How much would learning how to hit a fade consistently help your game out?
Most golfers know the slice all too well but with a few tweaks, you can reshape your slice to a strong, power fade. Some of the best players in history chose a fade over a draw including Jack Nicklaus and now Dustin Johnson. Yes, he’s a freak athlete but he’s one of the longest hitters on tour and plays a left to right shot.
If you’re struggling with your slice or want a consistent shot pattern, look no further than power fade to help lower your scores.
Why You Need to Love A Power Fade
Most amateurs want to play a draw but if you’re like most and suffering from a slice already, it’s a big thing to overcome. On your way to learning how to hit a draw, work backward on the spectrum from slice to power fade, to straight (if there is such a shot in golf), and to hit a draw.
A power fade is defined as a ball starting left the of the target and fading back 3-10 yards depending on what club you are hitting. The power fade is such a great shot because it won’t get you into much trouble. Less trouble equals fewer penalty shots which equal a lower score for you!
So, why is the power fade such a reliable shot?
It requires less work from you and your swing. A power fade requires less timing and less wrist action. I’ve played with some great players who drew the ball and could shoot 69 one day and 83 the next day. The reason? Their swing was dependent on timing.
If you want to start lowering your scores and keep it in bounds start playing a power fade. Who cares if a draw is getting you 5-10 yards more distance. Would you rather hit it farther or score lower on a more consistent basis?
If this sounds good, keep reading so you can learn the fundamentals of how to hit a power fade.
How to Setup to Hit a Fade Consistently
First, to hit a fade you must have a slightly open clubface at impact. The more open the more left to right the ball will go (for right-handers). You simply can’t hit a power fade with a closed clubface that produces a pull or draw.
Here’s how to set up to hit the fade consistently:
How to Grip For a Fade
The first part of setting up to hit a fade consistently is to assess your grip. Here are the two most common ways to grip the club slightly different if you are trying to hit a fade:
- Grip the club as normal but apply more pressure with your left hand. This will help you not roll your wrists over (which produces a draw) and help you feel like you are holding off the club at impact.
- Rotate your right hand to the left. Normally, your right palm should be facing the target when gripping the club. But, if you want to hit a fade start by rolling your right hand to the left but don’t overdo it. By weakening your grip it makes it much easier to hit a fade and not roll your hands over.
Some coaches teach one thing while others teach another method. Try both and see what works best for your or even combine them.
Setup Position To Hit The Fade
Hitting a fade starts with the setup. Once you’re in a good starting position use these tips to turn a weak fade or slice into a power fade.
Begin first by moving slightly closer to the ball. You want to feel like you are crowding the ball ever so slightly. Once you’re “crowding” the ball, you will need to make sure you are aligned left of the target. Otherwise, if you start your ball at the target you’ll miss fairways and greens to the right all the time.
Next, adjust your ball position slightly forward in your stance. The amount depends on which club you are hitting. I want to repeat, this is a very minimal amount!
Lastly, you want to be very specific with your alignment. If you’re aimed right with an open clubface this can produce a big miss and even bigger scores. If you are setup correctly and have the right grip, all that you need to do is swing along the path of your feet and shoulders.
If you’re not sure if you’re aligned properly use an alignment rod or club on the range. Or, if you are playing have a friend check for you the next time you’re out on the course.
3 Ways to Easily Hit a Fade
Now that you are setup to hit the fade it’s time to do a few last minute checkups to make sure you can produce the shot on a consistent basis.
1. Check Your Equipment
This is simple but I had to include it or you could be doing everything right to hit a fade and fail over and over again. If your equipment isn’t helping you it’s hurting you!
Start by checking your woods and make sure they are at a neutral or fade setting. If you draw the ball a ton and want to hit the fade sometimes, switch the setting to a neutral position. If the clubface is closed at address, it’s going to make it difficult to produce a fade and could even create the dreaded double cross.
2. Use The Ball Flight Laws & Visualize the Shot
Remember, if you want to hit a fade your clubface must be slightly open at impact. As I discussed in the new ball flight laws, the clubface is much more important than your path to shape the ball left or right.
You want to be very specific on your pre-shot routine on picking a target to hit the fade. If you have a 9 iron it won’t be more than 2-4 yards. But a fairway wood or driver can be closer to 10. Make sure to commit to picking a target accordingly as alignment is critical.
Once you commit to a target, use your practice swings to feel like you are hitting a fade. Don’t practice an inside, wrist turning draw swing. This just confuses your mind on what shot you are trying to hit. Instead, practice your new grip, and rehearse the swing that will give you a slightly open face at impact.
3. The Easiest Way to Fade the Ball
The last part is making sure the clubface is open to the target. Most golfers think to hit the fade they need to manipulate the backswing to open the face. This only adds too many thoughts and decisions to your game during a round.
Instead, at address when gripping the club simply open the face slightly. The more you want to fade the ball, the more it should be open.
This allows you to not try and manipulate the swing and add unnecessary swing thoughts during the swing. Watch this video to make sure you are setting up your alignment and clubface accordingly.
Bonus: How to Hit the Big Cut
You’re human and bound to miss fairways. Sometimes you need to use your imagination and hit a big fade, maybe even a slice. Think of Sergio’s scissor cut with closed eyes at Medinah as this type of shot.
Start by using one to two more clubs than you normally would. If you’re moving the ball this much left to right you will lose some distance. Next, choose the right setup position depending on the shot you need to pull off. If you are hitting it high put it more in the front of your stance or hitting it low more middle to back.
On a massive cut, you will need to also create a more outside to inside swing path. On the swing, make sure to feel like you are limiting the release of the club through the shot. Imagine the heel of the club making contact first. Lastly, hold off the finish like Tiger has done so many times.
If done correctly, this will produce a big left to right shot that helps you save par or birdies and impress your playing partners.
If you can add the fade to your game you will consistently shoot lower scores. It will help you put the ball in play more often by hitting more fairways and greens.
The biggest part about hitting a fade consistently is setting up properly. Make sure your grip is adjusted, aligned left of the target, and committed to hitting the shot. Once you’re aimed properly, adjust the clubface slightly open and swing along the line of your body.
Here’s to hoping you can finally hit the power fade consistently. And, if you do need to hit the Sergio hero shot, don't pull a hammy running after it!