How to: Shape your iron shots

Shape your shots to hit it close to any pin: How to hit a fade and a draw

In this tutorial, European Tour Professional Thorbjorn Olesen teaches you how to both fade and draw the ball using your irons. This tip comes from our sister magazine, Golf World. For subscriptions – click here

Accurate iron play is vital to scoring well. Mid-irons are the strongest part of my game and where I feel most confident because I’m able to shape the ball both ways so I can attack any pin. I alter my ball  flight by changing my grip, takeaway and follow-through.

I’ll show you how to do that here but you have to practise hard to make it consistent and predictable on the course.

Hitting A Fade

The left-to-right ball flight is ideal for getting to pins that are tucked right or getting the ball to stop quickly and hold it near flags at the front of a green.

Weaker grip

When I want to move the ball from left to right, I’ll take a slightly weaker grip with my left hand – the thumb down the centre of the shaft as opposed to just left of centre for a neutral grip.

Weaker grip

Club outside hands

The takeaway is more up and out. I make the clubhead trace an initial path that is much more along the ball-to-target line, so the ball will start to the left of the flag with fade spin.


Hold the face open

I keep the blade square for longer and hold o on the natural rotation of the forearms through impact. There is a feeling here of dragging the club across the body in the follow-through.

face open

Hitting A Draw

The right-to-left ball flight is particularly e ective for getting to pins that are tucked left or releasing approaches to flags at the back of a green.

Stronger grip

For a draw I’ll strengthen my left hand grip so the thumb is more down the side of the grip and you can see three or four knuckles – rather than two knuckles for a neutral grip.

stronger grip

Club Inside Hands

The takeaway is more rounded and follows a route that brings it inside more quickly. Remember, when you hit a draw, the clubface must aim right of the flag at impact.

club inside hands

Rotate the forearms

The toe of the club is pointing to the sky because I’ve allowed the arms and hands to rotate through impact. The hands stay out in front of the body for longer before moving to a higher finish.

rotate forearms


Hitting A Fade

Hitting A Draw


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