Considered by many as the best shot in golf the draw shot still seems difficult for most amateur golfers. In this article I aim to show you how to play a draw shot in golf.
The information in this article is describing the draw shot as played by a right-handed golfer.
First let me make it clear that a draw shot is not a shot that does anything other than drop slightly from right to left from its highest trajectory point.
Please do not confuse a draw shot with a hook which starts off left of the target and continues to go way left. This is a very important point so learn the difference between ball flight patterns so that you are certain that you are setting out to learn to play the draw and don’t land up perfecting a hook!
In order to hit a draw two things need to be present through the hitting area.
- An in-to-out swing path and
- A square (but closing) club-face. Sounds like Martian speak doesn’t it?
There are three basic pre-shot elements that will help you when trying to play the draw.
- The grip. How many times have you heard this and why does it make a big difference?
- The alignment. Obviously you need aim towards the correct target which is different to where you want to finish up. Martian speak again!
- The take-away. No – not a double cheese-burger and fries! If you don’t take the club away on the right line or swing path you cannot return it to the ball correctly.
Let’s start on the grip.
Do the following. Put your hands together as you would in prayer with your thumbs straight in front of you. Good, you now have the basis of how your hands should work together on the club with the palms facing each other. The difference is when you have a club in your hands the right hand would be slightly further down the shaft of the club than the left hand.
In golf terms this would be termed a “neutral” grip with neither hand dominating the other.
The next step is to turn your hands clockwise so that the knuckles of your left hand are on top and the knuckles of your right hand are on the bottom and out of sight, your palms flat against each other. This would be considered a “strong” grip in golf.
Because the hands are working together as you swing through the ball (try it now) you have a natural tendency for your right hand to flip over to the “neutral” position. This is the grip that most people need to adopt to play a draw shot.
The opposite grip (weak) is when the hands are turned anti-clockwise so that the knuckles of the right hand are on top and the knuckles of the left hand are under and out of sight. Again try “swinging” like this and note how the hands tend to come back to a neutral position. Picture a club in your hands and it is immediately obvious that the club face will be open at impact and result in a slice/push/push slice or something just as horrible.
Understanding the ball flight laws makes this a lot clearer.
Experiment with these different grips going from neutral to a very “strong” grip and note how the ball reacts. There will be variations from player to player and one player will need a stronger (or slightly more neutral) grip than the next.
Moving on to alignment.
Because the ball will be starting slightly right of the intended target and falling back to the left you need to aim right of your intended target.
Your toe line, hips and your shoulders should all be parallel to the ball to target line.
The best way to get the correct alignment is to have a friend stand behind you and when you think you are aiming correctly have him place a straight edge (such as a golf club) along your toe line. Then he should place another club parallel to this along the ball to target line.
Step back and check that you were in fact aiming where you thought you were. You may find that you are way off line.
To correct this step back into the set-up and have him/her (your friend that is!) set you up so that your toe line is parallel to the ball to target line. Now adjust your body so that your hips and shoulders are parallel to your toes. If it feels uncomfortable it is a good sign. Step out of and back into the correct alignment over and over until you do it automatically and it feels comfortable.
This is the part where I see it all going wrong. You can have the perfect grip and the perfect alignment and will still mess it up if your take-away is wrong.
What causes a bad take-away?
Usually one of two things (or both). Bad balance and trying to hit the ball to hard.
Balance is all about posture and the subject of another article (maybe) but you need your weight on the balls of your feet at address – not on your toes and not on your heels, either way you will have to compensate on the down-swing to get the club back to the ball.
Avoid trying to hit the ball hard! This is the single biggest cause of a slice.
If you are trying to smash the ball chances are you are using your arms to do this.
That generally translates to swinging “over the top” from the top of your backswing. The result is your right elbow comes away from your body and back to the ball on an out-to-in swing path! Hook, pull hook, slice – who knows what the result will be?
Start your take-away by concentrating on rotating your right shoulder around your fixed spine to a point where you are comfortable, well balanced with a straight left arm. Your right arm in contact with your torso – tucked in and just touching your hip. Keep the same connection you had at address between your arms and chest.
At the top of your swing you are looking at the ball from over your left shoulder.
Now the important part – do not use your arms to start the downswing.
From the top of the back-swing simply turn your hips back towards the target until your belt buckle is facing the target. Do it slowly (in slow motion) and note how the arms automatically follow.
At impact your hips should be well clear with your arms lagging slightly behind. Your right arm should once again be straight and extended (as it was at address) with the club-face square to the target. Just past the point of impact your right arm will automatically cross over your left with the club face starting to close. Your left elbow now starts bending in towards your waist.
Your follow is a mirror reflection of your back swing.
The result is a draw shot.
Learning how to play a draw shot is not as difficult as it seems and I honestly believe the main problem is trying to hit a long ball with the wrong basics.
Get the basics right, learn how to play a draw and discover effortless power and accuracy.
I hope this article has helped you in your efforts to learn to play the draw shot.