In golf a fade is the name of the trajectory that sees the ball starting inside of the target line after impact but curling out and finishing at the target. For right-handed players it means that the ball shoots left initially only to curl right while in the air and lands on target. In contrast to a slice a fade is not considered a golf shot error because the ball lands on the target even though the ball flight was not straight.
There are several situations where you would want to fade the ball instead of going for a straight shot. Some golfers have a natural fade swing (outside-in) and do well to manage the situation rather than fight it. Other times, you may need to curl the ball around a tree or a hazard in order to improve your odds of hitting the target. Otherwise, better players may choose to hit a fade in windy conditions, hoping to cancel out some of the wind’s effect on the ball flight. Finally, some hole locations are better attacked with a ball that lands softly on the the green and rolls to the right slightly.
Follow these steps in order to produce a fade. For the reverse ball flight, head over to our tips on how to hit a draw.
*Note that the fade tips below do in fact account for the “New Ball Flight Laws”
Close your Clubface so it Aims Left of Target Slightly
The first step while setting up for a fade is to position the club behind the ball correctly. You’ll want your clubface to be closed relative to the target, or in other words that it is aiming to the left of the target slightly. Indeed, in contrast to a straight shot a fade will see the ball starting left of the target and positioning your clubface aiming to the left will do the most to promote a ball that starts indeed left.
Open your Stance, so Clubface is Open to Stance
Now that your clubface is pointing to the left slightly we want to make sure that your swing doesn’t produce a straight shot into that direction. Indeed, hitting a straight shot left would amount to a pull and would see the ball missing left of the target. Instead, rotate your stance so that you open it relative to the target. Keep rotating until it is open enough that your clubface is now open to your stance. The setup you are looking for is one that sees your clubface closed to the target but open relative to your stance. This slight misalignment will produce a counter-clockwise spin that will take your ball from left to right.
Swing Along your Feet for an Outside-In Swing Path
Now that your feet and club are correctly positioned it’s time to start your swing. As you do make sure not to compensate for the fact that you are aimed left of the target. Indeed, don’t try to correct this alignment by taking your club too far inside for an inside-out swing. Instead, swing along your feet and body and let your setup position dictate the flight the ball takes. This swing will be of the outside-in variety and will produce a shot that spins from left to right.
A Fade will Fly Higher and Will Roll Less
Generally speaking, a fade will tend to travel on a higher trajectory and will roll less upon landing. These can be explained by the fact your setup position added effective loft to your club and shot. Indeed, opening the club relative to your stance and swing added a bit of loft to your club that produces a higher shot. And a higher shot lands more vertically than a lower one, leading to a smaller amount of roll.