Golf Draw vs. Fade: What’s the Difference & Which is Better?

golf draw vs fade

When I first started playing golf, I remember being so concerned with hitting the ball straight. The ball would turn left, turn right, stay low or fly too high, and I just wanted to hit a straight shot. 

As time went on and my game improved, things shifted, and I wanted to start hitting golf shots that turned left or turned right. Working the golf ball and hitting a draw and a fade is a tremendous benefit of being a great player. When you can work the ball, you can learn to truly manage a golf course. 

The draw and the fade are the two typical ball flights that golfers will use. Each of these shots can help you become a more accurate golfer.

Let’s look at the draw vs. fade and see which one will be best for your golf game. 

Draw vs. Fade in Golf

A draw and a fade are opposites of one another. Understanding the differences between these two golf shots and how to hit them will undoubtedly help you become a better player. The great thing about both the draw and the fade is that golfers of any handicap level can learn to hit them as long as you put the time in. Making a few simple changes to setup and stance is all that’s necessary to pull this shot off. 

Draw

golf draw shot

A draw is a golf shot that sets out down the line and then turns to the left. When the draw turns to the left, it usually has a bit of topspin on it, and it won’t stop quite as quickly when it hits the green. A draw will travel further than a fade most of the time because the clubface tends to be slightly closed when the golf ball is struck, which creates more topspin and promotes further distance. 

Many lower handicap players prefer the draw. The draw can be a sign that you have fully released and turned over the golf club. Learning to hit a draw takes time. However, it is a shot you will be glad that you have in the bag. 

Fade

golf fade shot

The fade is a golf shot that sets out down the line and then turns to the right as it falls. The fade only turns a few yards to the right, and it typically flies relatively high and lands softly on the green. A fade shot may end up going a few yards shorter than a draw, but it is known to be easier to control. 

Many amateur golfers hit a natural fade that they have learned to play with. Professionals who are very good at the game will use the fade shot to hit the ball as close as they can to the pin. With a fade shot, you can be very accurate. 

Which is Better: Draw or Fade? 

It is hard to say that a draw or a fade is a better golf shot. There are times when you will need to know how to hit both. However, there is something to be said for choosing a shot that feels more natural to you. 

A draw or fade is better depending on which one you can execute consistently.

Players that want more distance and struggle to turn their golf shots over should consider hitting a draw. Golfers who get plenty of distance but have a hard time controlling will enjoy all that a fade has to offer. 

Another critical factor to consider is the natural tendency of your golf swing. 

If your golf swing sets up naturally for a fade, you should try to play to this as often as possible. The same can be said for a draw. There is no right or wrong way to play the game of golf; plenty of golfers find something unconventional but works for them. Always stick with your strengths whenever possible. 

Here are a few times that a fade or a draw can be better. 

Benefits of a Fade 

  • Higher ball flight
  • Steeper angle of descent
  • Increased backspin
  • Easier to control 
  • More precise golf shot 

Benefits of a Draw 

  • Encourages a good inside out golf swing motion
  • Plenty of extra distance
  • Great feeling shot 
  • Helps cut through wind 
  • Can quickly adjust to learning to hit a fade

How To Hit A Draw

There are several ways in which you can learn to hit a draw. However, the easiest is to make a few adjustments to your setup and stance. When you do this, you will be able to reposition yourself to have a much higher chance of pulling off the draw shot. 

Remember that a draw shot comes as a result of an inside-to-out swing path. To create room for this swing path, it can help to drop your right foot back about an inch at the address. When you swing to hit a draw, feel the club move more around you than up and down. It may feel like your swing is more shallow and less steep.

When you swing down through a golf draw shot, you will want to feel as though your hips are starting the descent. Let the arms linger at the top just a bit longer and allow the arms to fall into that space you have created by dropping that back foot back. 

Most golfers will also aim a bit to the right of the target so that the golf shot can loop around and fall to the left of the target. When you set up just a bit to the right, ensure that the clubface is still aiming at the target. 

This is what creates the proper clubface angle and swing path to perfect the draw. 

How To Hit A Fade

The ball flight that you are looking for with a fade shot is much different than the draw. With a fade, the ball will start to the left of the target and fall back to the right. The first place to start your fade golf shot is in the setup. 

Ensure that your feet are aimed a bit to the left of the target. Your body is going to feel a bit open, and that is ok. This will help promote the proper path that you need for a fade shot shape. The club head should be pointed just to the left of the target but not too much. 

When you take the club back, you will want to swing on the path of your club, not the path of your feet. This will promote a slightly more upright golf swing, with the club traveling on more of an outside-in path. 

With a fade, you will feel as though you are hitting across the ball from the outside to the inside of the golf swing. The fade shot should not be exaggerated as it can quickly turn into a slice. The same can be said for a draw turning into a hook. 

When you swing through the ball with a fade shot, always make sure that you complete your golf swing with the club finishing up high by your left ear. The better you can get with your weight transfer, balance, and fundamentals, the better the chance of hitting these types of shots consistently. 

FAQs on Draw vs. Fade

Now that you have a much better understanding of what a golf fade is and what a golf draw is, it’s time to look at some of the most frequently asked questions about these two shots. Some players will completely ignore the concept of fade and draw and just worry about hitting the ball straight. 

Those who want to take their golf game to the next level will use these skills to do so. I can guarantee that every PGA Tour professional can hit a draw or a fade on command. These golfers use this skill continually throughout their round of golf. 

Which Is Longer, Draw or Fade? 

For golfers that need distance from their shots, the draw is the way to go. When you hit a draw, the inside-out swing path tends to be a bit more shallow. This shallow path will put a bit more topspin on the ball as opposed to backspin. 

When a draw is hit, it is typically compressed quite well. When it then hits the green, it will roll forward a bit more than a fade would. All of this is completely fine as long as you are ready for it. Golfers tend to like to hit the draw on their drives. The reason behind this is they get some extra yardage and roll on the shot. 

If you can learn to hit the longer golf clubs with a draw and the short irons with a fade, you may be on to something. 

Why Do Some Pros Hit Draws, While Other Hit Fades? 

Some golf professionals hit a draw, and others will hit a fade. This concept goes back to our initial talks about why choosing the ball flight that matches your natural swing path is essential. Some golfers take the club a bit inside, and the draw is a natural result. 

Players on the PGA Tour need to be able to rely on their golf shots. Each swing needs to feel consistent and dependable even under a great deal of pressure. The best shot to go with when the pressure is on is the most comfortable one. 

Some golf pros don’t have a ball flight that they prefer; they tend to shape almost every shot they hit. All of this will come down to personal preference.

Is The Fade The Same As A Slice? 

The fade is not the same as a slice. A golf slice will start straight and then make a wide turn to the right. When you hit a fade shot, the turn to the right is subtle. You will notice the ball move to the right side of the fairway or the right side of the pin, but it is very much in play. 

With a slice, the golf ball can make a big turn, and it will very likely end up in a position that will make your next shot a bit difficult. Therefore, the slice is considered a bit of a miss-hit, where the fade is not a missed shot; it is instead an intentional working of the golf ball from left to right. 

Which Is Easier To Hit Draw vs. Fade? 

The fade is the easier golf shot to hit. The reason behind this is that the fade shot is typically taken with a bit more of an upright swing and a golf club face that is kind of open. These two components are often weaknesses that golfers have in their swing. 

Learn to use these weaknesses and perfect them to be a consistent fade shot. It will significantly improve your golf game. 

The draw shot takes a slightly more inside path and an inside-to-out golf swing motion that some players can never achieve. Great golfers will have the ability to manipulate their swing enough to hit both shots. 

Is Hitting A Fade Bad?

Hitting a controlled fade or a controlled draw is never bad. However, if you tend to hit uncontrolled fades and draws, and you don’t know what is causing them, you could end up with some poor shots.  

In golf, as long as what you’re doing is something that you are controlling, you will end up with positive results. 

Conclusion

We hope that you now can understand the difference between a draw vs. a fade. It is beneficial to learn how to hit both a draw and a fade to use them to score lower. Playing a golf course by hitting all of your shots straight can be a bit restrictive. Until you learn to move the ball around, there are specific pin locations that you won’t be able to get close to. The time you spend working on the draw and fade shots will pay off in the end. 

Joe Morelli

Joe's been playing golf for 25 years, starting as a junior golfer in his early teens. He loves getting out on the links with his dad and friends -- whether an early weekend foursome or his weekday, afternoon league.

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