Draw vs. Fade: What's the Difference & Which Shot Is Better?

draw vs fade golf shot

Which is better, a draw vs. fade in golf? 

Some proponents argue a fade as it’s more controllable and consistent. Others argue a draw as it’s more powerful and helps you hit it longer. 

But what about a straight shot? As Tiger Woods, a 15-time major golf champion, once said, “The hardest shot to hit is a straight shot.” 

Needless to say, if you’ve played the game for any amount of time, you can attest to the challenge of a straight shot as well. Needless to say, it’s better to play one shot shape – draw or fade – vs. trying to hit the “hardest shot” in golf.” 

The more types of shots you can play, the easier it is to score well. Because let’s face it, you never know when you’re going to need to hit a draw around the trees after a wayward drive.  

In this post, we’ll break down two important shots: the draw vs. the fade, and teach you how to hit both.

Draw vs. Fade: Who Wins the Battle?

Some golfers swear by the power fade, while others swear by the power draw.

So who’s the winner of the great debate?

Both have their pros and cons. Some of the biggest benefits of hitting a draw include: 

  • Looks better and more powerful for most players.
  • Usually harder to execute as most golfers are plagued with a slice. 
  • Great for a driver and fairway woods, as they tend to carry and roll out further for more distance. 

Some of the biggest benefits of hitting a fade include? 

  • Easier to hit with any club in the bag.
  • Doesn’t travel or roll as far as a draw so it’s easier to control.

More dependable of a shot, especially under pressure. As they say, “You can talk to a fade but you can’t talk to a hook.”

In a perfect world you want to be able to hit both shots as you’ll master clubface control and have a larger arsenal of shots. Being able to hit both types of golf shots makes it easier to deal with wind, tucked pins, escape trouble, and shoot lower scores. 

The cool thing is that you don’t need to mess with your swing to hit either type of shot. Instead, try to adjust your setup so that you don’t have to depend on timing so much. 

Here’s how to do it for both shots… 

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How to Hit a Fade 

A fade has a ball flight that goes left to right (assuming you’re a right-handed player). This happens because the face is open at impact position.

The more open the face is at impact, the more it fades. After about 5–7 yards, the fade is considered a slice and is kryptonite for most golfers. 

The main reasons a fade happens is: 

  • You have a weak grip (not grip pressure, but weak hand position). 
  • You make an over the top move on your downswing and cut across the ball at impact. This is likely due to an inside takeaway and/or not enough wrist hinge in your backswing. 

Hitting a Fade 

If you want to play a fade on demand, here are some simple setup tweaks to make it happen.

  • Option 1: Open the face slightly at setup. Then, aim your body to the left of the target to allow the fade to happen, but aim the face at the target. When you swing on the line of your feet with an open face, it should cut across it and hit a nice power fade.
  • Option 2: Adjust your grip to a neutral or slightly weak position and aim left of your target with an open stance

Or, you can combine both options as well. 

Another tip to help you learn how to hit a fade include standing slightly closer to the ball at address. When you crowd the ball, it makes it easier to have a fade bias swing path as you will naturally get steeper. 

The final tip is to try and hold off your finish like a helicopter to get the ball going left to right. Tiger Woods is a great example of this as he makes very dramatic practice swings to prepare his mind and body for the upcoming shot. 

Related: Golf Stance 101 

How to Hit a Draw 

Meanwhile, a draw has a ball flight that goes right to left (assuming you’re a right-handed player). This happens because the face is closed at impact position.

The more closed the face is at impact, the more it draws. After about 5–7 yards, the draw is considered a hook or a “duck hook.” 

The main reasons you hit a draw is: 

  • You have a strong grip (not grip pressure, but strong hand position). 
  • You come from the inside on the downswing and flip your hands/rotate the face too much at impact. 

Hitting a Draw 

If you want to play a fade on demand, here are some simple setup tweaks to make it happen.

  • Option 1: Close the face slightly at setup. Then, aim your body to the right of the target to allow the draw to happen, but aim the face at the target. When you swing on the line of your feet with a closed face, it should produce an in-to-out move and promote a draw.
  • Option 2: Adjust your grip to a neutral or slightly strong position and aim right of your target. 

Check out our full article on hitting a draw here

If you’re more of a feel player, you want to feel the club rotating more on the downswing. Some players refer to this as “getting handsy” or rolling the wrists over sooner. It might feel more like a baseball swing as your right hand is rotating more at impact. 

Other tips that might help you learn how to hit a draw include adding more grip pressure to your right hand. This will make it easier to rotate the club faster on your downswing. 

The final tip is to try and swing slightly faster so that you create more swing speed. The draw shot requires a little more speed than a fade, so make sure you swing out right of your target. Otherwise, you might get a nasty hook shot that rolls left forever and likely into some bad spots on the golf course.

If you need help increasing swing speed, make sure to check out our guide here.  

Top Questions  

Do you have more questions about hitting shots in either direction? Keep scrolling through the top questions to learn more now. 

Is it better to draw or fade the golf ball?

It’s best to play a shot that is most natural to you the majority of the time – aka, swing your swing. Too many golfers get caught up trying to shape shots in both directions and never master one shot. While it’s okay to practice both on the range, play one shot shape the majority of the time for more consistent drives and approaches. 

Do more pros hit a fade or a draw?

Pros tend to hit more fades off the tee as they’re more reliable and consistent. While a draw goes longer, these guys swing upwards of 115 mph and would rather sacrifice a few yards for more fairways hit. 

But when it comes to irons they play a little bit of both as it depends on what the shot calls for. Some players, like Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods, prefer to shape shots based on the pin location. For example, a right pin suits a fade, while a left pin suits a draw.

Then there are some golfers like Max Homa who only play one shot shape all the time. When Max was mic’d up in the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open he said he hits one draw per week! That’s right, despite being one of the best players in the world, he only hits fades.

What is the difference between a fade and a draw setup in golf?

Changing your setup is the easiest way to change your ball flight. 

If you want to hit a draw, aim your feet, hips, and shoulders to the right of the target. If you want to hit a fade, aim your feet, hips, and shoulders left of the target. 

The more you want the ball to draw or fade, the more you should aim to the right or left. Plus, longer clubs are easier to curve more in either direction. 

Once your setup is right or left, depending on which shot you want to hit, simply swing along your body lines. 

Why does a draw travel further than a fade?

A draw travels longer than a fade because there is less loft and lower spin on this type of shot. The less amount of loft, the longer a ball will travel. Not to mention less spin equals more roll out once it hits the ground. 

Why is a draw so hard to hit?

A draw is so hard to hit for most golfers for two reasons; a weak grip and inside swing path. If you have a weak grip (weak in terms of position, not grip pressure) it promotes a fade ball flight. But if you have a neutral or strong grip, especially with your left hand, it’s much easier to hit a draw.

A good grip is the foundation of golf as it’s the only part of your body that is touching the club. The sooner you can master your grip, the sooner you can start playing better golf fast. 

The other main reason a draw is so hard to hit is an inside takeaway – one of the most common mistakes by everyday golfers. When you take the club back too far inside on your takeaway, it promotes an over the top, steep move on the downswing. This is the exact opposite of what is needed to hit a draw.

If you struggle with a draw and your grip is in a good position, improve your takeaway. Try to take the club back more on an outside path so that you can get more inside on the downswing. This makes it easier to shallow the club and promote a draw ball flight.

A great training aid to help with this movement is the Lagshot swing trainer. This club has a very lite flex shaft that makes it easy to feel the right amount of lag in your swing. Plus, you can use it while hitting golf balls too.

How do you hit a stinger?

A stinger is one of the most sought after shots in golf. A draw stinger is arguably the most sought after shot once Tiger Woods made it so popular in the early 2000s. But it’s also one of the hardest shots to hit too.

Click here to learn more about hitting a stinger in golf. 

Will a draw bias driver help my slice?

Yes, absolutely! A draw bias driver is built so that it’s slightly closed at address which offsets an open clubface that happens from a slice. 

Plus, more weight is in the heel typically which makes the toe lighter. When this happens it is easier to rotate the face of the golf club more, thus squaring the face for straighter golf shots. 

Even if you don’t have a draw bias driver, most clubs have some sort of adjustability. You can change the weights and loft in different ways to make it more draw or fade friendly. 

Make sure to double-check the driver chart for the club you’re hitting it to learn how to tweak it for your ideal ball flight. Test out different settings in practice so you can find 

Wrapping Up

Everyone learns how to shape shots differently; some players like changing their grip or wrist rotation, while others prefer adjusting setup positions. 

But I suggest keeping as many things similar as possible and just changing your setup. This makes it easier to eliminate swing thoughts and focus on playing golf, not your swing during the round. 

Learning how to hit a fade and draw is 100% possible if you’re willing to put in the work.  

When you learn how to play both shots, you become a much more well-rounded player. If you can learn how to hit a fade or draw on demand, it’s much easier to score better on any golf course. But this doesn’t happen overnight in most cases. 

Usually, you need to put in time on the driving range and make a concerted effort to learn how to play the ball both directions. Start with mid-irons as they’re easier to shape (6-7 iron) and then try it out with different clubs in the bag. 

Soon, you will be able to hit it both directions with any club, leading to more confidence than ever before. 

Do you know how to hit both shots? If so, which one is easier for you to hit on a regular basis?

Let me know in the comments below! 

Picture of Phil Grounds

Phil Grounds

Phil is an avid golfer, and the creator of The Golfers Gear. He’s been playing golf for 30 years, and is obsessed with improving his game and sharing his experience helping fellow golfers score better.

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