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Golf Draw vs Fade: What Is It?

The sport of golf is a technical art, one which encompasses swing path, ball speed, spin rates, and ball curves. Precision golfers have perfected their golf ball swing by implementing two terms known as a fade shot and draw shot, along with club path trajectory. 

What are Draw Shots and Fade Shots?

Golf is an all-encompassing sport, one in which amateurs and professionals alike dive into a world of their own. For those familiar with golf, you probably already know the universal language which is unique to the game.

As an amateur golfer, you might be familiar with the general rules, but perhaps find yourself questioning the technical terms such as draw golf shot, power fade, or fairway curves. Learning these terms will not only make you feel one with professional golfers, but will enhance your overall golf swing, carry distance, and consistent shot shape. 

Draw shots and fade shots determine the rotation and curve of the ball while in flight. While a straight shot is often desired, golfers tend to intentionally adjust the curve of the ball flight.

A draw or a fade is determined for each individual by their dominant hand. For example, a right handed golfer will consider a draw shot one which goes from right to left. For the same golfer, a fade shot would enable the golf ball to curve from left to right. Opposite technicality would stand for left-handed golfers. 

Draw Shots

When taking tee shots, professional golfers first assess their surroundings, weather, bunkers, and yardage. In addition, these athletes determine their golf clubface prior to a swing.

Golfers who choose to draw shots typically want a slower spin loft in order to provide extra distance. This drive would be made by the club’s impact to the ball. Surprisingly, a draw is not created by the direction of the club itself. The clubface angle and clubface at impact makes the given trajectory. The square clubface on impact will need to be open, pointing to the right of your target.

When hitting a draw shot, a golfer’s body positioning also plays a major role in the size of the draw. The further to the right the individual stands with the club in position, the larger the draw is going to be. Create a fake target to the right of your actual target. Aim your feet and shoulders towards this fake target and take an intentional shot from there.

Fade Shots

While most professional golfers tend to take draw shots out of comfortability, there are instances, such as bunkers or a curved fairway, which may lead a golfer to take a fade golf shot. As the shot trajectory is determined by the opened or closed clubface, an experienced golfer will align their club intentionally for the most controlled shot.

Assuming the player is right handed, a fade shot will curve the golf ball from the golfer’s left to the right while in flight. A club in closed position will allow for a reversed curve at impact with a faster spin.

When choosing whether to make a draw or a fade shot, a lot depends on personal preference. A true straight shot is hard to come by, often due to environmental or course conditions. Using a controlled fade can be the difference in reaching an average distance with an amateur swing or a costly distance from comfortable players. 

Bad Shots

There is a big reason you do not see bad shots by professional golfers. Their shots are very calculated and they are careful to consider the state of the fairway, barriers, environmental concerns, and angle of the greens. 

Fairways can often have bunkers or open bodies of water. If these barriers are found to the left of the target with wind moving to the West, it is likely the golfer will overcompensate and start with an open faced right trajectory. In the event of strong winds to the East, the golfer may opt to take a draw shot to compete against the natural forces. 

Prior to a swing, professional golfers often consider all outside factors in addition to their grip, stance, body rotation, and type of golf club. Grip and stature will also need to be adjusted to the appropriate spin disposition. The club head size can also impact the type of drive and launch angle.

Pick Your Trajectory 

Pro golfers all have a favorite ball trajectory. They either like to make draw shots or fade shots. When these shots are elevated in precision, a draw will then be known as a slice and a fade will be referred to as a hook shot. Professionals make these natural drive curves look effortless when, in reality, it requires knowledge and careful planning!

Unless you are a professional golfer, you likely don’t have your entire hole by hole trajectory map, but that’s okay! If you’re lucky, you will create a draw or a fade shot by accident as hitting a straight shot is near impossible. 

In order to enhance your golf game and make intentional trajectories, it is imperative to study your ball’s path at impact compared to your target!

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