Any time you need to play a right-to-left shot on the golf course, just remember this phrase:
“The draw is golf's most coveted shot. Hands down.”
The last part is the key. Lowering the hands at address positions you to make a flatter swing while increasing your wrist action, generating right-to-left sidespin. It can also help rein in or eliminate a slice.
The lower your hands go, the more your shots will “turn over.” The ball will fly lower, too. This knowledge comes in handy (pun intended) if you're trapped behind a tree and need to hit a hard hook.
Whether you want to hit a gentle draw, a wicked hook or just take some curve out of your slice, follow these steps.
- Assume your normal setup over the ball.
- Move the hands slightly lower, i.e., closer to your body, which creates an angle between the arms and shaft.
- Doing this will cause you to bend forward a bit more; be sure you bend from the hips, not the waist.
- Make your normal swing.
Learn to curve the ball right-to-left on command and you'll be the most envied golfer in your group. Hands down.
Lower Hands to Hit a Draw?
If you are anything like most other amateur golfers, you would love to be able to hit a draw. Many amateur players see the draw as a 'pro' shot, as it is the ball flight which is used by many of the world's top golfers. While there are plenty of pros who play a fade as their predominant shot, the reputation of the draw as a 'player's shot' remains. Fortunately, producing a draw on a consistent basis is not quite as difficult as you might think. If you would like to learn how to play a draw in your own game, you have come to the right place.
In this article, we are going to cover the topic of how to produce a draw out on the golf course. Specifically, as indicated in the title of the article, we are going to touch on the idea of lowering your hands at address to produce that right to left flight you desire (for a right-handed golfer). Believe it or not, it is possible that you may be able to turn your fade into a draw through something as simple as changing the positioning of your hands at address. Of course, it may take more than that depending on the current status of your swing, as there are a lot of variables at work in this equation.
So why would you want to hit a draw in the first place? There are a few different advantages which may be enjoyed when you play the ball from right to left on most of your shots. Those advantages are as follows –
- Added distance. This is the reason that most amateur golfers would like to play a draw. When you turn the ball over, you are likely to gain distance in the process. When all other variables are equal, the ball will usually travel farther with a draw flight than it will with a fade pattern. There is less backspin on a draw in most cases, so the ball is more able to cut through the air toward the target. Also, hitting a draw requires attacking from the inside of the ball, which is a naturally powerful position. Many players who hit a draw swing weakly from the outside, wasting swing speed as they move through impact. Any way you look at it, there is a good chance learning to hit a draw will make you a longer player.
- Play in a variety of conditions. There is nothing wrong with playing a fade when you are dealing with good weather. When the weather conditions get a bit rough, however, it can be hard to use your fade to maximum effect. A fade is almost always going to fly higher than a draw, meaning your shots will be more susceptible to the forces of the wind. Generally speaking, a draw is a ball flight which will travel better than a fade, so keep that in mind if you tend to play a number of different courses in a variety of locations.
- Easier to hit half shots. Many golfers find it easier to produce partial shots when hitting a draw as compared to a fade. Having the ability to cut down on your distances on command is important in golf, as you aren't always going to have a full swing yardage left to the target. Hitting low, controlled draws is usually easier than trying to do the same thing with a fade. If you have designs on taking your game to the next level from a scoring perspective, one of the best things you can do is to learn how to hit half-shot draws whenever the need arises.
To be clear, you don't have to play a draw in order to be a good golfer. There have been plenty of great golfers throughout history – including one named Jack Nicklaus – who preferred to hit a fade. However, if you do decide that you would like to make the draw your go-to ball flight for all of the reasons list above, the rest of this article will be dedicated to helping you do just that.
All of the instruction contained below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you are a left-handed player, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
Understanding the Physics
If you are going to produce a draw on command, you need to know what it is that makes the ball draw from right to left as it flies. As you might suspect, this topic always comes back to spin. While you can't really see it when you are playing the game, spin is the main contributing factor to the success or failure of your shots. Control your spin, and you can control your game overall. Lose control of your spin direction and spin rate, on the other hand, and you will be lucky to keep the ball anywhere on the course.
When the ball draws off the club of a right-handed player, that means the ball is spinning from right to left. The golf ball is always going to turn in the same direction as its spin while it flies. The amount of draw you see, of course, is directly correlated to the rate of spin imparted on the ball. A shot with a minimal right to left spin rate will only turn left slightly, while a faster spin rate will produce a large draw – or even a hook. If you are going to gain control over your draw, your ultimate task will be to control the amount of right to left spin you place on the ball on each shot.
In order to generate right to left spin, it is important that the club is moving from inside-out as it goes through the hitting area. Put another way, the club needs to be getting farther away from your body as it goes through the ball. When you swing along an inside-out path, and you have the club face relatively square to the target line at impact, you will be left with a draw. Despite all the 'magic' that some golfers seem to think is involved in producing a draw, that is really all there is to it. As long as you swing from inside-out with a square club face, a draw is sure to result.
Of course, that information is easier to read than it is to put into action on the course. Even if you are trying to swing from inside-out, you may find that the mechanics of your swing are getting in the way. It is important to have your mechanics in order if you are going to hit a draw time after time, as there is nothing you can do to work around faulty technique in your swing. You don't have to swing exactly the same way as everyone else who hits a draw, but you do need to follow certain fundamentals if you hope to produce an inside-out swing path.
To make sure you are working in the right direction, the list below includes some of the key tips you need to keep in mind while trying to swing from inside-out.
- Make a full turn. It is nearly impossible to hit from inside-out without completing a full backswing turn. The way you turn your shoulders in the backswing is going to be critical to your ability to attack from inside because of the way you will be positioned at the top. Many players who fight with a slice in their swing fail to make a good shoulder turn, and they hit down from outside-in as a result. If you are serious about playing a draw on most of your shots, it is going to be essential to make a nice shoulder turn. Making a good turn not only requires a bit of flexibility, but it also takes patience as well. If you are in a rush, your swing will be cut off before you have time to get all the way back. Be patient, let your turn develop naturally, and only shift into the downswing when you are sure the backswing is finished.
- Don't force the club inside early. This is one of those golf swing points which seems to be backward when you first hear it. In order to swing from inside-out through impact, you actually need to avoid swinging the club too far to the inside during the takeaway. Yes, that sounds silly, but it is a key part of this process. When you force the club inside right away in your backswing – as many players do – you will be taking away space that you need later on for the downswing. As the club arrives as the top, there will be no room to swing down from the inside, so you will be forced to go over the top. This over the top move is a classic mistake seen from slicers, and your ball will cut from left to right every time. To avoid this fault, make a wide backswing, allowing the club head to trace the target line for as long as possible. Then, at the top of your swing, you can let the club fall nicely to the inside and you will be all set for a perfect strike at the bottom.
- Manage your balance. Falling off balance is one of the leading problems seen in amateur golf swings. Specifically, many amateurs lean toward the target as they swing the club back – a move known as a reverse pivot. When this happens, the club winds up far too high at the top of the swing, and it is difficult to attack the ball on a proper plane. Many players with a reverse pivot wind up hitting a slice, and those who don't often fall into the 'pull' ball flight category. Either way, it will be nearly impossible to produce a controlled draw from this position.
It isn't particularly difficult to hit a draw, but it isn't an easy task either. Just like everything else in golf, learning how to hit a draw comes down to your willingness to work on the right fundamentals. Without even getting to the title topic of hand positioning, we have already highlighted some points which can help you turn the ball over effectively. In the next section, we will move on to the issue of how to place your hands at the start of the swing.
Yes – Lower Hands Can Help
Finally, we have gotten back around to the question which was posed in the title of this article. To sum up the answer in just one sentence - yes, placing your hands lower at address can help you hit a draw. While this one tip is not going to lead to a draw all on its own, it will put you in a slightly better position to turn the ball over shot after shot.
Setting up with lower hands can be helpful because of what that will mean for the shape of your swing. Golfers who want to play a draw usually use a relatively flat golf swing, and setting your hands lower at the start of the swing is going to lead you down a flatter path. The plane of the club shaft at address should be seen as the expected path for your swing overall, and moving your hands down will naturally flatten out that plane. In general terms, players who setup with their hands high will favor a fade, while those with low hands will usually hit a draw.
As mentioned above, this is far from the only variable in the draw equation. If you would like to hit a draw, you need to take a high-level view of your swing mechanics as a whole, rather than focusing on just this one simple point. With that said, setting your hands lower could be the tipping point which turns your relatively straight shot into a controlled draw. If the rest of your technique is relatively neutral in terms of the ball flight it will produce, setting your hands down lower could make the last bit of difference. Try this adjustment on the range to see if you are suddenly left with a draw when you stand with your hands closer to the ground before starting your swing.
Should you decide to make this kind of change in your game, it is important to remember that this could affect the way your clubs fit your game. While this matter will not be an issue with your driver and fairway woods, it is possible that your irons will need to be adjusted to match up with your new swing. For that reason, it might be best to start out working on this idea by hitting drivers. If you find success with your driver producing a draw, it will then be worth thinking about having your irons adjusted to work with this new technique.
The problem here is the matter of lie angle. All of your irons have a lie angle, which is the angle at which the shaft comes up out of the club head at address. There are standards for the lie angle to be included with each club from the factory, but custom golf clubs are tweaked to meet the needs of the individual player. If you are using off-the-rack clubs at the moment, it is a safe bet that you have standard lie angles. Those may have been fine when you were playing a fade, but they might now be too 'upright' for your draw swing.
So what can you do? Well, one option would be to order new clubs which are customized for your needs. Of course, that is an expensive option, so you might not want to do that simply to try out this new swing. As an alternative, you could visit your local golf shop to ask about their club adjustment services. Many golf shops will have someone on staff who is trained to adjust and repair golf clubs for customers. By asking the shop to flatten out your lie angle by a degree or two, your clubs could quickly be a better fit for your game. There will likely be a small fee for this service, but it will certainly be less than the cost of a new set of irons.
How to Use a Draw Effectively
At this point, the only things that should be standing between you and a consistent draw are time and effort. You have all of the information you need in order to produce a draw, but you are going to have to go out there and do it for yourself. The great thing about this game is the fact that no one can do the job for you on the course – it is just you, the club, and the ball. To success, you have to train yourself to make the right moves in your swing to produce the desired ball flight.
When you do manage to successfully turn your ball flight into a steady draw, you will need to know how to use that shot effectively if you are going to score. Many players are disappointed when they take their new draw out to the course only to find that they are still struggling to take strokes off their game. Scoring isn't going to happen automatically with a draw – you are going to have to make smart decisions to use this new flight effectively.
The following tips should help you get the most out of your new draw shot shape.
- Adjust your aim point. This should go without saying, but you are going to have to re-learn how to aim your golf shots now that you are playing a draw rather than a fade. This is something which is a little bit harder than it seems it should be at first. You have gotten used to your current ball flight over the years, so making a change will take some time. It is not impossible to adjust your eye to this new flight, but you shouldn't expect it to happen overnight either. Pay specific attention to the targets you are picking during your rounds and make minor adjustments until you are hitting the ball in the right direction on a consistent basis.
- Play for more roll. Under most conditions, shots hit with a draw pattern are going to roll out more than fades hit under the same conditions. This is not necessarily a problem, but it does need to be addressed when picking clubs and target lines. If you know the ball is going to bounce and roll a bit before it stops, you need to pick a line which lets it do just that without finding trouble. This is a point which needs extra attention when playing golf in the desert or other dry environments.
- Learn your new distances. You will probably gain yardage when you switch from a fade to a draw. But how much are you going to gain? There is no way to know for sure until you get out on the course. Pay close attention to how far your shots are traveling, and consider keeping a notebook at first to get a good idea of your new power capabilities. It will likely take a few rounds before you are fully comfortable picking the right club for the shot you are facing.
It is an exciting time in your golf game to switch from a fade to a draw. By moving your hands a bit lower at address, you can make this transition a bit easier than it might have been otherwise. However, it will still be plenty of work to make this transition a successful one. Take the ideas from this article with you to the driving range in order to make steady progress toward your ball flight goal. Once your draw has become a reality, be patient with yourself as you learn how to turn that right to left shot into lower scores. Good luck!