten the hole, by cutting the corner. In addition, I use a draw when a tree is in front of me and I can’t launch the ball left of it and produce a fade.

fade vs draw ball flight

Pros of Hitting a Draw Shot

Besides the common advantage on a right dogleg, I find the draw ideal for generating, lower, controlled golf ball flight. The back of center ball position prompts me to strike the golf ball with a delofted clubface, causing a lower launch.

I welcomed the lower launch when I lived in the windy city of Cape Town, as the lower launch reduced the impact of the breeze, for improved consistency.

Cons of Hitting a Draw

A draw is not suited to a right dogleg or shots where water, trees and other obstacles run down the right of the hole. However, the biggest downside of a draw is the difficulty in consistently executing it.

Keep reading to learn how to play a controlled draw.

When Should You Play a Draw?

You should consider inducing a draw when you’re playing a hole that doglegs to the left, or when a tree is in your line. A Draw still gives you a shot at escaping trouble and getting the ball onto the green.

In my experience, a draw also proved helpful in gale force winds, because striking the ball with a delofted clubface prompted a lower launch and flight.

golf player on golf course hitting with iron

How do You Play a Draw?

1. Close Your Stance

The first step in generating a draw shot is to close your stance relative to your intended landing zone. A closed stance means your feet and shoulders are pointing to the right of your target for right handers, and left for lefties.

You do this to account for the right to left curve on your ball, leaving room for it to draw back to your target. If you aim parallel to your target and induce a draw, the ball will curve left away from the mark.

2. Position Ball Back in Your Stance

Next, I suggest positioning the ball back of center in your stance. I’ve found adjusting this simple adjustment helps me send my club on an outwards path, striking the ball with a closed and delofted clubface.

3. Bow Your Wrist

Bowing or flexing your wrist prior to impact is often overlooked in a draw, but it is essential to your plane, angle of attack and club path. Inducing wrist flexion before reaching the strike zone enables you to shallow the shaft and close the clubface, relative to your path.

The shallow angle of attack gets you into a position to swing outwards through impact, while keeping the clubface closed to the path.

4. Swing Outside

Opposite to a fade where you swing on an inside line, a draw demands an outside path through impact. Sending your club face outwards causes you to launch the ball to the right of the right of the intended target leaving space for it to curve left back towards your target.

In addition, by swinging outside, it helps you keep your clubface close to your club path through impact. Although closed to your swing path, your clubface should sit squarely in line with your intended target, be it the fairway or the flagstick.

5. Clubface Square to the Target Line

The final step in inducing a draw is to keep your clubface square to the target line at impact. If you’re aiming for the flagstick, keep your clubface square to the flagstick.

Many suggest you close your clubface for a draw, but the clubface remains neutral, it is only your path and alignment that changes.

Combining a square clubface with a closed stance, causes the clubface to sit marginally closed to your swing path at impact. When you add in an outwards swing path, your square to the target face now becomes closed to the path enabling you to induce right to left curve on the ball for an optimal draw.

golfer wearing hackmotion wrist sensor and holding golf club

Difference between Fade and Draw in Golf

There are a few key differences between the fade and draw in golf. Make sure you have these down to hit the shot you want.


Golfers who hit a draw usually have a stronger grip than players hitting a fade. With a strong grip, you will have an easier time turning the clubface over and squaring it at impact. When hitting a fade, go ahead and weaken your grip a little.

Keep grip pressure constant regardless of the shot you are hitting.


The first noticeable difference in a fade versus draw shot is the setup of your stance. A draw requires a closed stance, which sees your feet and shoulders aiming to the right of your target mark.

Conversely, a fade demands an open stance accounting for the left-to-right curve.

Swing Path

A fade shot may require a slightly more outside in path. However, the clubface angle at impact will be more important than swing path when looking at fade vs. draw. If your clubpath gets too far off, the fade can easily turn into a slice.

Wrist Angle

The final difference between a fade and a draw is the clubface angle at contact, determined by your wrist angle. A lead wrist with too much extension causes an open clubface, and your golf ball will fade.

For a draw shot, you will need a bit more flex in your lead wrist at impact (more bowing instead of cupping or flipping). Wearing a HackMotion will ensure that you have just enough flex to hit a slight draw, without it turning into a hook shot.

too much extension at impact position using HackMotion app

Use HackMotion to Hit a Draw or Fade

You can use the HackMotion swing analyzer to help you control your fade and draw shots. With the wrist being directly tied to the angle of the clubface, you can follow these steps to learn to hit a draw or fade with HackMotion.

  1. Collect baseline data for a straight shot, hit 10 to 15 shots, and see what your wrist angles look like at impact and the top of your backswing.
  2. Decide if you want to hit a fade or a draw (fade needs a little more extension in the lead wrist, draw needs less).
  3. Set the HackMotion audio feedback to let you know you are in the proper range for hitting a draw or fade.
  4. Compare data to the original straight shot to make sure you are moving your wrists in the right direction to hit the types of shots you need.
Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?


Is a fade easier to hit than a draw?

Yes, a fade is easier to hit than a draw, because amateurs often produce excess wrist extension in the lead wrist on the downswing and leave the clubface open.

In addition, the average golfer struggles to flex their wrists through impact and close the clubface relative to the swing path to induce a draw.

Does hitting a fade or draw cost distance?

No, hitting a fade or draw does not cost distance in normal conditions. I have hit some of my longest drives employing a power fade.

However, the reduced spin and low launch of a draw does deliver increased yardage in windy conditions.

Draw or fade vs straight shots?

A draw or fade improves your ability to take water, trees and bunkers out of play, by curving it around them. This suits mid and low handicappers seeking greater control on approach.

High handicappers should focus on straight shots for now, to work on accuracy, before shaping shots.

Do more pros hit a fade or draw?

Most pros hit a fade and draw depending on where their ball is positioned and the line to the target. Although pros may favor one shot over the other, the majority have the skill to produce both shapes.

The ability to hit both shots enables them to attack the green from most positions on the golf course, and cut the corner on doglegs.

How to stop an accidental draw or fade?

You stop an accidental draw by cupping your wrists on the downswing and opening the clubface slightly, to avoid generating a right to left curve.

Conversely, you prevent a fade, bowing your wrists prior to impact, which marginally closes and delofts the clubface, promoting straighter flight.

Should amateurs play both shots?

Yes, amateurs should play both shots as it increases your shot selection repertoire and enables you to position yourself optimally from tee to green.


Our review of a fade vs draw highlights the importance of knowing how to play each shot and when. Although there is a common misconception that a draw is a better shape, it doesn’t aid you on right doglegs, or when trees block your path to the right.

Ultimately, you should learn to play both these shots. The key to executing a fade and draw is your club path and clubface angle. Your wrists dictate 80% of your ball flight direction, and are key to a successful draw or fade.

Explore the HackMotion golf training aid to help you control your wrist angles to close or open the clubface at contact.

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