If you’re new to the game of golf, you may have heard terms like “draw” and “fade” and been confused as to what they mean. This is not uncommon. I had no idea what those terms meant when I started golfing. Thankfully, these concepts are easy to grasp once explained. In this post, I’ll talk about the draw shot and explain what constitutes a draw in golf.
A draw in golf is simply a shot that curves from right to left, for a right-handed golfer and left to right, for a left-handed golfer. For a right-hander, the shot starts to the right of your intended target line and “draws” back to the left towards the target. For a left-hander, the shot starts to the left of your intended target line and “draws” back to the right towards the target.
Keep reading as I’ll go more into detail about the draw shot including how to hit a draw, and what to do if your draw suddenly turns into a hook.
For the remainder of this article, I’ll use a right-handed golfer as an example. Left-handers, please flip the information where needed to make it applicable to your swing.
What Causes A Draw In Golf?
As we mentioned, for a right-hander, a draw is a shot curving from right to left. What causes this right to left curve is a combination of the swing path being slightly to the right (in-to-out) and a club face slightly open to the target line at impact.
For clarity, the swing path is simply how far left or right of the target line the club head is traveling through impact, per GolfWRX. This is measured in degrees as is how much the club face is opened or closed at impact. The difference between the two is what produces curvature on the ball. The lower the difference, the less curvature the ball will have in flight.
An example of a nice, tight draw, assuming a centered strike, would be a swing path of 4.0 deg to the right and a club face opened 2.0 deg to the target line at impact. If the club face was closed by 2.0 deg instead of open, the result would be a pulled shot to the left. If the club face was opened 4.0 deg instead of 2.0 deg, the result would likely be a shot starting to the right and staying right, never drawing back.
How To Hit A Draw In Golf? (Steps Provided)
Now that we know what it takes to hit a draw, it’s time to put the plan into action.
- Close shoulders and stance slightly. Essentially, aim a little right.
- Move the ball position one ball back from normal. This allows us to hit the ball earlier in the swing when the club is likely traveling on a path to the right of the target.
- Swing naturally. Don’t dramatically alter your swing so you’re swinging way out to the right. Keep the same swing!
That’s really all there is to it folks. This is how Tiger Woods hits a draw as well as countless other professionals and highly skilled amateurs.
A common fault golfers make when attempting to hit a draw is closing the face too much at address. If the club is closed too much at address, this is a recipe for a big hook, which we will discuss in more detail below. If you’re following all three steps above and the ball still won’t draw, then you can try closing the clubface a tiny bit at address. This should be a last resort though. The club face technically shouldn’t need to be altered to hit a draw. The club face only needs to be closed to the swing path, not the target line. Release the club naturally and the ball should draw for you.
Closing the shoulders during the setup but forgetting to close the stance or vice versa, is also a common mistake golfers make when trying to hit a draw. A multitude of bad shots could occur from an incorrect setup as too much club manipulation will be required on the downswing. A big slice or snap hook could both be the result of this faulty alignment when trying to draw the ball.
What is A Hook In Golf?
A hook in golf is simply when the ball curves excessively to the left for right-handed golfers and excessively to the right for left-handed golfers. The golfer is essentially over-drawing the golf ball to create a hook. A normal hook can be playable if the golfer aims correctly for it at setup. Aim a little more right for right-handers and a little more left for left-handers. Although not ideal, the ball will usually stay in play.
A type of hook that is usually not playable is called a snap hook. A snap hook is a shot that will usually start slightly right of the target line, and as the name would suggest, snaps violently back to the left. It not only snaps violently back to the left but it is also likely nose-diving straight down. This causes a lot of lost balls as one might expect. Honestly, it’s one of the worst shots a golfer can hit. When I hit a snap hook, it’s always off the tee with the driver. However, I’ve seen other golfers hit snap hooks with a variety of clubs off a variety of lies. If a shank is the worst shot in golf, a snap hook is a close second.
If you’re snap-hooking the golf ball, the club face being too shut at impact is the likely culprit. I would try opening up the face a bit more at address before making any other changes. Making this change will at the least remove the “snap” from the hook, and give you a shot that is manageable. From there, if the ball is still hooking too much, take a look at the swing path.
What you want to avoid at all costs when trying to hit a draw is the combination of coming over the top with the swing path with a closed club face at impact. This shot will start left of the target line and snap left even more while in the air. These shots are not only embarrassing to hit but will surely result in the ball being lost or out of bounds.
Should You Hit A Draw?
It depends. If you’re someone who constantly hits slices and can’t keep the ball in play then yes, I’d recommend attempting to hit a draw using the steps I provided above. At worst it should help tame your slice, and at best, you’ll start hitting straight shots or even a baby draw.
If you currently hit can hit a straight shot or a baby fade that is reliable, I probably would advise against trying to implement a draw. Why mess up a good thing? Even the slightest swing tweaks can ruin a golfers game. Don’t believe me, go check out Martin Kaymer. His game fell to pieces after changing his preferred shot shape from a fade to a draw. More recently, Collin Morikawa tinkered with adding a draw to the arsenal early in 2022, and his ball striking statistics suffered. If the guy known as the best ball striker on tour struggled to implement a draw, then it’s likely weekend golfers like us will struggle as well.
You now should have a firm understanding of what a draw is in golf and how to hit one. Having the ability to hit a draw on command is extremely useful on the course. Not only will it add a bit of distance to your shots, but those holes with severe doglegs become less scary. Good luck!