How to Draw a Golf Ball
For a right hander, to draw a golf ball means to strike it in such a manner that the ball will curve to the left during its flight.
The first question we need to ask ourselves why we want to draw a golf ball. The first and most obvious reason must be that we need to move the ball around a physical obstacle, in most cases a tree. If a tree or other obstacle lies between our lie and our target, if we cannot hit the ball over the obstacle then we must curve the ball around it.
Another possible reason is that conventional wisdom suggests that a shot with draw on it goes further than a straight or faded shot. This is because of several reasons. Firstly, because the ball flight of a drawn shot is generally lower than that of a straight or faded shot, less energy is lost because the ball does not have to climb as far. Secondly, because the flight is lower, the ball hits the ground at a shallower angle because it is not dropping from a great height and will thus roll further. Thirdly, because the club face is more closed at impact (more vertical) less backspin is imparted on the ball which again allows it to fly further and roll more after hitting the ground.
There is a certain amount of truth in these arguments but there are counter arguments to all of them and this descends into the realm of the law of diminishing returns quickly. One quick example. A draw might go further than a straight shot but a lot of this extra distance is lost because it has to go further to get to the same spot. The shortest distance between any two points is always a straight line. I will leave it there.
This article is about how to draw a golf ball not whether to draw it so after this last observation I will dive into that. There are cases when you will have no choice but to hit a draw and so you need to know how to do that. But should you try and develop a draw pattern as your standard game?” To this, my answer is a definite no. Why do I say that?
Any deviation or curvature on the flight of a golf ball reduces your chances of it landing where you want it to. The amount of draw or fade you impart on a ball depends on a myriad of factors, not least of which is your ability to play the shot consistently. When you hit a golf ball straight your chances of hitting a chosen spot are significantly higher because you have taken out one variable from the equation. Of course you may be aiming at a wide target where accuracy is less crucial. To that I would counter that there is always an optimal spot from which you would like to hit your next shot. A straight shot is generally your best option to get the ball to that spot.
So how do we draw a golf ball? In essence we need to put a degree of side spin onto the ball to get it to draw or fade. For a draw we need to put anti clockwise spin onto the ball when viewed from the top. In reality nearly all balls hit with a club that has any significant loft have backspin on them and the side spin imparted for a draw somewhat alters alters the axis around which the overall spin is occurring.
To put side spin onto a ball the club face has to impact the ball at an angle to the path along which the club head is travelling. For a draw the club face has to be “closed” to the swing path. Closed means turned to the left from perpendicular or the grip rotated anti clockwise in your hands when viewed from above.
At it’s simplest, if you address a ball normally with you feet aligned to the target line and the club face at 90 degrees or perpendicular to the target line, all things being equal, a shot played from this set up would fly along the target line. If you were to do the same thing, but open your hands and turn the grip anticlockwise, then re grip the club before playing the shot, the ball would take off to the left and then curve further left in its flight. This, of course would be disastrous probably putting your ball on the next fairway.
So the first thing we must do is realign our feet so that the foot line is pointing to a point significantly right of the target. We need to start the ball off along this line and hopefully draw it back toward the target. Now we face a choice.
Some instruction tells us to roll the hands through the impact zone so as to close the face to achieve the draw. The alternative is to re grip the club with the face slightly closed and play our normal shot without any abnormal manipulation of the club face through impact. Unless you are a very low handicap golfer only use the second method. It is far simpler and just as effective. There is nothing new to learn here except how much to turn the grip in your hands. The shot itself is played exactly the same as your normal shot.
How much should you turn the grip in your hands? The first answer is very little. Remember that 2 factors are at play here. The slightly closed club face will set the ball off to the left on its own. To that you are adding spin which will take it even further left. Remember also that a softer ball with a softer skin will draw more than a hard ball.
One rule of thumb is to turn the grip so that the club face is pointing at the target when your foot line is pointing right of the target. This has merit, but the truth here is that you need to experiment at the range. Every golfer has different hand and wrist action through the impact zone and this effects the amount of draw you will achieve for a given degree of club face closure. Just remember, don’t manipulate the hands and wrists through impact when playing this shot. Play your normal standard shot. In this way you will build up information on your own game and how to achieve the desired amount of draw.
There is a new school of thought that suggests the draw be played with a more open face and that the ball be struck on a in to out swing path to put on the necessary side spin. It has merit but requires a fairly high level of competence to be executed reliably.
Well that’s how to draw a golf ball. Practice the draw, it will add a useful tool to your armoury. It is also one of the most beautiful shots in golf to play or watch. Or just go to the range and hit them for fun.
For more information on ball flight and behaviour go to Ball Flight Explained.
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