Learning to hit a right-to-left shot (draw) with the driver can dramatically boost your distance off the tee.
While the driver is the most difficult club to draw, it can be done with proper fundamentals.
First off, a few words about the draw. It typically flies lower and rolls farther than its sibling, the fade (left-to-right); hence the added yardage. It can also be more difficult to control, especially if the draw devolves into a hook. All in all, it's a great shot to have in your arsenal, especially on straight holes and those that dogleg to the left.
Here's how it's done:
- Choose the spot in the fairway where you want the ball to finish and aim the clubface there.
- Align the feet and shoulders with the line you want the ball to start on, to the right of the target spot.
- Take a normal swing on the line where your body is pointed.
The effect is a swing that meets the ball from inside the target line, with a face that's closed in relation to the swing path. This imparts the right-to-left spin that creates a draw.
If you haven't practiced or mastered hitting draws with your irons or hybrids, work on them first to get the hang of it. The extra loft makes those clubs easier to draw than the driver.
Learn to Draw the Ball for Extra Driver Distance
The approach shots you hit on the golf course are all about accuracy. You want to be able to dial in the distance and the line of your shots so you can stop the ball as close to the hole as possible. When you are accurate with your approach shots, you will give yourself a good chance to shoot good scores.
On the other hand, drives are all about distance. Sure, you need to be able to hit the ball straight, but you want to maximize your power at the same time. Blasting the ball great distances down the fairway will enable you to hit shorter approach shots on a consistent basis – which should mean better birdie opportunities. By learning how to draw the golf ball with your driver, you should be able to add yards to your drives without changing anything else about your swing.
Many amateur golfers think of a draw as a 'pro shot', so they don't even make an effort to learn how to use one in their own game. In reality, it is no more difficult to hit a draw off the tee than it is a fade. Once you have the right fundamentals in place, you simply need to work on them over and over again on the range until they become habit. It will likely take some time to learn how to hit a draw with your driver if you are currently playing a fade, but your game will benefit greatly in the end. Not only should you enjoy more distance on your drives by hitting a draw, but you should also find that you have more control over the ball in adverse weather conditions.
It would be best to work on learning your new driver draw when you have some time to practice without heading to the course for a round. Since there will be some growing pains along the way as you learn the techniques required to hit a draw, it is a bad idea to head out onto the course in the middle of the process. Not only will you most likely play poorly, you also may decide to give up on your new technique in order to go back to what is familiar. If you can carve out two or three weeks in your schedule when you won't be golfing, that would be a great time to work on learning how to draw your driver.
All of the instruction below is based on a right handed golfer. If you play left handed, please reverse the directions as necessary.
The Fundamentals of a Draw
Before you ever head to the driving range to work on hitting a draw with your driver, you need to first know exactly what it is that makes the ball draw in the first place. Without an understanding of the basic physics behind the flight of your golf ball, it will be very difficult to make your ball curve on command. Many amateur golfers are mistaken in their understanding of why the ball moves the way it does – and that misunderstanding leads to problems in the golf swing. Get a clear image in your head of how to hit a draw and you will have a much easier time actually doing it out on the course.
The first thing to understand is that a draw for a right handed golfer requires right to left spin to be imparted on the golf ball. This should be easy to remember since the spin moves in the same direction that the ball will travel in the air. If you are looking for a right to left shot, you will need right to left spin – obviously, when trying to hit the ball left to right, you will need left to right spin to match. The rate of side spin on the ball is what will determine how much the shot curves in the air – a little bit of spin will create a slight draw, while a lot of spin will lead to a big hook.
So far, the process of hitting a draw sounds pretty simple. Make a swing that leads to right to left spin, and you will be left with a draw coming off the face of your driver. However, the next point is where many amateur golfers get tripped up. In order to generate that draw spin, you actually have to move the club head on a left to right path coming through impact (as viewed from behind). In order to hit a draw, the club head has to be moving away from your body as it goes through impact – most golfers refer to this action as swinging from inside-out. The club should be coming down toward the ball relatively close to your body, and it should gradually get farther away as you approach the bottom of your swing.
If you currently hit a slice, or even just a fade, you are swinging from the outside-in during your downswing. While it is possible to hit quality shots with that swing path, you are never going to maximize your power off the tee while swinging from the outside. There is nothing wrong with playing a fade when you have plenty of power to work with – however, if you are trying to add a few yards (or more) to your drives, switching from a fade to a draw is the right decision to make. Your main objective with the driver should be to switch from an outside-in swing path to one that moves from inside-out. This switch is the only way to create a draw on a consistent basis.
In terms of what is required to create a draw, there is nothing more to know. You need to put right to left spin on the golf ball, and to do that, you need to move the club through the hitting area from left to right (as viewed looking down the line). As you already understand, it is one thing to know what you need to do with your golf swing, but it is another thing altogether to actually make it happen. Hitting draws with your driver is a worthwhile goal, but you aren't going to be able to walk out to the range and pull it off with your first swing. Now that you understand the basics behind what makes the ball turn to the left, the next step is to position your body correctly to facilitate that result.
Addressing the Ball with a Draw in Mind
Your address position says a lot about the shot that you are trying to hit. If you want to consistently hit a draw with your driver, you need to position your body in such a way that will promote the inside-out swing you need to create. This is yet another point where most amateur golfers go wrong. The average golfer doesn't match their stance to the ball flight they have in mind – if they even have a ball flight in mind at all. You are already on the right path since you are working on creating a specific shot shape, but now you need to customize your stance to promote that draw.
Following are three points that should be present in your stance when trying to hit a draw with your driver.
- Slightly closed to the target line. To create a draw, it is helpful to swing from a slightly closed stance at address. A 'closed' stance is one where your left foot is closer to the target line than your right foot. That orientation will allow you to make an inside takeaway, which sets the stage for an inside-out path through the ball during the downswing. While it is helpful to stand slightly closed, you don't want to make this position too dramatic. If you drastically close your stance in relation to the target line, you will run the risk of hitting a quick hook instead of a nice draw.
- Strong left hand grip. It is difficult to hit a draw when you are playing with a weak left hand grip. To promote a draw, you should be able to see at least three of the knuckles on the back of your left hand when you set up to hit a drive. If you can only see two knuckles - or even just one - it will be difficult to get the club to release enough through the hitting area to create the right to left spin that you desire. Work on strengthening your grip to the point where you can see at least three knuckles at address and you will make the task of creating a draw just a little bit easier.
- Plenty of knee flex. One of the keys to hitting a draw is being able to stay down in your stance throughout the swing. Playing who hit a fade often stand up slightly as they reach impact, which is the opposite of what you are trying to do. To make it easier to stay down, add a little extra knee flex to your stance at address - this will engage your legs right from the start of the swing. With your legs playing an active role in the swing, it will be far easier to keep your head and upper body down over the shot, meaning turning over a draw is a reachable goal.
Setting up to the ball with plenty of knee flex, a strong grip, and a slightly closed stance won't automatically allow you to hit a draw, but it is a very good start. More importantly, making sure you are in those positions will prevent you from being in positions that promote a fade instead of a draw. You don't want to be fighting against your stance as you try to hit a draw, so take the time on the practice range to create a stance that includes all three positions on this list.
How to Practice a Draw
Obviously, you are going to need to practice your draw if you expect to use it effectively on the course. It is a common mistake among average golfers to simply show up to the course and attempt to use a new shot that they have never before practiced. As a basic rule of thumb, you should never attempt a shot on the course that you haven't worked on at the driving range first. Only when you have put in enough work on the range to build your confidence in a particular ball flight should you attempt to deploy the new shot under game conditions.
When you set out to practice your draw, there really isn't a specific drill that you should work on - you just need to try to hit a draw. The great thing about the driving range is you don't have to worry about hitting your ball into the trees or the water if you don't pull off your draw - you just line up another ball and try again. It may take several trips to the range before you will start to see the ball turn over to the left, so stick with it and maintain your patience throughout your practice sessions.
It is important when you are trying to hit draws on the range that you identify specific targets that you will use to evaluate your success. That means you will have two spots picked out prior to each swing - a starting line, and an eventual target. Picking the starting line is crucial because that is the mark that you will use to judge the overall shape of your shot. If you start the ball on the correct line, and then it curves back toward your eventual target, you have successfully hit a draw. Hitting both of these targets means that you have totally controlled your ball flight, and you have hit a shot that would play nicely out on the course.
Missing one of these targets, however, is cause for concern. Even if you are able to curve the ball in the correct direction, your draw won't be worth much if you can't control it. For example, if you start the ball successfully at your initial target, but it then curves twice as much as you expect, that draw is going to be useless to you. At the same time, missing your initial target and then curving the ball the proper amount isn't going to be worth much either. Only when both of those components are well controlled - the initial line and the curve of the ball - will you have a draw that is useful to you in a variety of situations.
Understanding that you need to have both your starting line and your eventual target well under control with the draw, it should be obvious how detailed you need to be during your practice sessions. Before you start hitting drivers with the intention of hitting a draw, pick out a very specific starting line for your drives. Take care to align your stance parallel with the line you have picked out - you should be just as detailed with your pre-shot routine on the range as you are on the course. With the starting line sorted out, move on to picking an eventual target for the shot. This target should be several yards to the left of your starting line, which would leave you with a nice controlled draw if you were to execute the shot properly.
While you might be looking to use a draw so you can add yards to your drives, the first concern when learning how to hit this ball flight is the ability to control it consistently. If you can't accurately predict how much your ball is going to curve in the air, you aren't going to be able to keep the ball in play – which means that it doesn't really matter how far you are hitting it. The focus of your practice sessions should be on accurately hitting both of your targets with your new driver draw. Once you can do so consistently, you will be ready to take this shot out to the course.
Using Your Draw Successfully on the Course
It might seem like it will be easy to take your new draw out to the course once you are comfortable with it on the range – but that is not the case. No matter how much preparation you do on the range, there will still be a learning curve when using this new shot during a round. Make no mistake, the driving range is still an important part of the process, but there is no getting around the learning you will have to do on the course as well.
The first thing you will need to do on the course is to retrain your eyes to find the right targets off the tee. If you have been playing golf for 10 or 15 years – and you have been hitting a fade that whole time – you naturally look for targets on the left side of the fairway that you can use to allow the ball to curve back to the right and into the short grass. That habit is going to be hard to break. Knowing how much your ball is curving to the left on the range, pick very specific targets that are located somewhere down the right side of the fairway. While it will be relatively easy to spot these targets, it will be much harder to commit to them completely during the swing. Anything new in golf is uncomfortable at first, and that certainly applies to your ball flight off the tee.
When you start to have doubts about the targets you are using for your tee shots, call on the practice time you spend on the range to give you confidence. Picture those beautiful draws that you learned how to hit on the range, and visualize the ball flying down the fairway while turning just slightly to the left. It won't be easy at first, but talk yourself into being confident until you start to see success on the course. Once you hit a few good shots, your confidence will shoot through the roof and you will hardly be able to wait until the next chance you get to show off that new draw.
You also need to remember that it is still okay to hit other shots off the tee from time to time. Learning the draw is great, as it will provide you with extra distance and the ability to handle dogleg left holes with ease. However, that doesn't mean that the draw should be your exclusive shot with the driver. It is important to maintain variety in your game so you can deal with everything the course throws your way. For instance, if you come upon a long dogleg right par four, you might feel like you need to cut the ball off the tee in order to maximize your chances of hitting the fairway. There is nothing wrong with making that choice – hit the shot that you feel gives you the best chance on each given hole. There will be plenty of chances to hit your new driver draw as the rounds add up, so don't force it into a situation where it doesn't apply.
Hitting a draw off the tee is a great way to add distance to your drives without having to overhaul your entire swing. By using a few basic setup adjustments at address, you should be able to start producing beautiful drawing ball flights after just a few practice sessions. Remember, while you do want to find extra yards by using your draw, you still need to have enough control over the ball flight for it to be functional on the course. Once your driving range sessions start to produce draws that are both long and accurate, you will be ready to test this powerful ball flight during an upcoming round.