What Is The Difference Between a Draw & A Fade In Golf?

If you’re new to golf, you’ve probably realized just how much lingo there is to learn.  For a full review of all the terms you need to know, check out our article about golf terminology.

When it comes to your actual game, the two most important terms to know the difference between are draw and fade.

In this article we’ll discuss these two shot shapes, their causes, and everything else you need to know.

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What’s the Difference Between a Draw and a Fade?

For purposes of these definitions, we’re going to describe draws and fades from a right-handed golfer’s perspective.  They’re the opposite for left-handed golfers. 

Simply put, a draw is a shot that starts just to the right of the target and curves back left toward it. 

A fade is a shot that starts a few yards left of the target and falls right to it. 

Both draws and fades are shots that good players try to hit on purpose.  They’re much more controlled than hooks and slices.

What’s the Difference Between a Hook and Slice?

Hooks and slices are magnified versions of draws and fades.  They both curve more than you’d like and often end up in trouble.

A hook is a shot that starts right of the target and curves violently to the left. 

Slices start well left of the target and curve way to the right.

Understanding the Dynamics of Fades and Draws

If you’re just learning the game, a draw is a preferable shot.  That’s because the right-to-left spin right-handed golfers put on draws causes the ball to go farther.  Draws usually fly a little lower and roll more when they hit the ground.  Be careful though; draws can get into trouble if they run out too far.

A lot of better players like hitting fades.  Fades tend to fly higher and come down softer.  For those reasons, they usually don’t travel as far as draws. 

Better players prefer fades because they’re easier to control.

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Learn One Shot Before Trying to Learn Both

Before we start talking about trying to purposely hit draws and fades, let it be known that our Golfer’s Authority Instructors stress the importance of learning to hit one shot consistently first.  That’s hard enough.

What’s the Easiest Way to Hit a Draw?

But if you’re to the point where you’re striking the ball solidly and hitting it at your target more often than not, then you might want to start hitting draws and fades on purpose.

Hitting a draw starts with your setup. 

Before your take your stance, aim the clubface at the target.  Then align your feet, hips, and shoulders a little to the right of the target (for right-handed golfers). 

Then just swing along the path of your feet.  The ball should start just right of the target and curve a little back to the left.

What’s the Easiest Way to Hit a Fade?

Hitting a fade begins with your setup too. 

Prior to setting your feet, aim your clubface at the intended target.  Next, aim your shoulders, hips, and feet a little left of where you’re aiming. 

Now just swing the club along the line of your feet.  Watch as the ball starts just left of the target and falls to the right. 

The Importance of Having a Go-To Shot

If you watch the best players in the world, you’ll notice that they all either like to fade or draw the ball on most of their shots.  Sure, they can move the ball both ways, but they’re more comfortable with one or the other.

Why?  Because having a predominant shot shape gives you more room to miss.  If you can hit a consistent draw, you’re able to aim down the right side and let the ball move to the left.  You’ll almost never hit a shot that starts to the right and moves farther right.

Conversely, being able to fade the ball consistently allows you to aim left and not have to worry about missing shots farther to the left. 

Whatever shot shape you choose is up to you.  The important thing is that you have one.  Golf gets a lot easier when you do.


Very rarely will you hit a straight shot in golf.  Almost always the ball is going to curve one way or another. 

The key to keeping the ball in play and shooting good scores is to know where it’s going.  So, if you’re just learning the game, practice hitting either a fade or a draw.  

If you get to the point that hitting one shot consistently is easy, then you can start trying to move it the other way too. 

Like everything in golf, hitting draws and fades takes practice.  Stay patient with the process and always remember, golf is a game and games are meant to be fun. 

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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