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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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Instruction

The Wedge Guy: Short game tempo

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One of my favorite things to do is observe golfers closely, watching how they go about things from well before the shot to the execution of the swing or stroke. Guess the golf course has become kind of like going to the lab, in a way.

One thing I notice much too often is how “quick” most golfers are around the greens. It starts with grabbing a club or two from the cart and quickly getting to their ball. Then a few short jabs at a practice swing and usually a less-than-stellar result at a recovery.

Why?

If you are going to spend a morning or afternoon on the course, why hurry around the greens? I tend to be a fast player and despise five-hour rounds, but don’t fault anyone for taking a few seconds extra to get “right” with their recovery shot. You can still play “ready golf” and not short yourself in the close attention to execution. But let me get back to the specific topic.

Maybe it’s aggravated by this rush, but most golfers I observe have a short game tempo that is too quick. Chips, pitches and recoveries are precision swings at less than full power, so they require a tempo that is slower than you might think to accommodate that precision. They are outside the “norm” of a golf swing, so give yourself several practice swings to get a feel for the tempo and power that needs to be applied to the shot at hand.

I also think this quick tempo is a result of the old adage “accelerate through the ball.” We’ve all had that pounded into our brains since we started playing, but my contention is that it is darn hard not to accelerate . . . it’s a natural order of the swing. But to mentally focus on that idea tends to produce a short, choppy swing, with no rhythm or precision. So, here’s a practice drill for you.

  1. Go to your practice range, the local ball field, schoolyard or anywhere you can safely hit golf balls 20-30 yards or less.
  2. Pick a target only 30-50 feet away and hit your normal pitch, observing the trajectory.
  3. Then try to hit each successive ball no further, but using a longer, more flowing, fluid swing motion than the one before. That means you’ll make the downswing slower and slower each time, as you are moving the club further and further back each time.

My bet is that somewhere in there you will find a swing length and tempo where that short pitch shot becomes much easier to hit, with better loft and spin, than your normal method.

The key to this is to move the club with the back and through rotation of your body core, not just your arms and hands. This allows you to control tempo and applied power with the big muscles, for more consistency.

Try this and share with all of us if it doesn’t open your eyes to a different way of short game success.

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The Wedge Guy: The core cause of bad shots

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You are cruising through a round of golf, hitting it pretty good and then you somehow just hit an absolutely terrible shot? This isn’t a problem unique to recreational golfers trying to break 80, 90, or 100 — even the best tour professionals occasionally hit a shot that is just amazingly horrible, given their advanced skill levels.

It happens to all of us — some more frequently than others — but I’m convinced the cause is the same. I call it “getting sloppy.”

So, what do I mean by that?

Well, there was a USGA advertising campaign a while back feature Arnold Palmer, with the slogan “Swing Your Swing.” There’s a lot of truth to that advice, as we all have a swing that has — either frequently or occasionally – produced outstanding golf shots. While there is no substitute for solid mechanics and technique, I’ve always believed that if you have ever hit a truly nice golf shot, then your swing has the capacity to repeat that result more frequently than you experience.

The big question is: “Why can’t I do that more often?”

And the answer is: Because you don’t approach every shot with the same care and caution that you exhibit when your best shots are executed.

To strike a golf ball perfectly, the moon and stars have to be aligned, regardless of what your swing looks like. Your set-up position must be right. Your posture and alignment have to be spot-on. Ball position has to be precisely perfect. To get those things correct takes focused attention to each detail. But the good news is that doing so only takes a few seconds of your time before each shot.

But I know from my own experience, the big “disrupter” is not having your mind right before you begin your swing. And that affects all of these pre-shot fundamentals as well as the physical execution of your swing.
Did you begin your pre-shot approach with a vivid picture of the shot you are trying to hit? Is your mind cleared from what might have happened on the last shot or the last hole? Are you free from the stress of this crazy game, where previous bad shots cause us to tighten up and not have our mind free and ready for the next shot? All those things affect your ability to get things right before you start your swing . . . and get in the way of “swinging your swing.”

So, now that I’ve outlined the problem, what’s the solution?

Let me offer you some ideas that you might incorporate into your own routine for every shot, so that you can get more positive results from whatever golf swing skills you might have.

Clear your mind. Whatever has happened in the round of golf to this point is history. Forget it. This next shot is all that matters. So, clear that history of prior shots and sharpen your focus to the shot at hand.

Be precise in your fundamentals. Set-up, posture, alignment and ball position are crucial to delivering your best swing. Pay special attention to all of these basics for EVERY shot you hit, from drives to putts.

Take Dead Aim. That was maybe the most repeated and sage advice from Harvey Penick’s “Little Red Book”. And it may be the most valuable advice ever. Poor alignment and aim sets the stage for bad shots, as “your swing” cannot be executed if you are pointed incorrectly.

See it, feel it, trust it. Another piece of great advice from the book and movie, “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days In Utopia”, by Dr. David Cook. Your body has to have a clear picture of the shot you want to execute in order to produce the sequence of movements to do that.

Check your grip pressure and GO. The stress of golf too often causes us to grip the club too tightly. And that is a swing killer. Right before you begin your swing, focus your mind on your grip pressure to make sure it isn’t tighter than your normal pressure.

It’s highly advisable to make these five steps central to your pre-shot routine, but especially so if you get into a bad stretch of shots. You can change things when that happens, but it just takes a little work to get back to the basics.

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Stickney: To stack or not to stack at impact?

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As you look at the impact positions of the best players in the world, you will find many different “looks” with respect to their body and club positions. Some of these impact positions might even appear unique, but don’t be fooled. They all have one thing in common: preserving the players’ balance throughout the impact interval! In fact, if you are not in-balance, then you will lose power, consistency, and have trouble controlling your launch dynamics from shot to shot.

This balance is a necessary key to playing well and one area that can be easily understood with a few graphics shown on GEARS 3D. As you examine the photo in the featured image, you can see a few things:

  • The player on the left has “fallen” backwards through impact slightly moving his head out of the circle established at address
  • The player on the right is more stacked at impact — meaning that his chest, zipper and hands are all in the same place at the same time (within reason)
  • The player on the left has reached this same position in the swing with different segments of the body reaching the ball at different times
  • There will be a difference of impact shaft lean between the two players due to one player reaching impact “together” and the other shoving his hands more forward as he falls back
  • The player on the right is more “connected” through impact…won’t be the longest hitter but will be able to find the ball in the fairway more often
  • The player on the left is putting more pressure on the rear portion of the lower back which could have a potential for injury if he’s not careful

Now, obviously there are pro and cons to both positions. Overall, if you want to be consistent and in-balance more often that not, I would suggest you try your best to focus on being “stacked” when you hit the ball.

Let’s dive in a touch deeper to show you what happens physiologically on 3D when you fall back through impact and I think it will really drive the point home.

  • At address notice the Vertical Spine Number 96.2, this is showing us where the spine is positioned at address
  • You can see the head is in the center of the bubble

  • On the way to the top of the swing you can see that the spine has moved “away” from the target laterally a slight bit to 98 degrees
  • The head has dropped downward and has also moved laterally as well- more lean over the right leg to the top

Now here is where the problem comes in…as you work your way to the top, it’s ok of your head moves a touch laterally but in transition if it stays “back” while your hips run out from under you then you will begin to fall backwards on the way to your belt-high delivery position.

  • We can see at the delivery position that the spine has continued to fall backwards as the hips rotate out from under the upperbody
  • When this happens the hands will begin to push forward- dragging the handle into the impact zone
  • Whenever you have too much spin out and fall back the hands move forward to accommodate this motion and this reduces your Angle of Attack and decreases your dynamic loft at impact
  • This will cause balls to be hit on the decent of the club’s arc and reduce loft making shots come out lower than normal with a higher spin rate and that means shorter drives

Now let’s examine impact…

  • The player on the left has reached impact in a more disconnected fashion versus the player on the right as you compare the two
  • The player on the right has a shaft lean at impact that is less than a degree (.75) while the player on the left has a much more noticeable forward lean of the shaft thereby reducing dynamic loft at impact

  • The player on the left’s spine has moved from 96.2 to 112.9, a difference of 16.7 degrees while the player on the right has only moved back a few degrees. We know this because his head has stayed in the bubble we charted at address
  • The hips have run out from under the player on the left in the downswing and this causes the head to fall back more, the hands to push forward more, and the impact alignments of the club to be too much down with very little dynamic loft (as also shown in the photo below)

Whenever the hips turn out from under the upper body then you will tend to have a “falling back effect of the spine and a pushing forward of the hands” through impact.  Notice how the hips are radically more open on the player on the right versus the left- 27.91 versus 42.42 degrees.

So, now that we can see what happens when the hips spin out, you fall back, and you fail to be “stacked” at impact let’s show you a simple way you can do this at home to alleviate this issue.

  

  • A great drill to focus on being more stacked at impact is to make slow motion swings with the feeling that the upper portion of your arms stay glued to your chest
  • These shots will be full swings but only 20% of your total power because the goal here is connection which allows everything to reach impact together and in-balance
  • The second thought as you make these swings is to pay attention to your head, if you can focus on allowing it to stay “over the top of the ball” at impact you will find that it will stay put a touch more so than normal. Now this is not exactly how it works but it’s a good feeling nonetheless
  • Once you get the feeling at 20% speed work your way up to 50% speed and repeat the process. If you can do it here then you are ready to move up to full swings at top speed

Finally, don’t forget that every golfer’s hips will be open at impact and everyone’s head will fall back a touch — this is fine. Just don’t over-do it! Fix this and enjoy finding the ball in the fairway more often than not.

Questions or comments? [email protected]

 

 

 

 

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