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How to Correct a Fade in Golf

Nobody likes seeing the ball disappear off to the right before finding its way into the trees. In fact, I would guess that the fade is the number one miss for most higher handicap golfers. As a shot, it can also tend to lack power and leave the ball not only out of position or worse but also far shorter than where you might like to see it. No wonder that so many golfers are looking to learn how to correct a fade in golf and replace it with that draw.

  • Should you really ‘correct’ a fade?
  • changing Ball flight takes time
  • It is all about face angle and path
  • Sometimes what you need is a lesson

There is something that you might like to think about though before you get rid of that fade forever. It isn’t necessarily a bad miss and many golfers have played some fantastic golf with a fade, all the way up to major winners. A lot of these golfers have lost their way trying to change a left to right ball flight for right to left.

When Correcting a Fade Makes you Worse!

Two examples of hugely different skill levels would be double Major champion Martin Kaymer and non double major champion…! Let’s take Martin first because he probably deserves it!

Kaymer was one of the most consistent players on the world circuit a decade ago. He is still an absolutely fantastic golfer. His iron player in particular was very solid. He played a lovely controlled fade and rarely had blow up holes on the course. Rumour has it that he decided to try to turn this gentle fade into a draw. The result was he dropped out of the top echelon of players completely and has, in all honesty, perhaps never really made it back right to the top table consistently.

As a far less-skilled golfer, I did something similar. I played a nice fade with my irons and hit them very well. However, much like most handicap golfers, I couldn’t get the idea that “good players hit a draw” out of my head. I worked hard on hitting this draw and the result was that my iron play became perhaps the worst part of my game for a while. And if you have ever seen me putt, that is saying something!

Should You Hit a Draw?

I did eventually find my way to a draw and now my stock iron shot is a high draw. All well and good, you might say, but not so fast. What have I really gained here? A draw doesn’t magically work better than a fade. It doesn’t automatically go further either, despite what you may have heard. And for many golfers, myself included, the occasional over draw hook is far more dangerous than my over fade ever was.

As Lee Trevino said “you can talk to a slice, but a hook won’t listen.”

Finally, I do actually find it quite hard to hit a fade now, even when I need to. That little five yard fall to the right into a green or round a tree or whatever is a hard shot for me to hit, when a few years ago it was my unthinking stock shot.

That being said, I don’t think a weak swipe that floats off to the right is any way to play great golf either, so what can you do about it?

The thing about correcting a fade is that so many golfers go about it in exactly the opposite way and actually turn this fade into a slice. When we see the ball heading off to the right (for a right-handed golfer) the temptation is to aim further left. The result turns to be that the ball heads even further right!

Ball Flight Depends on Face and Path

In order to change this into a more neutral ball flight and maybe even a draw if you really want, it is important to understand exactly what makes the ball go in a certain direction. Ball flight and path is essentially controlled by just two things. These are the direction that the face of the club is pointing and the path of the club itself. In general terms, face controls the starting direction of the ball. If the face is pointing right, the ball will go right and vice versa.

This doesn’t mean that all faders have their face pointing right, far from it. There are plenty of faders and slicers that will have the face somewhat closed and start the ball out on the left, knowing it will come back. This is also how some will try to fix this fade. They believe that by closing the face and pointing it left, the ball will stay left. Unfortunately, the science doesn’t actually work out this way. Closing down the face can accentuate that left/right movement, or even worse, add in the opposite miss, the famous double-cross. This is when the fader sees his ball start left and keep going even further.

Having been in the situation with my driver for a while, there is no worse feeling on the tee. Not being sure if your ball will go out-of-bounds left or right makes golf and extremely unpleasant experience, believe me!

The real key is actually the swing path. Or more precisely, what is known as face to path. We all hear how we “should” be swinging from the inside, but this isn’t necessarily true. What is going to influence things is how different the swing path is to the face angle.

In my opinion, a good way to play consistent golf is to try to have both of these variables fairly neutral.

Control the Club Dynamics for Consistency

So what exactly is going on with our fader? Generally, the face might be pointing straight or slightly open, but not always. However, it is a racing certainty that the club will be heading through the ball a good way from out to in. This makes the difference between the path of this club and the angle of the face very large, often ten degrees or more. The result is that the ball will start out on the direction the face is pointing but quickly head right because of the large amount of spin that has been put on the ball because of this difference.

Correcting this takes a bit of time but if you can use some of the modern launch monitors, it is actually easy to see progress. You can track the angles of club and path and gradually reduce the difference. A few good lessons can help as well because this out to in swing often has the same few causes. This might be casting at the top of the swing, or whatever, but a decent pro will find these fairly quickly.

If you don’t have access to either a pro or launch monitor technology, there are still things you can do. In fact, this is how I worked on turning my fade into a draw. The key is to find ways to make sure that you are coming into the ball slightly from the inside.

One of the best ways I found is very low tech and easy to implement. I simply put a line of tees in the ground on the practice area. As a right-handed golfer, this line of 4-5 tees started level with the ball and about an inch to the right. I then placed the next tee about an inch further back and slightly closer to the line of the ball.

Placing a few tees like this creates a gentle arc that the club head “follows” into the ball. If you are hitting it out to in, you will hit the tees as you swing. This will feel a bit strange at first, but stick with it, it does work. Ball contact tends to be, in my experience, absolutely horrible for the first few times and ball flight will also be very different to what you are used to for a while too.

Learning How To Correct a Fade in Golf

The idea that a fade needs to be corrected always seems like a bad thing to me, but it should certainly be controlled. If that fade is becoming a weak swipe off to the right, you are losing both distance and accuracy. Don’t be obsessed with hitting a draw all the time because that comes with its own set of problems, but getting things at least a little more neutral will make it easier to get round the course and make some solid progress.

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