How to Hit a Draw
I will admit it, a lesson about how to hit a draw is not exactly uncharted territory. But despite every golf magazine promising to turn you into Bryson DeChambeau, most golfers still slice the ball off the tee. Part of that is a lack of practice, sure, but another large part is that most of the aforementioned lessons are trash. In this lesson, I’m going to explain the simple science of why the ball curves left and offer some practical tips for how to make it do that more often.
This Lesson Is For You If:
You want to hit a draw
You want to stop hitting a slice
My series on ball flight laws [find it HERE] is over six years old, but the facts haven’t changed. Here are the Cliff’s Notes for hitting a draw:
- For the ball to curve left, the club face needs to be pointed more left at impact than the club path.
- With a wood or hybrid, hitting the ball on the toe side of the center of gravity will promote a draw.
The Science – Dive Deeper
If you want to get a little deeper into the facts of ball flight, let’s dive in.
- The greater the difference between the club face and the club path, the more the ball will curve. For example: if your club path is +2 (“in-to-out”) and your face is square at impact, you will hit a small draw. If you keep that club face but make your path +6, you’re probably looking at a hook.
- The more loft a club has, the less it will curve, all else equal. You know this intuitively: it’s much easier to hook or slice your driver than your lob wedge.
- Your angle of attack impacts your club path. The more negative/down your angle of attack is at impact, the more rightward your path will be. There’s a full explanation with pictures HERE. Practically, this means that it’s generally easier to draw your irons than your driver.
- With regard to gear effect, the further the center of gravity (CoG) is from the ball, the more gear effect there will be. This is why your driver has a lot and your irons have very little.
- Finally, the CoG is not necessarily in the center of the club face. If your club is draw biased, the CoG is closer to the heel so more of the face will promote a draw. If you have adjustable weights, you can move the CoG to fit your needs.
Let’s Hit Some Draws
Before we change anything, we need to assess where you’re at right now. Your path or club face may already be perfect for hitting a draw, and we don’t want to change something that’s good.
Go to the range and set down an alignment stick or two [tips on this HERE]. Hit some shots and answer two questions:
- Relative to your target, where does the ball start?
- Which way does the ball curve?
Now, choose your adventure based on the answers to those questions.
If Your Shots Start On Target…
…that tells us that your club face is pointed at the target at impact. Congrats, that’s a great starting point.
Next, we look at curve. If the ball is not curving, stop reading and go play golf. If the ball is curving left, why are you reading an article about hitting a draw?
If the ball is curving right, that tells us that your club path is left of your club face (“out to in”). We can modify this a few different ways. One option is to set up differently. Align your club face to the target but aim your body (feet, hips, and shoulders – not just feet) to the right of the target.
Another set up option is to shift your entire set up (clubface and body) to the left. Now your shots will start left of target and curve right, back to the target. This is not wrong, this is not cheating. I would wager that there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who have played very good golf doing this.
The final option is to maintain your current alignment but swing “down the line” or “in to out.” This is a tough change that will take time. Set up an alignment stick on your preferred swing path and make practice swings “tracing” that line. Hit half speed shots and check where the ball starts and where it curves. If you lose control of your clubface or contact, slow it down and rehearse more.
If Your Shots Start Right of the Target…
…and curve left, you’re already hitting push-draws. Stop reading, go play golf. For everyone else, let’s dig in.
If you’re starting shots a little bit right of the target, and those shots don’t curve, a small tweak to your clubface is all you need. Work on closing the club face a little more at impact and the shots will start closer to target with a small draw. My preferred feel is turning my left hand counter-clockwise (palm up) into impact, but there are many other possibilities you can find success with.
If you’re starting shots a lot right of the target, and those shots don’t curve, the solution is the same. Get your clubface closer to square and you’ll have the shot pattern of your dreams. If your starting shots well right of target, DO NOT try to change your swing path.
Now, let’s deal with those shots that are starting right and curving right. First, if we’re talking about your driver, check your impact location. Moving your impact location away from the heel can be the fastest way to straighter, longer drives.
Assuming impact location isn’t the issue (or this isn’t a driver problem), we need to look at how far right the ball is starting. If you’re only starting the ball a little right of target, but it curves right, that is a swing path issue. Look at the last paragraph of the section above for some fixes. If you’re hitting shots that start far right and then curve, start by fixing the clubface, then tweak your path if necessary.
If Your Shots Start Left of the Target…
…you don’t want the ball to draw, because you’d end up in the land of pull-hooks, a very unhappy place indeed.
If you want to hit draws, the first thing you need to do is get your club face pointed at or right of the target at impact. For this, my preferred feeling is opening the clubface more in the backswing. I like to feel that my left hand is twisting clockwise fast and early in the swing, getting my club toe-up or face-up when the shaft is parallel to the ground. This is my preferred feel, but there are certainly other ways to do it. Once you have the ball starting at or right of the target, check your shots’ curvature and revisit the sections above to get it dialed in.
If your shots start left and curve right, you have two options. First, if the curvature is small, you can stop reading and play golf. However, if the ball starts far left and screams back across the fairway, you need to work on your path and clubface. What’s likely happening is that your body is using the club path to close the face because it doesn’t know how else to do it. If you have access to an impact bag (an old pillow can substitute, at low speed), make slow practice swings where you try to put the toe of the club into the bag. This is obviously a massive overcorrection, but it will teach your body how to close the clubface without swinging “over the top.” When you go to the range, see if your shot pattern has changed and form a new plan.
A Word of Warning
Before you start playing mad scientist with your swing, understand that the golf swing is a complex, interconnected thing. If you start moving your club path, you may lose control of your club face, or vice versa. Your contact may suffer.
Before you embark on a big change, understand that it will require patience and there may be some pain (read: bad shots, high scores) involved. If you choose to go down that road anyway, good luck and let us know how it goes.
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I’ve only ever played drivers with a draw setting in the hosel, never one with adjustable heel/toe weights. In your opinion, what is more effective? From what I understand a hosel adjustment just closes the face via a more upright lie angle, which works for me somewhat, but doesn’t produce a consistent draw. On bad driving days I still definitely can have a two way miss.
The more effective fix depends on the player’s problem. If the issue is impact location, weights are the fix. If you can’t close the face, the hosel adjustment is better.
Thanks, I basically hit a straight drive, and iron shots but they sometimes slice to the right. I would prefer to hit a little draw. Your suggestions may be the answer that i‘ve in need of. Thanks again 🏌️♂️
Matt: I read golf stuff everyday. This is one of the best, most detailed lessons, I’ve read! Thank you! You are hired!
Great article Matt on what happens. I have been a habitual slicer, but have worked on the in-to-out swing path to much better results. Far fewer trips to the trees, weeds and rough. My good drives are straight to slight power fade. The bad ones are fades that slide hard at the end. Long irons usually have a slight fade – but I now part of the problem. I tend to keep my weight on my rear foot (had a trans-met amputation of the toes of my left foot 4yrs ago (motorcycle wreck) that has my body trying to protect it from excess weight shift), still if I consciously start my swing weight forward, it becomes easier to unload my rear foot on the downswing with a weight forward finish. It has been hard to learn, but it has been a great step forward in promoting a neutral to inside-out swing. All that to say, everyone needs to click your hyperlink on the hulahoop/sharpie/alignment rod pics. It is a great visual of what happens on the swing plane and why what you said works.
Well done. Very clearly set out. Happy holidays from snowy 🇨🇦
Thanks for the clear and perfect explanation of path vs face impact and how to fix it. This is especially useful because you describe the problem without the use of a simulator or other swing analyses. Those devices can be helpful obviously but the visual method you describe helps sharpen ones ability to self correct while playing.
I have a sky pro device and use it occasionally at the range and in a simulator. I can now use it more effectively.
On another note, I recently saw an article that stated categorically that swinging out to right field was an entirely wrong fix for a slice and that Trackman studies proved the “fact”. The author made the fix and trackman data so complicated so as not to be useful.
As you’ve stated before, the reference of swing left/right has to be stated in relation to face angle, as in right / left relative to what. As such, your article shows why swinging out to right field works to correct a slice — as long as the face is more left than your path. Now I finally get it thanks to the simple visual you used to demonstrate.
Thank you, and I’m glad you found the article helpful.
The article you reference is exactly why I wrote this. To me, saying, “Swinging to right field is WRONG!” is nothing but click bait. Is there an element of truth there? Sure, swinging to right field is no good if you lose control of your club face. But why say it in a way that makes people doubt the thing that could be their best fix? I’d rather give people the facts and a roadmap and let them find what works for their swing, even if it doesn’t get as many clicks.
And the main reason I react to the “swing out to the right is wrong” is because a a teacher here in Columbus uses that method to improve ball flight. His teaching includes 4 major swing components each taught and practiced for one week without hitting a ball. Over the 4 week period this re-grooves one’s swing – On the 5th week a ball finally gets in the way – and behold – my horrible tee box slice was gone. I now had a method to self-correct and every time my swing gets wonky, I go back to my instructors 4 fundamentals. Keeping it simple, golf is a lot of fun. But again, seeing that teaching come to life in your article was great reinforcement of the method and proof that the out to the right path works and why.
Hi Matt, I’ve been doing a “ladder drill” to good effect for a while (I may have found it on PIG): with 7 or 6 iron, I hit several shots to the left, manipulating the club face only. The several to the right, only adjusting the club path. Then I bring it all together with several shots using both club face and swing path. It’s not always a clean practice, so if needed, I just hit the ball 40 yds or so, gradually increasing my swing. I can do the same drill with every club in the bag.
I also do a “feet together” drill combined with this ladder drill. I learned all this from a great pro in Florida. J