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Learn to hit a draw in 2 easy steps

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For most club golfers, a ball that curves from left to right is common, but most golfers would prefer to move the ball the other way, or what’s described as a “draw” shot. By definition, a draw is when the ball starts to the right of the target line and curves left toward the target (for a right-handed golfer).

Photo 1

To really understand how to hit this shot, a golfer should know two things: club path, and what’s called the face-to-path relationship.

  • Club path: This is the direction that the club head is traveling through impact in relation to the target line. The variations are in-to-out (moving right of target), out-to-in (moving left of target) and neutral (moving straight at the target).
  • Face-to-path: This is the direction that the club face is pointing in relation to the club path at impact. To hit a draw, golfers need to produce an in-to-out club path (rightward) with a club face that is pointing leftward, or closed to the club path.

A good analogy I like to use for hitting a draw shot is imagining a right-footed soccer player bending a ball around a wall. As the player strikes the soccer ball, the foot will be traveling in a rightward direction in relation to the goal. The part of the foot that is striking the ball, however, will be pointing to the left of this in order to create the curve.

That’s the science! Now for two easy steps to help you start hitting draw shots.

Step 1: Creating a face that is closed to an in-to-out club path

The first thing to do is place a headcover in the position shown in the picture below (note: the photo is setup for a right-handed golfer). With the headcover in mind, strike some golf balls without striking the headcover. A careful positioning of the headcover will encourage you to deliver the club head on an in-to-out path.

Make an out-to-in delivery, and your headcover will be flying down the range!

Photo 2

Continue to hit balls while avoiding the headcover, while at the same time attempting to create a ball flight that is curving from right to left. Once this is achieved, you can be pretty sure that you are delivering a club face that is closed to an in-to-out club path.

“But sir, I don’t want to hook it,” you might be saying. I don’t want you to either, so here comes the next step.

Step 2: Controlling club face alignment

From modern day launch monitors, we have learned that the club face is the main influence on the starting direction of the ball. This changes slightly at times, but for simplicity let’s say that the ball will start pretty much where the club face is aiming at impact. Assuming centered contact, curve will then be produced as a result of the relationship that the face has with the club path. In this case, the closed relationship with the club path will create a right-to-left curve.

A draw shot starts right of the target line, and this means that the club face must be pointing to the right of the target line at impact. It sounds counterintuitive, but yes, a draw shot needs a club face that is OPEN to the target line at impact.

To practice this, place an alignment stick in the ground and attempt to hit balls that start to the right of the alignment stick and curve back to the left, toward the target. This exercise will help you explore the relationship of an in-to-out path with a closed face, with specific attention to starting the ball to the right of the target.

Photo 3

An important concept to understand

In both of the shots below, the club path is moving 5.2 degrees to the right (in to out). However, the key difference is the face angle.

Shot 1

Photo 4

In Shot 1, the face angle is pointing 1.2 degrees left of the target line (meaning the ball starts left of the target line).

Shot 2

Photo 5

In Shot 2, the face angle is pointing 2 degrees right of the target line (meaning the ball starts right of the target line).

In both shots, a closed face-to-path relationship was created. The key in the second shot, however, was that the club face was pointing right of target at impact, thus allowing the ball to start right and curve back toward the target.

What are the advantages of this exercise?

You may notice that ZERO technical information regarding positions or movements has been given. Instead, examples of task constraints have been provided.

“A task constraint is a boundary That encourages the learner to emerge with certain behaviors.”

Although that may sound complex, in simple terms the constraint of the headcover and alignment stick allow golfers to self discover how technique evolves from the exercise, as opposed to deliberately thinking about it. Within motor learning research, there is a ton of evidence for this type of constraints-led learning.

Unfortunately, your friends may not allow you to place your headcover by your ball in your Saturday match. With this in mind, try not to become reliant on the constraints and vary between using and not using them in practice.

Before you hit the range, remember: Club face pointing to the right and the path pointing farther to the right!

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Thomas is an Advanced UKPGA Professional and Director of the Future Elite (FUEL) Junior Golf Programme. Thomas is a big believer in evidence based coaching and has enjoyed numerous worldwide coaching experiences. His main aim to introduce and help more golfers enjoy the game, by creating unique environments that best facilitate improvement.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Dave Dudus

    Sep 5, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Works for me! Thanks.

  2. Phillip Akers

    Oct 15, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Class article, clear, concise and a change to read some factual information which is backed up by evidence….contrary to some ‘established’ coaches.

  3. Pingback: Learn the draw in 2 easy steps

  4. Wayde

    Oct 2, 2015 at 10:14 am

    A good tip is to buy a pool noodle (they’re dirt cheap); cut it in half, put one half over your alignment stick to protect it from the golf ball , and use the other half on the ground to form your swing path. It makes for a very strong visual.

  5. Shakers97

    Sep 26, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Whatever you do don’t have your club face open to the club path or you’ll be in a world of sh………

  6. KK

    Sep 25, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Great article, great summary!

  7. AJ

    Sep 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

    What about Angle of Attack? How does that play into hitting a draw? Is this to assume the AoA for the drills is 0? If I hit up with a driver vs hitting down with an iron what difference does this make? I hear so much about AoA, I’m curious how this plays a role into hitting a draw. Thanks.

    • Thomas Devine

      Sep 25, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      HI AJ…great question (and references the D plane). In theory, your swing direction could be zero and with a negative AoA, an ‘in to out’ path could be achieved. Does that make sense? The reason for the headcover in this exercise is due most slicers having a swing direction that is excessively left. In order to change, it is advantageous to attempt to move the swing direction rightwards.

  8. Jan

    Sep 25, 2015 at 6:33 am

    Hi, thanks for a great article. I’m struggling with the club face part. Feel that I can’t “leave” it open compared to the target line and in the same time have a free release. I have to hold it so to say… If I release the club freely, I hit a pull-fade. Could it be a problem with my grip, that it’s too strong?

    Best regards
    Jan from Sweden

    • Thomas Devine

      Sep 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Jan….I would not like to comment on your grip without seeing it. However, practising with the alignment stick should help you achieve the desired impact alignment for a draw. One exercise I would try is trying to start the ball as far right as possible to still curve it back leftwards. This will allow you to explore the necessary movements to achieve an open to target line club face with a path that is further right!

  9. John-Michael

    Sep 24, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I’ve been working on trying to hit a draw lately. The way I’ve been practicing hitting a draw is by closing my stance and swinging down my bodyline. Is practicing the way you detailed in the article a better method in learning how to hit a draw?

    • Rickard

      Sep 25, 2015 at 5:58 am

      This might produce what looks like a draw but in reality is a pull-draw (most of the time). It’s a bit old school, but hey, whatever works!
      I find these types of draw shots tend to lack the height and softness compared to a proper/modern draw, i e clubface relative open and altered swing path i relation to target line.

      The forward press also should be used, moving the ball backwards to promote inside path (relative to ball) should increase forward shaft lean as you open the face.
      Ball further back, more open face and hence more forward shaft lean, to create desired curvature and launch direction.

      Does it make sense? 🙂

    • Thomas Devine

      Sep 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Hi John-Michael….sure what you have mentioned can help you achieve and ‘in to out’ path with closed face….however just remember that if you return your club head aiming towards the target (at impact), then the ball will start online and curve left…using the alignment stick will for sure help you return the club face open to the target 🙂

  10. Tom

    Sep 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    This is my natural ball flight. Next article can you do how to hit a fade(cut) shot of which I can’t manage to save my life.

    • JMcDonough

      Sep 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      I second that.

    • Jack Slicer

      Sep 24, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      you take the same drill and do it in the opposite direction…

  11. DatSliceDoe

    Sep 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Been working on this all season with my teaching pro. Have yet to consistently get this to work with longer clubs. I get the sensation of an in to out path, but leaving the face open is something I’ve struggled with. I just feel that I need to flip my arms over to hit a draw. Guess opposites attract, so I’ll need to practice on leaving the face more open.

    • Thomas Devine

      Sep 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      If you are confident you are achieving an in to out path, then the alignment stick will for sure help you with your face control. Spend some time starting it to the right and trying to bring it back. Good luck!

    • Rickard

      Sep 25, 2015 at 6:07 am

      Make sure that as you move ball back in stance (and path) you apply an appropriate forward press, ideally with an open face.
      I stuggle a bit with this as well and for me it is my fear of forward press will result in pull hooks.
      But with a soft inside path, a little bit closed body setup at impact (relation to target line, to keep away the pull) and open face it actually produced a high soft draw, even with a 3-i.
      When I manage to sequence it correctly, that is! 🙂

  12. Steve Whitehead

    Sep 24, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Had a lesson with Tom recently and he had me hitting a real nice draw shot with a good clean contact on the ball by the end of the session. Great coach and highly recommended.

  13. Fred

    Sep 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    This clear presentation is quite helpful. And I assume doing just the opposite will result in a fade starting left and moving back to the target.

    • Thomas Devine

      Sep 24, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Absolutely Fred…change the positioning of the headcover for the fade. We want to create the opposite club path (out to in). And then go through the same process, however look to start the ball to the left of the stick and curve it right 🙂

  14. Tom Stickney

    Sep 24, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Good work

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Shawn Clement analyzes Tiger and Charlie Woods’ new golf swings

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Man, I am SO IMPRESSED with the progress and polish Charlie Woods has made with his golf swing in the last year; and boy it’s nice to see Tiger swinging and playing golf! Charlie still has the strong grip but a bit more tempered which allows him to stay more connected to the ground and streamline the efficiency in his golf swing and never taking away his ability to find his targets! Check it out!!

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I feel blessed to have spent my life in South Texas, where we have the luxury of playing golf year-round. Sure, we have some bad winter weather, but it usually only lasts a few days, then it’s back to the course, maybe with a light sweater or windbreaker . . . but oftentimes in shorts, even in December-February. One of the first things I had to learn when I got into the golf industry 40 years ago, was that so many of you have genuine seasonality to your golf – and actually “hang ‘em up” for months on end.

If you are one of those, or just any golfer who wants to get better in 2022, the great thing about this game is you can work on many improvements without even getting the golf ball involved. So, here are some ideas how you can improve your golf game indoors.

I have made it a life’s work to observe golfers of all skill levels to see what they do that either helps them hit quality golf shots with reliability . . . or what they do that practically makes it near impossible to do so. To me, what separates the better players from those that struggle are several core fundamentals – some have them down pretty darn tight, while others just do not seem to grasp them.

I’ve long believed that you can learn and ingrain these core fundamentals in the comfort of your own home, without even swinging a club. So, with that in mind, let me offer you some thoughts that might help you shrink that handicap, regardless of what it might be.

Learn a proper grip. I see so many recreational golfers who just do not hold the club in such a way that allows proper rotation and release of the hands through impact. The great golfers before us pretty much nailed that part of the process very early in their own learning curves and have shared that with us for decades. While you might prefer an overlap, interlock or ten-finger (not baseball) grip on the club, the fundamentals do not change much from one to the other. The club has to be held in the fingers, not the palms, in order for it to move properly through the swing. It really is that simple. Learn a proper grip and make it instinctive and you are taking a giant step to better golf. There are lots of good guides to a proper grip that can be found online, and even some great training grips that guide you to the correct hold on the club.

Build a proper setup. Again, anyone can learn how to put themselves in an athletic position that gives the body a solid starting point for the golf swing. There is no reason at all for anyone to ignore this solid fundamental. Watch the tour players – PGA and LPGA alike, and you will see very little “personalization” of this preparation for the golf swing. They all look almost identical – save for differences in height and weight – at the start of the golf swing. Again, refer to the internet and photos in magazines to see how the body should be positioned to set up a sound, fundamentally solid swing.
Understand the roles of the body and arms. From my observation, the vast majority of recreational golfers control the entire golf swing with the hands and arms, rather than the body core. That’s only “natural”, because you have a ball sitting there in front of you, and a club in your hands with which to hit it . . . makes sense to fully engage your master hand . . . but that isn’t what golf is about. Golf is about learning a powerful repeating swing, then learning how to set yourself up in such a way that the ball will be precisely in the way of the clubhead as you execute that swing.

I strongly suggest you watch and study slow-motion swing videos of accomplished tour professionals. These will show you what is fundamentally correct. From the start of the downswing, the sequence of body core rotation releases power from the legs to the hips to the core and shoulders, and the arms, hands and golf club are the “followers”, getting to the ball last.
The easiest way to learn the proper rotation of the body core in the golf swing is to cross your arms in front of you, holding a club against your chest. Feet shoulder width apart for balance. Now, rotate your body into the “backswing” until your shoulders are rotated as far as is comfortable, and you feel your weight moving to the inside of your back foot. Then rotate back to your left (for right hand players), starting with the knees/legs, then hips, then shoulders until you feel your weight move to the outside of your lead (left) foot. Do this rotation drill over and over and over until you really “nail it” without thinking about it. As you do, then tilt your upper body so that the club points downward with the shoulder tilt.

As you learn this feel of the body core being the driver and the arms/hands/club being the follower, you will make giant strides toward building a much better and more powerful golf swing.

There’s just no way I can give “lessons” in this blog, but I hope this made lots of sense to all of you. The more “perfect” you can make your grip, posture, and body core rotation, the more power and precision you will build into your golf swing.

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