MASTER YOUR DRIVE
How to draw it.
Josh Jeffers, GolfTEC Certified Personal Coach, GolfTEC Fort Myers
It is no mystery that throughout golf’s history, the game’s best players have typically played a draw ball flight, where the ball starts to the right of the target and curves back towards the target. There are no better examples of this than those who have won the prestigious green jacket at The Masters…Sam Snead in 1949, Fred Couples in 1992, Tiger Woods’ first Masters victory in 1997, and Zach Johnson ten years later in 2007. While this is not to say that those golfers who play a fade can’t win a green jacket, as Jack Nicklaus proved this with his six green jackets, it does indicate that the course demands more of a draw ball flight off the tee box. The greens at Augusta National are so fast and tiered that to be able to hit greens and get in scoring position, you must put yourself in position off the tee box. At Augusta, a draw ball flight fits the necessary shot shape for the majority of the par 4s and par 5s.
Many of today’s great players also play a draw ball flight. Golf is a game of distance and at the tour level of play a draw ball flight allows you to hit the ball further. Having an 8-iron in your hands vs a 6-iron is a huge advantage to have on the competition. Again, you do not need to play a draw to play good golf. However, most of the game’s recreational players would give their little pinky finger to play a draw, rather than a pull or push slice. Therefore, as we approach The Masters, let’s take a closer look at the basic motions needed to play a draw ball flight.
The first and most important step every golfer must understand is conceptually how a draw is produced. The good news is that the answer is very simple. To hit a shot that starts to the right and curves back to the left, the club path must be moving to the right or on an “in-to-out” path through the hitting area. The clubface must be slightly closed relative to the path of the club. Review the illustration to the left for a visual.
The purpose of this is to provide you with some general keys to hitting a draw. There are multiple components that are involved and if any of them are incorrect it may hurt your ability to draw the ball consistently…or even at all.
- You need a grip that supports the goal at impact, which is to have the clubface slightly closed relative to the path. This means you need a grip where your lead hand is rotated over the top of the grip more and where the thumb is more on the right side of the handle.
- The club needs to move around your body, which comes from the turn of the shoulders and the inward motion of the arms, hands, and club in the backswing. Failing to do this will make it very difficult to get the club to swing on an in-to-out path through the hitting area.
- If the first two steps are in place, the last mandatory step is that your shoulders “stay back” as your lower body begins to shift and turn towards the target. If the upper body does not do this, the club will be put into a position where it must swing on an out-to-in path through the hitting area—the type of path that is a characteristic of a fade or slice ball flight.
As you incorporate these new techniques into your swing, take it slowly at first on the range and start with a 7-iron. Placing the ball on a tee helps, as it takes the ground out of the equation, while swinging at 50% will allow you to feel the differences in motion. As you improve curving the ball right to left, gradually increase your swing speed. Stay after it and you too will be able to hit the ball flight of the game’s best players…past and present!