Golf’s Most Heated Debate: A Draw versus a Fade

Should you play a fade or a draw

If you’re like most golfers, chances are you’ve wondered if you Should you play a draw vs. fade? It’s a great question as playing a draw or fade can have a big impact on distance, trajectory, and consistency on the course.

But there’s a lot more to the answer than just saying you should play a draw or a cut. Since there are so many variables in your swing and each course, it’s ideal to learn how to hit both golf shots. Each type of shot has their own pros and cons, which we’ll go over in this article.

Continue reading to learn about the key differences in a draw vs. a fade, how each shot shape is hit, and the best training tools to hit a draw.

Draw vs. Fade Shot – How to Choose

While I couldn’t find any “study” to back up my claim, I’m pretty confident in saying that most right-handed golfers shape the ball left to right. For some, this is a controlled fade but for others, it’s a slice or even a banana slice.

The majority of golfers are able to play a fade. I believe there are a few contributing factors to this: a weak lead hand position and an inside takeaway, a lack of flexibility, and a steep downwardswing.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a fade. Colin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, and Colin Morikawa are both great faders. They are able to control their shot and don’t hit as many big slices as the average amateur golfer. Plus, they have more distance off the tee so it’s not as big of an issue.

The average player is likely to make a cut or slice while trying to score a draw. In fact, “How to fix a slice” is one of the most commonly searched terms on the internet when it comes to golf. It’s no surprise that draw golf shots are highly sought after by many players.

But before getting into that, let’s first talk about the difference between the two shots and see if you really do need to change your swing for a draw. 

The Fade in golf (Cut Shot).

Even though it may not be obvious, a fade or cut shot offers many benefits for right-handed players. A subtle left-to-right shot of just a few degrees can be very reliable and trustworthy.

First, a fade is much more reliable since you don’t need as much wrist action and timing in the swing. It’s a simpler motion which makes it more consistent and easier to hit on the golf course. 

Second, a fade has less side spin, which means your misses won’t be “as bad.” They’re more controllable and it’s been said that you can “Talk to a fade” while it’s in the air. A draw is able to think for itself.

There are also disadvantages, especially with distance. Since a fade doesn’t have as much forward spin, it won’t release as much once it hits the ground and thus, isn’t as long in terms of total distance. 

When to play a fade shot

When is the best time to play a fade? A fade is great in three situations.

First, make sure the hole does not dogleg left to right. It can be easier to choose a target and commit to the shot if you can align your tee shot in the fairway’s direction. 

The second situation is a left pin position. A fade is when you aim left of the pin, and the ball will bounce back to the flag.

If the shot stays straight, you’re still in the middle of the green with an easy putt. And if you pull the shot (the common miss with a fade), you won’t short side yourself.

The last situation is from the rough. Since thicker grass tends to close the club face, playing a fade will ensure the club isn’t even more shut at the impact position. To prevent the club from closing on the downswing, you should open the rough longer.

Additionally, sometimes in the rough you might get a “flier” or “jumper” lie. This is when your ball is higher than normal and tends to fly farther.

If you’re playing a draw, it’ll add even more distance to this lie and can make for a difficult up and down over the green. If the ball is sitting well in the rough, you can club down and play a fade. 

How to Hit a Fade

To hit fade shots, you need to do one thing. Open clubface at impact.

The more open the club is at impact, the more it will move left to right. There are many ways that the club can reach this position.

Some of these include: 

  • Takeaway
  • Hand gripping with weak lead
  • In stance, move slightly forward

For more information on hitting a fade, read our complete guide Here

Draw in Golf

The draw is the opposite to the fade. This goes right to left (for right-handed golfers). For some golfers, it can be difficult to hit a draw and for others, it can be as difficult as Bigfoot. 

Why is a draw so coveted?

Distance is the first reason. Golf is becoming more about distance. Players want to make the most of every opportunity to get it further. 

The second reason is that it looks good. Nothing beats slinging your driver on a dogleg hole and watching the ball roll. Or hitting a high draw on a back left hole and seeing your ball land closer than you can imagine.

It is not difficult to execute the shot.

When to Play a Draw

What is the best time to play a draw? In a perfect world, you would be able to shape the ball in both directions. A draw is best for holes with dogleg left. 

For example, if a par 4 or 5 doglegs left, it’s ideal to tee up on the left side of the tee box, start the ball on the right side of the fairway, and let it draw back to the hole. 

A left pin position is the second scenario for a perfect draw. If you hit a draw, you can aim right of the pin and direct the ball back to your flag. If the shot stays straight, you’re still in the middle of the green with an easy putt for birdie. 

And if you push the shot (the common miss with a draw), you won’t short side yourself. This will give you the best chance of getting up and down while still achieving a par. 

How to Hit Draws

One thing is necessary for a draw to be achieved: A closed clubface at impact

The more the eye is closed, the more it will turn right to left. There are many ways to get to that position, just like the fade.

Some of these include:

  • Outside takeaway
  • Strong lead hand grip
  • In stance, ball slightly back
  • At the top, bend your wrists.

Our full guide will help you learn more about how to hit a draw. Here

Draw vs Fade in Golf

Straight Shot

Perhaps you are wondering about a straight shot. To hit this shot, your swing path and clubface must be perfect. This is normal and modern golf clubs allow for this. However, most players still try to hit the ball one way or the other.

A rule of thumb is to never let straight shots get in trouble. Meaning, don’t aim your target line in the water or OB if you hit straight.

Next Steps: Picking your shot 

Play a cut if you want to play the same shot shape on every full swing shot. This will take away one side from the course and make it easier for you to find a target on every shot. This should make your misses easier and make it easier to score higher each time you tee.

I play a cut 90% of my time. Even if I’m hitting to a left pin or the hole doglegs left. While I can hit a draw, it’s not my stock shot and thus, harder to hit when I’m on the course.

My cut has made me feel pretty confident about the shot shape and how it travels in the air. So when I’m on the tee box, regardless of which direction the hole goes, I know where to aim. I look for a target that is left to right-center on the fairway and aim for it. Same goes for my approach shot at the green.

Simply put, I don’t have to think about my swing as much. I don’t have to try and manipulate my swing to hit a cut, it’s just natural and dependable. I feel 10X more confident, especially when under pressure, to hit my favorite shot.

I recommend you do the exact same. While shaping shots in both directions is fun and almost a lost art thanks to new technology, it’s not always the most effective for everyday golfers. 

Click here to read more about shot shaping strategy.

Tiger’s 9-Shot Drill

Whether you decide to play a draw or fade, it’s up to you. However, practicing all types of shots is a great way for you to prepare for the course.

Don’t get me wrong, I think most amateurs should stick to one shot 80-90% of the time.But you will find yourself in positions where you simply can’t play your shot when you’re on the course.

Whether you have a tree in the way, water along the entire left or right side, or it just doesn’t suit your eye. In this case, you’ll need to hit a different shot and the best way to learn how is by Tiger’s 9-shot drill.

Tiger Woods is undoubtedly one of the greatest iron players in history. He wasn’t afraid to lay back off the tee and trust his iron game to get him on the green. One of the reasons he’s such a good iron player is because of his trusty, 9-shot drill.

Tiger tries to hit all nine shots on the driving range. The nine shots you can hit on any club are:

  • Draws: Normal, low, and high ball flight.
  • Straight: Normal, normal, and high ball flight.
  • Cuts: Normal, high, and low ball flight.

He tries to imagine the ball going through a grid (3×3) to execute one of the nine shots. The same thing can be done on the driving range. 

Editorial Note: Before you try this drill, please read our explanation of the ball flight laws.

Two of the most difficult shots are a higher trajectory draw, and a low cut with a sharp ball flight. These shots can be mastered by a right handed player to make the game a little easier.

I suggest grabbing a mid-iron as it’s easier to hit than long irons but still allows you to shape shots pretty easily too. Remember that the longer the club, it’s more difficult to shape the ball. 

Use a 7 iron to hit all nine shots. You can see how many shots you get from nine, and then you can work on the shot shapes/trajectories which give you the most trouble. While you don’t need to hit all nine on the course, it’s never a bad idea to have plenty of skills in your arsenal for the round.

FAQs on Shaping Golf Shots

Do you have more questions about shaping the golf ball and figuring out what’s best for your game? Continue reading to find our answers to the most frequently asked questions about ball flight.

Amateurs should play both?

Amateur golfers should have a go-to shot that they play most of the time. Remember that even the best players in the game struggle to shape the ball in the same way every time.

If you’re an amateur golfer, have a go to cut or draw that you play off the tee and into greens. This will increase your confidence and reduce your chances of making a mistake. 

What PGA Tour players have drawn?

There have been many great players who prefer a draw over a cut. Some of these players include Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Rory McCilroy.  

What PGA Tour players have made a cut? 

There are many players who prefer a cut to a draw for greater consistency. Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods are just a few of the players who prefer to hit fades for greater control. 

What are the best training tools to hit a draw? 

Training aids can be helpful in learning how to hit a draw, or fade. Here are some of the most popular training aids that we recommend to help you work the ball both way.

Planemate – Tour Striker

If you’re the type of golfer who struggles with an over the top downswing, we have a solution for you. A backswing that is too close to the takeaway can often cause a downswing that is steep and excessive. 

The Planemate by Tour Striker can help you to get in a neutral position for your backswing. This revolutionary training aid has helped many players around the globe improve their takeaway. It also helps them to learn how shallower the golf club during the downswing.

When you can shallow the swing it’s much easier to create an inside to outside swing. This power move directly impacts the ball flight so it’s straighter or even promotes a draw. It will also help you create lag, which is the secret move of elite ball strikers. 

Dropping the club in the slot on your downswing will cause more lag. This will also result in a better impact position. The PlaneMate makes it simple to feel that way and can be used at home for practice swings or when you’re out on the range hitting golf balls. Works for left- or right-handed players!

Click here to see our complete review.

EyeLine Golf Speed Trap 2.0

This training aid is great for anyone who wants to learn how hit a draw or cut. You can groove a more in-out swing or out-to swing to get a draw or fade with the four pegs. It is also suitable for left-handed players. 

This small investment can make a big difference in your ability and ability to shape shots. It makes it easy to visualize the swing path required to achieve different ball flight levels.  You can get one Here if you like.

Lag Shot 7-Iron 

The Lag Shot trainer is another great tool to help you strike a draw and maintain a consistent swing. This 7-iron training aid promotes tempo and timing perfection, and makes it easy for you to lower the golf club on your downswing. This device can be used to correct timing or slice issues and help you play more consistently. You can also find a lag shot. HereIt is worth a try.

Final Thoughts 

My best advice for hitting a draw or fade is to play the shot that feels natural to you. It’s easier to control your natural shot and requires less swing thoughts while you’re on the course.

Top players and teachers share one common lesson: to reduce your swing thoughts on the course. It is harder to just play golf and not think about mechanics.Laying your golf swing). 

Try to play one shape for about 80% of the time. If the situation calls for it, you can hit the opposite shot with the 20% remaining. Don’t try to move the ball in the opposite direction if you can’t in practice consistently.

Good luck!

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