What Is A Fade In Golf? How To Hit This Shot And Improve

There are several types of shots in the game of golf, but most types of golf shots can be categorized as follows:

  • ​Tee
  • ​Fairway
  • ​Bunker
  • ​Shank
  • Top
  • Fat
  • ​Draw
  • Flop
  • ​Punch
  • ​Chip
  • ​Layout-Put
  • ​Putt
  • Approach
  • Drive
  • ​Fade

It can be challenging to try and learn all the shots simultaneously. Let’s zone in on the fade shot by learning what the fade shot is, how to hit one, and how to improve upon it!

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These golf terms, according to the official Rules of Golf, may help you to absorb the information presented in this article to visualize better the adjustments you need to make to learn the fade shot and improve upon it.

​Addressing the Ball



​Trail Foot and Shoulder

​Lead Foot and Shoulder



Proper Golf Stance

Woman playing golf demonstrating what is a fade in golf

Part of taking a precise shot is first to ensure you are in a proper stance of golf. An adequate stance includes:

  • ​The position of the ball (should be in the center of your stance, or slightly forward)
  • ​Setting your toes (your trail foot (right) should be perpendicular to your imaginary line leading toward your target, while your lead foot (left) should be flared out 20 degrees toward the target.)
  • ​Your distance from the ball (hang your arms down, comfortably loose. If your arms are too close to your body, you are standing too close to the ball. If your arms reach out in front of you, you are too far from the ball.)
  • ​The width of your stance (which should be shoulder-width apart)
  • ​How you distribute your weight (evenly distribute your weight between your front and back foot)

How to Control Your Golf Ball

Guy holding a titleist golf ball

Golf ball control is one of the biggest misconceptions about golf out there. Much like many other professional sports, people can believe that pro-golfers have some hidden power over the ball. When, in reality, pro-golfers are simply well-rehearsed in how to control their golf ball that compliments their particular style of playing.

In other words, pro-golfers find their best shot that they are comfortable with and stick to it. What does this mean? It means that you don’t need to know every single shot at any given time; you just need to know your shot. 

You can control your ball by learning your shot. Instead of devoting your practice time to working the ball in every way possible, and how to control the ball in general, focus on learning that one shot that compliments your style. 

However, having said that, when there is any wind, trees, or other natural barriers your shot may require adjustments. You can make these slight adjustments in the event your shot is compromised by outside factors:

  • ​Less wrist hinge for lower trajectory, and more wrist for higher path
  • ​Forward your shoulder high for higher trajectory, and tilt lower for a lower trajectory
  • ​Grip down to lower the ball trajectory, and grip up to raise the ball trajectory
  • ​Place the ball position back to lower the path and place the ball position forward to increase trajectory

What is a Fade Shot?

A fade shot in the game of golf is when the golf ball, during its flight, curves slightly to the right (for right-handed golfers) or curves to the left (for left-handed golfers). The fade shot increases the spin speed while limiting distance.

Utilize fade shots when:

  • ​There is a hazard to play around
  • ​You need to take distance off the shot
  • ​The ball needs to land softer
  • ​The ball needs to follow a contour of a hole

Typically, fade shots are made intentionally but can also happen as a result of a mishit. Due to the level of ball control, the fade shot is used by pro-golfers as a favorite.  

How to Hit a Fade Shot 

The benefit of using the fade shot is that it will send your ball higher into the air than what is considered normal, but once it hits the ground, it will stop quicker than usual. The fade shot is thus regarded, consequently, as one of the more controlled shots. Furthermore, the fade shot is considered organically easier than its counterpart (the draw shot).

However, note that although the trajectory is much higher than usual, the fade shot won’t carry your golf ball far.

To swing a fade shot, place your body ahead of the club. First, you will need to set up your position:

  • ​Have a “weak” grip. To weaken your grip (for right-handed golfers), rotate your hands slightly counter-clockwise on the club until you see more of your knuckles on your right hand.
  • ​You need to take distance off the shot
  • ​Open your hips and shoulders toward the target.
  • ​Open your clubface by turning the club so that the club toe points away from your front foot.
  • ​Aim your feet toward the target.
  • ​Imagine a line from your ball to the target.
  • ​Find a marker a few feet in front of the golf ball that’s on the imaginary line.
  • ​Set the face of the golf club square to the golf ball toward the selected marker.
  • ​Align your heels to the left of your target (for right-handed golfers), while keeping the clubhead and alignment aimed along the imaginary line.

Then, to hit the fade shot:

  • ​Swing naturally (along your body line)
  • ​Don’t swing along the target line
  • ​Aim for the 2 o’clock position of the ball

The golf ball should start left of the target, but should then naturally “fade” to the right toward the target.

Tips to Improve Your Fade Shot

Although most golfers tend to aim to the left of the target to pull off a fade shot, this can cause an inconsistent fade shot (especially when using wood and iron clubs instead of wedges). Instead,

Don’t just hit the ball only based on the fade shot theory. Before hitting the ball, envision what you want the ball to do from the time the ball is hit to when the ball lands. Having this clear idea will assist your body in adjusting to the proper stance.

These are a few typical mistakes made when attempting a fade shot:

  • ​Tightened arms will result in the club being too far over the top (loosen arms up!)
  • ​Tightened arms will result in the club being too far over the top (loosen arms up!)
  • ​Holding the club too tight might result in a pull shot, instead of the intended fade shot

Here are a few more tips to help you perfect your fade shot:

  • ​Grip the club as usual, but apply slightly more pressure with your left hand.
  • ​Move slightly closer to the ball (barely “overcrowding” the ball).
  • ​Switch your club setting to a neutral position.
  • ​Minimize the number of thoughts and decisions needed during the swing by keeping it simple.
  • ​The more you want the ball to fade the more open the club head should be.
  • ​On the swing, limit the release of the club through the shot (by imagining the heel of the club makes contact first).
  • ​Consistently set up correctly every time
  • ​Adjust your grip to the left of the target
  • ​Swing along the line of your body
  • ​Dip your lead (left) shoulder
  • ​Focus on making a better backswing by including upper-body rotation (turn enough so that your left shoulder dips down as previously mentioned)

In Conclusion 

Because the fade shot is one of the most controlled golf shots in the game and will assist you in the game when there are natural hazards or barriers, you may wish to strengthen your fade shot skills. 

To strengthen your fade shot skills, the timeless advice that “practice makes perfect” is applicable here. Although these tips can help you envision a proper stance and swing, only practice will make your fade shot close to perfection. 

So, get out onto the course and practice your fade shot! Every subsequent shot just might come easier.

​Featured Image Source: Pexels

Adam Jenkins

I’m certainly no expert on the game of golf, but I am someone who knows what it’s like to start out completely overwhelmed. From one beginner to the next, here's to a better golf game!

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