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The technique you need to hit a proper draw

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It seems that just about every right-handed golfer wants to hit shots that move right to left, otherwise known as a “draw.” Mastering it will make you the envy of your playing partners, as it is the most elusive ball flight pattern for most golfers to achieve.

In this article, I want to break down a few simple photos that will help you to understand how this right-to-left pattern is created through the actions of the clubface and club path at impact.

Launch monitors such as Trackman and FlightScope have shown us that clubface alignment at impact controls the golf ball’s starting direction, and the path of the club at impact influences the ball’s curvature. Therefore, in order to move the ball from right to left, the face angle of the club at impact must be left of the club’s swing path if you impact the ball in the center of the face.

A Proper Draw

Inside-to-out path

As you can see above, the path is moving from inside to outside, and the face is between the target and the path. Since the face controls the ball’s initial starting direction, it would have to be right of the target or the ball wouldn’t begin to the right. This shot starts out to the right and curves back to the target. In a true draw, you impact the ball with an open clubface (not closed) as I will explain below.

One common mistake I see with amateurs who try to hit draws is that they “over-close” the face at impact, which increases the face-to-path difference and causes the ball to curve too much. In the example below, you will see that the in-to-out path has not changed, but the clubface is pointing at the target at impact. This shot starts at the target and curves away from it to the left, which is not a proper draw.

Image 02

This “straight” draw is misunderstood by many golfers, as they think they can get the ball to start more to the right of the target by swinging with more of an in-to-out path. Doing so with the same clubface alignment, however, will only cause the ball to start at the target and hook even farther to the left due to the increased face-to-path difference.

The Pull-Hook

The final swing pattern I see on the lesson tee with students who are trying to hit a draw is that they have the clubface pointed to the left of the target at impact. This is what causes the dreaded “pull-hook.”

Image 03

In a pull-hook, the ball starts in the direction of the red arrow in the photo above and curves away from the path. If the path was the same amount from in-to-out as in the first two examples, you would see a pull-hook. It’s important for golfers to realize that this is a clubface issue, not a club path issue!

Remember, in order to hit a push draw, golfers need an in-to-out path and a face angle at impact that is pointing left of the path at impact, yet still to the right of the target. That allows the ball to fly correctly before curving.

The best drill to work on your ball’s curvature is to stick an alignment stick into the ground in-line with your target and hit balls that curve around it from right to left. This will help you to move your path to the right with a clubface that is closed to the path, yet open to the target.

Experiment with that drill and you’ll see what I mean.

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: tom.stickney@puntamita.com

58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to Hit a Draw: By the Numbers | Golf Gear Select

  2. Uncle Bob

    Jun 13, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    good information. I have always had the big hook as an escape shot from the deep,dark places my tee shot lands. Of late, it has started out left too soon, often hitting the tree I was trying to avoid. I realize that I was not setting the clubface open enough , relative to a far right body and foot alignment. I will test this at the practice area tomorrow.
    Thanks.
    It is always a matters of degrees, isn’t it? There is a huge difference between a draw and a Hook. The hook is much easier to hit. Back before the world began, Bobby Locke hit a big hook with every club. He even hooked his putts. Sam Snead Hit a gentle draw or fade(on command) As Sam Snead said, ” a draw (and a fade)curves on the way down. a hook (or a slice) starts curving on the way up.” Of course, we mere mortals will take whatever we can can get on a consistent basis.

  3. Uncle Bob

    Jun 13, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    good information. I have always had the big hook as an escape shot from the deep,dark places my tee shot lands. Of late, it has started out left too soon, often hitting the tree I was trying to avoid. I realize that I was not setting the clubface open enough , relative to a far right body and foot alignment. I will test this at the practice area tomorrow.
    Thanks.
    It is always a matters of degrees, isn’t it? There is a huge difference between a draw and a Hook. The hook is much easier to hit. Back before the world began, Bobby Locke hit a big hook with every club. He even hooked his putts. Sam Snead Hit a gentle draw or fade(on command) As Sam Snead said, ” a draw (and a fade)curves on the way down. a hook (or a fade) starts curving on the way up.” Of course, we mere mortals will take whatever we can can get on a consistent basis.

  4. paul

    Jun 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I was experimenting at the range the other day after reading one of your other articles. And it finally clicked. I hit 15/20 draws, 17/20 fades and all of them landed on target. The misses landed where I was aligned. I left the face aimed in line with my feet and only slightly changed my swing path to alter the spin axis. Worked better then I imagined. Can’t wait to try this on course.

  5. Ronald Gailun

    May 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Also, please comment on grip and ball position

  6. Ronald Gailun

    May 23, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Tom, I am a little confused with regard to some of your answers to the above questions.

    Would you please describe how a person learning to hit a push draw: 1. sets up to the ball 2.where the body lines are in relation to the target line 3. face alignment in relation to the target line at address and 4. do you swing normally along your shoulder lines as Jack Nicklaus always advocated?

    Thanks

    • tom stickney

      May 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Ronald– there is no simple answer to your question that works for everyone…I’d find a teaching pro in your area to help you sort this all out or email me a video via the V1 app on your phone.

      However, I would suggest the following:
      1) Aim a touch right with everything (helps to shift path to the right)
      2) Face at target (a touch closed to your body line)
      3) Swing along your body lines
      4) Grip should be neutral to a touch strong…ball position relative to the club you are using

      If ball is hooking too much set face more square to body line not aiming at target

  7. Rich

    May 23, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Well, turns out I’d been looking at this all wrong!! I previously fell into the category of golfer who would set up with the clubface really quite closed, under the misapprehension that this would ‘force’ a draw, when in actual fact all that resulted was a straight shot (at best) and a duck hook (at worst!).

    At the range the other night, armed with the information laid out in Tom’s article, I proceeded to set up with the (driver) face slightly open to target line and focused on hitting the ball with my usual in-to-out swing and guess what? Nice, high, arcing draw. Set up again, repeat, same result! Didn’t matter what club I used, I got the same result with woods and irons.

    Tom, I think you may have just helped me to achieve the shot shape I was looking for with one (very) simple adjustment!!

    • Tom Stickney

      May 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Rich– awesome!!! Love it. Sometimes a photo makes things click.

  8. Naru

    May 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Another great article, Tom!
    As a natural fade hitter, hitting a push draw has been always a swing of my dream.
    I recently started to observe Rory McIlroy’s swing on YouTube. He hits a big push draw, just like your technique you mentioned, to maximize the distance off the tee.
    The whole concepts of opening club face and the swing path moving from inside-to-outside make sense. But when I try this, a straight push is the result; no ball moving right-to-left.
    Does this mean that my swing path isn’t coming from “inside enough”, or not swing “outside enough”?

    • Tom Stickney

      May 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks. The ball starts in the direction of the face and curves away from the path with a centered hit. If I had to guess your path isn’t far enough to the right

      • CD

        May 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

        How do you set the alignments? For example, do you prefer any of the following methods?
        A) set your stance right of starting line, and close the face in your grip (but still right of the target, and regrip it;
        B) do you set the face down to the starting line right of target, and stance to the right of that;
        C) ‘feel’ the path goes right of your starting line, feeling the face ‘wide right’ but ‘closed’
        D) aim the face at the target and aim your swing right

        I see A as potentially being more precise (no timing closure through the ball), but a lower trajectory pull draw, because of the regrip, but how do you know how much to close the face?; B seems good for a push draw from a square stance, with a more reliable starting direction, but I think the hands will want to over rotate/need timing because you haven’t re gripped it, and liable for a push – how far right do you set the stance?; C seems like a genuine push draw but a more precise, matter of feel, and easy to over/undercook it, especially under pressure, seems less margin for error; or D I feel like although this used to be the ‘old ball flight laws’ explanation for the pull hook away from the target, perhaps explains why the old ball flight laws worked 90% of the time, eg the face maybe tending to square itself to the more in to out path than staying square to the target?

        I have a hard time trial and error to see what works, and I’m asking what you prefer (or do differently as I’m sure your swing is more reliable.

        Thanks

  9. Ho Kim

    May 20, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Great article Tom!!! I used to play a big push hook for years and never completely understood why or how I was doing it but lost it over the last year bc of a swing change focused on accuracy and learning how to cut the ball. As I have gotten comfortable with the new swing I’ve been trying to get the draw back but have consistently been hitting a straight draw/pull hook but didn’t understand why this was happening. After reading this article the proverbial light bulb went off and it all made sense!!! Played 9 holes today and was consistently hitting a beautiful “proper draw” with ease and was able to apply the concepts to control a fade as well. Keep up the great work Tom!!!

    • Tom Stickney

      May 21, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Ho- thanks for the note sir! Golf is more fun when you can move the ball both ways at will. 🙂

  10. Chris

    May 20, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Hi Tom. That’s a great article and visual. The one thing that has always confused me is how your grip affects the impact direction. It seems most players that can really play a consistent draw have a pretty strong grip. I’ve always had a pretty weak left hand grip. It seems like if you want to hit the inside quadrant of the ball, you would want a weaker grip, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. If your grip is stronger, wouldn’t that tend to close the face too much at impact and cause a pull-hook?

    • Tom Stickney

      May 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      The stronger grip (in most average players) tends to move the blade into a more closed condition at impact. Couple that with a rightward path and you have a left miss potential.

  11. Rod

    May 20, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for explaining this in such a simple way. I was drawing the ball but suffering from a lot of straight draws and missing left of target. Then would get in even more trouble by closing the face more at impact and going waaaay left.
    It seemed strange to be focusing on an open face at impact but it works so effectively and every shot felt more controlled. I’ll look forward to getting the hang of it.

    • Tom Stickney

      May 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      It is a paradox in golfer’s minds for sure. Glad it’s working sir.

  12. Jeff

    May 20, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Great article Tom. Does the swing need be shallower? I feel like when I hit a nice stinging draw it is a shallower swing plane. Also are you firing the hands quicker or is the draw just a product of the same seeing path with the altered face angle? Thank you

    • tom stickney

      May 20, 2014 at 2:29 am

      Jeff– usually when you swing from the inside it tends to shallow out the AoA…shifting the path right of the face will allow the ball to move rt to left without you thinking too much about your release (for most players)

  13. Joseph Jones

    May 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

    As Tiger Woods states in his group tutorials at the range he has a very simple explanation as how to hit a consistent fade. He explained as follows: 1. Slightly open the club face at address. 2. Move the ball up in your stance from a ball and a half to two balls. 3. Move your back right foot forward and front foot back. 4. Swing along the path of your feet. I’m about an 6-8 handicap but couldn’t fade the ball to save my life. I watched that, went to the range the next day and I could hit from a 5-15 yard fade on command as well as a draw which is just the reverse of what he explained. Lowered my handicap to a 4 within a month. Great tip from the greatest ever.

    • cb

      May 20, 2014 at 2:07 am

      another great way to think about it for sure. it really depends on how a golfer feels comfortable achieving the proper setup. for example what you described is lining up square to a path that points left (assuming RH) of your target and open the face a tad. this creates an out to in path in relation to the target and the open face in relation to the path creates a pull fade. by moving the ball forward and then your back foot forward/front back, you have just lined up square to the left of your target with a slightly open face. opening your stance moves the ball back but since you move it forward you are keeping the ball in the same position in relation to your body. so by starting square than making those adjustments your perception is probably different than if you had lined up left initially but biomechanically it is the same. there are probably some run on sentences in there, sorry about that

    • tom stickney

      May 20, 2014 at 2:31 am

      Joseph– there are multiple ways players encourage a leftward swing path in efforts to fade the ball…this method is one of them. If it works for you then you’ve found your key. 🙂

  14. cb

    May 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    first off, love your articles Tom. second, i like how distinguish a “push” draw from a “true/straight” draw. like you said, too many golfers get confused when teachers don’t specify which one they are talking about. third, i think a lot of the setup/ description comes down to perception and what object a golfer uses for an identifier. for example, i can’t line up square to the target and have an in to out swing in reference with the target without moving ball position. but i could line up square to my path but have a closed face and have an in to in swing in relation to my path, and that would translate into an in to out swing with an open face in relation to my target. just a thought,again love your articles

    • Tom Stickney

      May 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Thx cb…push draw starts rt of the pin and falls to the pin.

  15. RI_Redneck

    May 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Your path in relation to your body alignment should not change. This is where people screw up. They try to change their path and it doesn’t feel right. The only things that should change are your body alignment in relation to the target and the clubface alignment to the target.

    BT

  16. West

    May 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I don’t think it’s the physics/geometry that people have problems understanding when it comes to how to hit a draw…It’s the actual biomechanics needs to pull the shot off that makes it so difficult. The “in-to-out” path is just hard and “unnatural” for a lot of people, and fights many of our natural swing mechanics…

    • Tom Stickney

      May 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      West–

      Couldn’t agree more; however sometimes having a clear visual of impact dynamics can help break down the wall.

  17. bootscrilla

    May 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    This is the best article I’ve read in my two years on this site. My path is pretty inside out and I couldn’t figure out why I was missing left so much even when I felt as if the face was square at impact. I played after reading this and tried to keep the face a bit open, instant results! Can’t thank you enough.

  18. TwoWolvez

    May 19, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    With the proper push draw setup, where should your feet, hips and shoulders face? Along the path of the target (causing open club face, so I assume this is correct) or the swing path (closing club face and assuming this is wrong)?

    I ask because its hard to make that in to out swing path. I have seen setups that say to aim to right of target so you are making a straight swing, but I know this means the club face is closed in this set up. Does that basically cause a pull draw? Or is it a hook?

    Is there anything additional to do with your setup to help promote an inside to outside swing path while maintaining body facing target line and club face open to target?

    Thanks!

    TwoWolvez

    • Tom Stickney

      May 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Aiming rt is the easiest way from what you’ve said. Don’t close the face as much at address as well.

  19. Lars

    May 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Tom! I always enjoy reading your articles.

    By open clubface, you mean open relative to the target, rigth? Open to the target and closed to the path?

    Also, in order to achieve an inside to outside path you are just aiming to the right of the target?

    • Steff

      May 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Both are relative to the target or where you are aiming.

      The inside-out plane is relative to the target or where you are aiming. I tip for hitting a draw is to take your stance to the target. Make sure the clubface is pointed to the target, then swing the club to a point that is right of the target. If you do this correctly you will have a square clubface at impact and an inside-out swing path. Start there and learn to controll the draw.

      • Tom Stickney

        May 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm

        Steff–

        Be careful. You don’t want a square face at impact- it must be rt of the target or you’ll tend to miss your target left

        • Steff

          May 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm

          What I meant with ” Start there and learn to controll the draw” was that if he does that correctly he will notice that he misses left and then adjust.

    • Tom Stickney

      May 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Thx. Just like in the photo…face is rt of target and left of path. Shifting the path to the right can be achieved in many different ways…aiming rt can accomplish that.

  20. Ryan

    May 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    A draw is something I’ve been working on so I was excited to see this article. Do you have any youtube videos you might suggest?? I’m a visual learner and it really helps to see things. Thanks!

  21. Sims

    May 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I understand the basic principles that you are explaining, but I don’t know how you could possibly work on this without a trackman? I have no problem drawing the ball so I must be consistently in to out. But, I cant hit a fade to save my life. I open the blade, stance, shoulders and I hit screaming double cross pull hooks. Could you explain what I need to work on to properly hit a fade?

    • Steff

      May 19, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      You have to exaggerate. Open the club with the grip and exaggerate an outside-in path. Do this until you learn to control your swing path and the clubface at impact.

      • Tom Stickney

        May 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

        Agree steff…go back to being a kid in the range. Hit big hooks and big slices to understand the feels.

    • RiesePING

      May 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Everything you have for a fade is perfect except for one crucial step. Your swing path should be outside to inside. With the aspects you have listed, an inside to outside swing path will still produce a draw/hook. Hope this helps!

      • Tom Stickney

        May 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        Ries–

        You can curve the ball to the right with an in to out swing path if the face is right of the path.

    • Tom Stickney

      May 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Sims–

      Work on curving the ball around the stick from left to right. You will feel like you are holding on to it in efforts to curve the ball back to the left. If you double cross it your face is left of the path..could come from a grip or face issue at the top etc.

    • stephen lee

      May 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      to hit a fade, it must be right opposite to the draw.
      1) feet set up neutral to the target.
      2) club path left of the target at impact
      3) club face left of the target and right of the path. (so club face pointing in between target line and club path)

      you said you make draw shot easy so it must be a little hard for you to curve the ball the other way because even if you know the formula for the curvature, what you try to achieve the shot might not be enough to hit that shot. I bet you try to have path out to in but in reality you have in to out with face pointing to target or left of the target so you cant produce a fade. what you think and feel might not be enough in reality. you must have feed back on what you are trying such as a coach or trackman or at least a camera.

      • Tom Stickney

        May 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm

        I would suggest moving the aim more left…makes it easier to shift the path left of the face

  22. Dave S

    May 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Great article Tom. I suffer from the “straight draw” and “pull hook” as my natural ball flight is right to left. Everyone tells me this is a good thing and a sign that you’re close to being good since it’s a tougher ball flight to achieve (as you noted), but I tell them that a nasty hook is far worse than a nasty slice… the ball doesnt stop when it hits the ground!

    Based on your article, I assume my problem is that I’m closing the clubface too much relative to the path. I used to have a slice and one of the thing I did to get rid of it was to use a much stronger grip in conjunction with trying to eliminate my out-to-in path, which worked, but now I think it’s gone too far the other way. Any tips for keeping the face more open to the path to promote a more regular draw?

    • Tom Stickney

      May 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Dave–

      Go to the range and practice hitting big hooks and big cuts…then work on tightening the curvature up. It will take time but educating your hands will help.

      • Dave S

        May 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        Thanks Tom. Never thought about it that way, but sounds logical.

  23. chad ryan

    May 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Everytime i go to a golf store i hit balls and my flight says “push draw” and i always thought it was saying it was a bad thing. I feel relieved after reading this 🙂

  24. Tom Stickney

    May 19, 2014 at 11:56 am

    PS: this article was written as if your path was a constant in to out. The next part will address out to in paths with different face alignments. Maybe I should have made that more clear in the article?

  25. Sébastien D'Amour

    May 19, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Great article. I was thought that a pull hook was the result of a closed club face with a cutting swing path.

    • Tom Stickney

      May 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

      If you swing out to in and have a face that is left of the path you will hit the huge dive bomb hook as well.

      • Bobby

        May 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

        Tom, usually I get a natural fade with my driver, the ball starts left of the target and will then curve a little to the right towards the target.

        This is not something that I am doing, but just what I get with my swing.

        Is a draw better than a fade or should I just stick with the fade I have …

        • Tom Stickney

          May 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm

          Easier to stick with your natural swing pattern unless it poses a problem…ie lack of distance or poor consistency etc.

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