More driving distance is always a major factor in improving golf performance. Change the shape of your shot to hit it farther.
A 'draw' golf shot is a shot for a right handed golfer that is a controlled small curve that starts to the right of the intended target and curves in the air to the left, back towards the target. This is reversed for a left handed golfer where the ball starts out to the left and curves back to the right towards the target.
There is a definite myth as to why the golf ball travels further with a draw shot. Many golfers think that with a draw shot the ball travels lower with top spin and then rolls further when it hits the floor. This is not true as it is impossible to put top spin on the golf ball otherwise it would never get airborne. Every shot has to have some sort of backspin on the ball as this is the force that keeps the ball in the air. Additionally, if the ball rolls along the floor for an extended amount of time, the friction of the ground slows the ball down and reduces the distance that the ball will travel.
The real reason why a draw shot creates more distance is that a draw action swing gains more club head speed through the impact area from a better sling shot into the ball. In a draw swing, the club head travels around the body approaching the golf ball in a tight circle from behind the hips, travels close to the legs and then into the ball. The arms and club can then extend to the target while the hands rotate over each other turning the club face through the ball. These actions mean that the peak speed of the golf swing occurs as the golf club strikes the ball through the fastest two movements of the body - the legs and hands.
First point of speed - The legs drive the golf club into the golf ball, through the hips and slingshot the golf club in an arc towards the ball.
Second point of speed - The hands rotate through the ball letting the golf club overtake the hands meaning the club head is travelling much faster than the body.
As an exercise and to see the speed that these movements produce, put the ball on a tee and take a very small half swing to approximately hip height making sure that the club head swings to the ball from behind the body. Gently swing the club from this position and roll or rotate the hands over, through the ball. When rotating the hands, check to see that both forearms cross over one another. If this movement is timed correctly, the ball should fly fairly low, in a right to left shape (for right handed golfers), and a surprisingly long distance although this may take some practice as it can be difficult to make good contact with such a small swing at first. Once this has been done, bring the legs into the movement. As the hands bring the golf club to the ball, bring the back knee through at the same time as the hands. This movement allows the whole body to turn into the ball together but with the hands and legs providing the power and driving the club through the ball. All through this exercise there should be no effort in the swing and the focus should be on timing the hands and legs so that they drive through the ball together. With a little practice, up to 80% of normal swing speed can be put into the ball!
Use this drill to understand speed and how a draw shot reduces effort but gains distance.
Seniors Can Benefit from Right to Left Draw Shot
Despite some of the limitations that come along with age, golf remains a great game for seniors. Many seniors relish the chance to get outside for a few hours while playing a round of golf, and the game provides an excellent opportunity for social interaction – something that can be harder and harder to find later in life. Of course, seniors don't have to be out on the course only for fresh air and socializing, as older players can continue to strive for low scores as long as they keep playing this game.
To play well into your senior years, it is important that you think strategically about your game. One of the biggest challenges you are sure to face is a gradual loss of distance over the years. All human beings lose strength as they age – that is just part of life. So, as your strength diminishes, it can be tough to keep hitting the golf ball a distance which will allow you to play well. With that in mind, it is a good idea to think about using a draw as your primary ball flight. When you draw the ball from right to left (for a right-handed golfer), you will maximize the distance you can produce based on your swing speed. While younger golfers might be able to afford to sacrifice a few yards by hitting a fade, that isn't a choice that most seniors can afford to make. Work on turning the ball over shot after shot and your average distance should be improved.
In addition to distance, there are plenty of other benefits often associated with playing a draw. In this article, we are going to cover all of the various advantages that you can gain through the use of a draw shot. Also, we will get into some of the details on how you can work on producing your own draw, as this is a shot that proves to be a struggle for many amateur golfers. Even if you have always played a fade (or a slice) throughout your golfing life, don't give up on the idea of turning your ball flight into a draw. There is nothing magical about creating a draw, despite what some amateur golfers seem to believe - it just comes down to solid technique and plenty of practice.
As a senior golfer, it is important that you continue to strive toward lower scores and better shots. Even if you play mostly for the social aspect of the game, working to improve will keep you interested and engaged on the course for years to come. Just hitting the same shots over and over again is sure to get boring at some point. Setting goals is a great way to keep your mind engaged, and golf is one of the best sports in the world for goal setting. Establish a target for yourself, hit that mark, and then move on to the next. It is the never ending process of improvement that has allowed golf to remain such a popular game for generations.
All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
Why Does a Draw Travel Farther than a Fade?
It was stated above that a draw is going to offer you more distance than a fade, which is why you should consider using a draw as a senior golfer. But why is that the case? What is it about a draw that is going to provide you with more distance, even at the same swing speed? There are actually a few reasons why you should find that your draws will travel farther than your fades. Check out the list below for a better understanding of this topic.
- Powerful attack from the inside. In order to produce a draw, you are going to need to attack the ball from the inside. That means swinging the club through impact in a way that has the club moving from inside-out, which is a powerful way to go through the hitting area. This kind of approach will let you use more of your strength at impact, transferring as much energy as possible from your swing into the ball. That is not going to be the case when you hit a fade, most likely. Most golfers who hit a fade release the club early in the downswing. With the release wasted early, those same players drag the club through the hitting area, creating weak contact and a shot that floats off to the right. In this case, the fade swing would actually have a lower swing speed through the hitting area, as that early release will cause your potential power to be lost. By attacking from inside the ball, you should be able to hold your release longer, and you will have more energy to transfer to the ball as a result.
- Less backspin. One of the problems with using a fade is the fact that a shot which fades is almost always going to have more backspin than a shot which draws. Again, this comes down to the path that you take through impact. With a draw swing, your club will be coming into impact on a relatively shallow angle, reducing the overall backspin rate of the shot. On the other hand, fades are usually hit with a steep downward path, causing the ball to have an extremely high backspin rate. While this might be good for stopping your approach shots on the greens, it is bad for distance. Specifically, this type of swing path is going to be a problem with the driver. Your drives are likely to climb high into the air when hit with a fade swing, costing you distance in the end. To produce a flat, penetrating ball flight which heads as far down the fairway as possible, work on swinging from inside-out to create a controlled draw.
- Added roll. Thanks to the reduced backspin rate on your shots, you should also expect your draws to roll out farther than your fades after they land. This is another point that is going to benefit you specifically from the tee. By allowing your drives to bounce and roll after they land, you should be able to find plenty of extra distance – as much as 15 or 20 yards in some cases. A fade simply has too much backspin to get much of a roll out in the fairway, so you will usually see left to right tee shots stop quickly after they land. Hitting a fade for control off the tee might work for a younger player who can afford to sacrifice a bit of distance, but that is unlikely to be a good plan for you as a senior golfer. Instead, work on hitting a draw to squeeze every last possible yard out of your driver.
When you add it all up, a draw has the potential to travel significantly farther than a fade. The exact distance difference between these two shots will vary from player to player, but even a small gain is a gain worth taking. Nearly every senior golfer can benefit from adding a bit of distance to their shots, and doing so just might be as simple as switching your ball flight from a fade to a draw.
Other Benefits of a Draw
For most people, it is the distance gains that are going to be the main motivation for switching to a draw. With that said, it is worth noting that there are a few other advantages to playing a right to left ball flight. When you combine these added benefits with the additional distance that most players will achieve, it is easy to see why so many golfers strive to create a reliable draw within their own games. If you are thinking about making the change from a fade to a draw, you can look forward to seeing the following points show up in your game once the switch is made.
- Handle the wind. Wind can present a challenge on the golf course, obviously, but you will be better prepared to deal with that challenge when you play a draw. This is yet another point that comes down to reduced backspin rate. Your shots are going to be 'eaten up' by the wind when you put a high rate of backspin on the ball, which is exactly what you will do when hitting a fade. However, if you can produce a draw, your backspin rate will come down and your ball will have a better chance to cut through the breeze. You will still need to respect the power of the wind, but you won't have to be quite as afraid of it as you would if you hit a fade.
- Access back hole locations. A hole cut in the back section of the green can be tough to reach with a fade. Since you aren't going to get much in the way of bounce and roll from a fade, you will have to fly the ball all the way back to the target in order to set up a short putt. Flying the ball that deep into the green creates risk, as you could hit the ball clean over the putting surface if your shot carries just a few yards too long. A better option is to play a draw into the middle of the green, allowing bounce and roll to take you the rest of the way. This method takes much of the risk out of the shot, yet still leaves open the possibility of setting up a short birdie putt.
- Get out of trouble. Having a draw ball flight available is a nice advantage when you need to get the ball out of trouble quickly. For instance, imagine you have hit a poor tee shot, and your ball has come to rest among some trees. If you play a fade, you will have trouble hitting the kind of low shot that is usually needed to get out of the trees safely. A draw is perfect for this situation, however, as it allows you to play a low shot which will then keep running toward the target after it lands. Things never go perfectly on the golf course, so it is always nice to be prepared with shots that are well-suited for getting you out of trouble and back on the short grass as soon as possible.
- Master the pitch and run. Switching the discussion to the short game for a moment, a draw swing path is a great way to produce a pitch and run shot. Sure, you could hit a fade with your full swing and still use a draw path in the short game, but using the draw swing for both shots will simplify your life on the course. The pitch and run is a highly useful shot in a number of short game settings, so be sure to work on this play during your practice sessions. Simply swinging the club slightly from inside-out should produce a pitch shot which flies low, takes a big bounce, and runs out toward the target.
There is a lot to like about using a draw – that much should be obvious by this point in the article. Distance is always going to be a big attraction to this ball flight, but the list above proves there are even more ways you can benefit when you decide to stick with a right to left ball flight.
Creating Your Own Draw
Assuming you are now convinced that a draw is the right ball flight for your game as a senior player, it is now time to work on actually bringing that shot to life. If you have been playing a face for years, it is going to take some time and effort to shift the shape of your shots on a permanent basis. However, the effort will be worth it when you see how quickly your game can improve thanks to the draw you will be left with in the end.
Since all golf swings are unique, it would be impossible to tell you exactly what you need to change in order to hit a draw. You are going to have to experiment with a variety of different adjustments to your technique until you see the ball start to turn over consistently. With that said, we can provide you with some great starting points. Use the tips below to guide your practice sessions and you should soon uncover the draw that has been hiding within your swing all along.
- Strengthen your grip. You are going to need a full, free release in order to produce a consistent draw. To aid that release, consider turning your left hand slightly to the right on the grip. A stronger left-hand grip is going to make it easier to release the club through impact. Of course, your two hands should be working together on the grip at all times, so always adjust your right hand to match the position of your left before taking a swing. Ideally, you should have your palms facing each other, with the grip in between. Give yourself some time to experiment with different grip positions before settling on one which is comfortable and allows you to fully release the club head through the ball.
- Open your right foot at address. It is vital that you are able to make a full turn when you are trying to hit a draw. A partial shoulder turn will make it nearly impossible to get behind the ball enough to attack from the inside – so you will inevitably wind up with a fade or a slice. To make it easier to turn, open up your right foot slightly at address. Many seniors struggle to make a great turn due to a loss of flexibility, but you can get some of your turn back by making this simple adjustment. Even opening your right foot by just a few degrees can do wonders for your shoulder turn.
- Quiet hands early in the swing. Many amateur golfers use their hands too actively in the takeaway, and they wind up with the club stuck to the inside as a result. This is a problem because an inside takeaway usually leads to an over-the-top move during the transition – and a slice when all is said and done. Eliminate this mistake by taking your hands out of the equation during the takeaway. Use your shoulders to move the club and allow your hands to simply go along for the ride. They will naturally get involved later in the backswing, but they don't need to be doing anything at the start. Nearly every professional golfer in the world keeps his or her hands quiet early in the backswing, and you should be doing the same.
- Swing through with confidence. Sometimes, the ability to produce a draw can come down to something as simple as your mindset. You need to be confident as you swing down through impact if you are going to produce a draw, because a tentative swing will lack the necessary release. Commit yourself to every swing, and trust that you will be able to execute properly. Build up your confidence by hitting plenty of quality draws on the range so you can believe in yourself when it is time to do it out on the course.
It may not be particularly easy to change your ball flight to a draw, but it will be a rewarding process for any serious golfer. You will love seeing the progress that you make day after day as you practice, and the real payoff will come when you start to see lower scores on your card.
Throughout this article, we have been praising the benefits of using a draw as a senior golfer. And it is true – the draw is a great ball flight for senior players, thanks to the distance it offers, along with the many other benefits. However, no ball flight is perfect, and that is true of a draw as well. For instance, draw shots can be harder to control in some circumstances, as they won't let you stop the ball as quickly as you could with a fade. If you play on a course with firm greens, you might find that your draw makes it difficult to stop the ball close to certain hole locations. Using a draw as a senior golfer is still going to be the preferred option overall, but you shouldn't be led to believe that it is perfect.
As you may be able to guess, the ideal ball flight plan for a senior player is likely to be a blend of draws and fades. Specifically, players who use a draw from the tee and a fade from the fairway will often enjoy the best of both worlds. You will have access to the additional distance of a draw when you hit your drives, and you will have the control of a fade on your approach shots. Blending these two ball flights to develop your overall game will make you a quality player who is able to handle a variety of course styles and conditions.
Of course, using both draws and fades in your game is something that is easier said than done. You will need a high skill level, in addition to plenty of practice time, in order to put this plan into action. Even some of the best players in the world have trouble curving the ball both ways on command, so you shouldn't expect perfection from yourself in this pursuit. However, if you can manage to assemble this kind of game, you should be able to look forward to impressively low scores for years to come.
In the end, a draw is going to be better than a fade for the majority of senior players. From extra distance on to the many other benefits we mentioned earlier in the article, a draw is a ball flight that can serve you well. Whether you decide to stick with a draw for all of your shots, or you attempt to blend draws and fades to optimize your game, you will be a better player for having the ability to turn the ball from right to left. Good luck!