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Working the Ball: Hitting a Fade/Slice
Cutting the Ball With Control

Learn the proper techniques to hit a quality fadeLearn to Hit a Fade Shot

As you may well know up to 85% of all golfers slice the ball. It must be easy to do, right? The answer is yes, it is, but fading or slicing the ball on call and with control can be a challenge. Think of a fade as a small curve whereas with a slice, the ball swings much more dramatically. A fade is slight, a slice is extreme. For a right handed player, the ball would start left of his or her target and move back to the right of the target with both shots.

The advantage of a fade or a slice is control. The disadvantage is loss of distance as well as loss of control if you aren't skilled at shaping the ball. With a fade or slice, the ball has cut spin or back spin and will land soft. This is ideal for landing into a green and getting the ball to hold. Back spin is not ideal however, when you are driving and wanting your ball to kick forward down the fairway to maximize distance. A lot of holes are shaped for fades off of the tee so if you can shape one, you actually won't lose distance after all. You are working the ball down the fairway. A straight ball in this case can not only land you in trouble, but your ball can run through the fairway ending up further from the hole.

Remember that the greatest players can hit any shot on call and will play the shot that the situation demands. With practice, you too can learn to shape you shots. All you need to do is understand the basics that control spin and put some time in on the practice tee.

Factors in Your Swing that Help Shape Shots

Listed below are the factors in your swing under your control that help shape shots. Let's explore them individually and see how they can cause a fade/slice.

  • Cub face...A club face that is open will make your ball fade if it is slightly open or slice if it is wide open.
  • Alignment...Setting your body aligned open to your target line will produce an outside/in cut swing that will fade or slice the ball depending on how open you are in relation to the target line.
  • Grip...A weak grip will cause the club face to remain open and the ball will fade or slice.
  • Arm rotation...If you don't release your arms, you will hold the face open causing a fade or a slice.
  • Path/Swing Plane...If you are swinging at the ball from outside/in in relation to the target line you will fade or slice the ball.
  • Ball Position...Playing the ball too far forward in your stance will force you to catch it with an outside/in swing resulting in a fade or a slice.

You can see how all of these factors come in to play to help your ball spin. A true fade/slice however is one that starts to the left of your target (if you are right handed) and swings back to the right. So which of the above factors do you need to alter? In reality only one. Your alignment. With that being said, I am assuming that everything else in your swing is fairly neutral. A more skilled player may be able to alter their forearm rotation, their path, or play around with their grip. For the average player, that is too complicated. My goal is to make this as simple as possible for you to learn and repeat.

The Situation:

You want to hit a controlled fade or slice.

The Solution:

Aim your club face at your target (where you want the ball to end up). Aim your feet, knees, hips and shoulders along the line that you want the ball to start out. The club face will be open in relation to where you are aiming. The most difficult part is getting used to looking down at an open face. Swing along your body line. If this is not creating enough fade/slice for your swing, the next step is to try to weaken your grip a little bit. These are just a few simple moves to put you well on your way to shaping your fade/slice.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
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