Watching professional golfers shape the golf ball seemingly will bring thoughts of shaping the golf ball during the next round.
However, it is not as easy as deciding to draw or fade the ball and then executing the shot. There is a science behind the ability, and it requires time on the practice grounds to work the golf ball at will.
The original belief was that the swing path determines the shot shape. At the same time, the latest information indicates that the clubface determines between 75% and 95% of the direction of the golf ball directly after impact, while the amount of curvature is determined by the swing path.
Entirely straight shots are nearly impossible to hit, with every shot showing some degree of curvature. This can be seen from the ball tracking on most of the professional tours.
Although the draw is the most sought-after shot shape, many professionals have adopted the fade as their preferred shot shape. This article will provide a few pointers that will enable golfers how to hit a fade.
How To Hit a Fade Like a Pro
What is a Fade?
Good ball strikers enjoy golf more than other golfers due to their ability to work the ball around obstacles and find a path to the green that seems to be non-existent to mere mortals.
Shaping the ball from left to right or right to left at a variety of heights is what makes professional players exceptional.
Let us look at the difference between a draw and a fade. A draw is when the golf ball moves from the open side, the direction that the golfer is facing at address, to the closed side, the direction that the golfer’s back is facing at the address. Right-handed golfers will hit the ball from right to left, while left-handed golfers will hit the golf ball left to right.
A fade has a similar ball trajectory to a slice, but it is much more controlled in the amount of curve that is placed on the ball. The curve of a fade is generally between 3 and 10 yards.
Another difference between a draw and a fade is the type of spin exerted on the golf ball. A draw tends to generate less backspin enabling the golf ball to run farther down the fairway, while a fade seems to create more backspin and stops quicker on the fairway.
The most important feature to enable shot shaping is a neutral swing path that does not favor a draw.
The position of the hands and the grip on the club does not change to enable a fade. The difference is the position of the clubface and not the way the club is held.
Ball position plays a significant role in the shot shape as it affects which phase of the swing contact is made.
A solid swing consists of an inside-out phase followed by an outside-in swing to complete the arc. A ball positioned in the center of the body is likely to be struck when the clubhead and swing path is the straightest. This leads to relatively straight shots.
Moving the ball slightly forward will change the impact zone to the outside-in swing path phase. A straight face often leads to a pull shot.
Opening the clubface enables the fade thus, the more open the clubface, the more curvature will be experienced. Care must be taken as this could easily lead to a slice.
The opposite applies when moving the ball back from the middle. This results in the impact zone being transferred to the downswing inside-out phase, thus resulting in a draw or a push.
The height of the ball of the turf plays another significant role in the ability to fade a golf ball. Golfers that prefer high draws place the ball higher on the tee moving the impact zone to the top end of the swing arc after the clubface has ample time to close.
Placing the ball lower brings the impact zone closer to the bottom of the arc, thus providing less opportunity to close the clubface. This is illustrated in the difficulty that most golfers have in avoiding a fade when hitting the driver off the deck.
The alignment of the body plays another significant role in the ability to hit a fade. By pushing the trailing foot behind the body makes it near impossible to hit a fade as it exaggerates the inside-out swing path.
A fade requires an open stance with the leading foot further back than the trailing foot. This enables the golfer to swing the clubhead on an outside-in swing path. The alignment process is started by aligning the feet, hips, and shoulder more toward the direction that the ball is intended to travel.
The position of the open clubface will create a sidespin to move the golf ball from its impact position towards the fairway.
No changes to the normal swing are required at the open stance, and the outside-in swing path will do all the work. Tempo and rhythm remain as per the normal swing. The risk is that the golfer may feel the need to exaggerate the outside-in swing path, thus leading to a dreaded slice.
Do You Lose Distance With a Fade?
Some golfers believe that they will lose distance when hitting a fade.
If all the factors involved in determining the distance, such as launch angle, ball speed, and spin rate, remain the same, there should be no loss in distance. However, research indicates that a draw can generate between five yards and ten yards more distance than a fade.
This could be ascribed to a draw creating less backspin than a fade. The additional spin creates a higher ball flight on a fade, increasing the downward angle and therefore less rollout.
Some tips to fade like a pro
Professional golfers have ingrained their swings, and the games are more about feel than mechanics. However, there are some basics that they adhere to when having have refined their swing to shaping a shot, whether it be a high draw or a high fade.
Most professional golfers can shape the golf ball in the 3×3 dimension chart. The vertical dimensions (ball trajectory) are low, medium, and high shots, while the horizontal dimensions (curvature) are determined by the shot shape being straight, draw, or fade.
Horizontal dimensions are affected by body alignment. An open stance results in a fade, while a closed stance results in a draw.
A high ball trajectory requires the golfer to tilt the shoulders away from the target, while a lower ball trajectory requires more tilt towards the target.
The most sought-after shot shape is a draw however, the number of professional golfers adopting a fade is increasing as they can exercise more distance control and are unlikely to run out of fairway or off the back of the green.
Most amateur golfers struggle to hit a consistent draw and tend to fade or slice the ball.
Any golfer can hit a controlled fade with some practice and perseverance by following the steps as set out above.
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