The Golf Fade v. The Golf Slice
The fade golf shot is the baby brother of the slice golf shot, and like the slice it starts off heading left (righties) of the target and then curves right back towards the target again. The big difference between the slice and the fade is how much it curves to the right, a slice usually continues curving well off target. The golf slice, being more severe, is never a good golf shot and is regarded as a fault, whereas the golf fade is a very useful shot to have in your armory. Because of the spin imparted on the golf ball it flies higher and lands softer with very little run on the ball making it an excellent approach shot for the green, it also decreases the distance the ball would normally travel so this has to be taken into account.
Jack Nicklaus used the fade golf shot extensively and Lee Trevino is another great golfer that sung the praises of the fade shot, but they are not alone, all tour pros use the fade shot, some more than others, indeed tour pros seldom hit a straight shot, they prefer to get shape into their golf shots which gives them greater control over the golf ball.
Most new or weekend golfers hit fades and slices all the time, with them though, it is a fault because it is unintended and they have no control over the direction or extent of the shot, or even when it happens. However, the techniques to produce the fade are the same, even if the weekend golfers are doing it accidentally.
To produce a fade we need to impart clockwise spin on the golf ball, this is best done by changing the swing plane from in-to-out to an out-to-in one. This is when the club head crosses over the target line during the downswing, it causes the club head to come across the golf ball at impact which causes the ball to spin clockwise. It's important that the club face remains square to the target line at impact to avoid turning the fade into a slice.
The easiest way to do this is to set up as normal but line up feet, hips and shoulders slightly left of the target but keep the club face lined up on the target. You should feel as if you're using a slightly open stance, the rest of your swing remains the same as normal. Some golfers find it helpful to position the golf ball slightly forward in their stance than they normally would, but don't overdo this, the width of a ball or very slightly more should be plenty.
If you find this awkward or difficult to execute correctly then try setting up for a normal straight shot making sure that the club face is aiming directly for the target, then, keeping the club face still, simply realign your body to aim left of the target then take your normal golf swing.
Once you manage to produce the fade golf shot on demand you'll be surprised how often you will use it. But, before you decide to make it your favorite shot get to the driving range and perfect it first. This is not a shot that is kept solely for your driver or as a tee shot, you can use this with almost all of your golf clubs and is most useful as an approach shot to the green. But it does take practice, so practice the golf fade with your irons as well as fairway woods.