Hitting a golf ball is as much a form of art as it is a sport. Ask an artist to draw and watch them use pen and paper to construct a work of art right before your eyes. Ask a golfer to draw and witness them use a golf club and ball to create one of the prettiest-looking shots in the game of golf.
So, what is a draw in golf?
A draw is a type of controlled golf shot that arcs out and curves back toward the golfer’s intended target. For a right-handed golfer, draws start right of and curve back left to the target. Conversely for a left-handed golfer, draws start left of the target and curve back towards the right.
A draw is one of two commonly used golf shot shapes employed on each swing. Appealing to the eye, a draw is a pretty looking shot and when hit consistently, can increase accuracy and control for the golfer using it.
Draws typically travel further than straight golf shots because of a closed clubface at impact. The closed clubface decreases loft and adds piercing topspin that cuts through wind and rolls further once it lands on the ground.
What Is a Draw in Golf?
A draw is a type of golf shot that when consistently repeated, offers golfers increased control, accuracy and distance. The shape of a draw is a curving arc that starts outside of the target line and curves back towards the golfer’s intended target.
For a right-handed golfer, a draw starts right of the target and curves back to the left. A left-handed draw starts left of the target and curves right to the target.
A consistently played draw provides the golfer with several advantages. The first is increased control because the golfer is better able to judge where to aim and where the golf ball is going to land. Another advantage is increased accuracy. If a golfer has better control over where the golf ball goes, they will naturally have better accuracy.
A draw also offers the golfer increased distance over a straight shot. The increase comes from a topspin bias that propels the ball forward, sometimes at a lower trajectory, and when it lands, often rolls out further.
One potential disadvantage of playing a draw regularly is the tendency to lose control of the shot’s curving arc. A common mishit from a golfer that plays a draw is a hook, which is a sharply curving ball that bends well past the intended target.
What Causes a Draw in Golf?
A draw is the result of the combination of an inside-out swing path and clubface neutral to the target line. Combined, these two factors create a right to left curving arc for right-handed golfers and left to right arc for left-handed golfers. The curving arc is the product of spin that bends the ball in the respective directions.
What Is a Swing Path in Golf?
The swing path, also called the club path, is the direction the golf club travels during the downswing, through impact with the golf, and into the follow-through. The swing path is a straight line representing the linear direction of the club during the golf swing. There are three types of swing paths: Outside-In, Straight and Inside-Out.
- Outside-In – An outside-in swing path starts on the outside of the target line during the downswing, crosses over the target line at impact, and finishes inside the target line during the follow-through.
- Straight – A ‘straight’ swing path is parallel to a golfer’s target line, or the straight line from the golf ball to the golfer’s intended target, like the flagstick or the left-center of the fairway.
- Inside-Out – An ‘inside-out’ swing path starts on the inside of the target line during the downswing, crosses over the target line at impact, and finishes outside the target line during the follow-through.
Swing Path vs Target Line
The swing path is the linear direction the golf club travels as it’s swung. Conversely, the target line is the straight line from the golf ball to the golfer’s intended target. A straight swing path is parallel from the target line while outside-in and inside-out swing paths are slightly askew from the target line.
Alignment vs Target Line
The target line in golf is the straight line that runs from the golf ball to the golfer’s intended target. A golfer’s alignment is the linear direction in which they orient themselves to their target line.
Alignment refers to the golfer’s positioning of their body so that their toe line (a straight line created by the tips of their toes) hip line and shoulder line are all parallel. A golfer has to have all three lines parallel if they wish to hit the ball consistently well. If one line runs askew, the golfer risks inciting many types of swing flaws.
There are three types of orientations golfers can align their toe, hip, and shoulder lines to their target line: Open, Neutral (also called Square), or Closed.
- Open Alignment – An open alignment means the golfer has slightly rotated their toe, hip and shoulder lines to the inside of their target line. An open alignment for a left-handed golfer points right of the target. For a right-handed golfer, an open alignment points left of the target.
- Neutral Alignment – A neutral alignment is when the golfer’s toe, hip and shoulder lines are parallel to their target line. A neutral alignment, straight swing path, and neutral clubface produce a straight golf shot.
- Closed Alignment – A closed alignment means the golfer has slightly rotated their toe, hip and shoulder lines to the outside of their target line. A closed alignment for a left-handed golfer points left of the target while a closed alignment for a right-handed golfer points right of the target.
What Is a Clubface in Golf?
The clubface is the part of the golf club that makes contact with the golf ball. It features horizontal grooves that put spin on the ball and wherever the clubface points at impact, the ball will follow.
There are three orientations for the clubface at impact: Open, Neutral (also called Square), or Closed.
- Open – An open clubface refers to the degree to which the clubface points right of the target line at impact for a right-handed golfer or left of the target line for a left-handed golfer. An open clubface increases loft, or trajectory, to any shot and accentuates side spin in the golf ball, both of which cause the ball to not travel as far as a straight shot.
- Neutral or Square – A neutral or square clubface means the straight line coming from the center of the clubface is parallel to the target line.
- Closed – A closed clubface refers to the degree to which the clubface points left of the target line at impact for a right-handed golfer or left of the target line for a left-handed golfer. A closed clubface decreases loft, or trajectory, to any shot and accentuates side spin, both of which cause the ball to travel further than a normal straight shot.
What Are the Nine Ball Flight Laws?
The nine ball flight laws are the different shot shapes in golf. They are the direct result of the relationship and orientation of a golfer’s swing path and clubface. A draw is one of the nine ball flight types. All nine ball flights are listed below with their swing paths and clubface orientations. They are listed left to right across the spectrum from a right-handed golfer’s perspective. For a left-handed golfer, simply reverse the order to get their left to right ball flight spectrum.
- Pull Hook – Outside-in swing path with the clubface closed to the swing path line.
- Hook – Straight or inside-out swing path with the clubface closed to the swing path line.
- Pull – Outside-in swing path with the clubface ‘square’ to the swing path line.
- Draw – Inside-out swing path with the clubface ‘square’ to the target line.
- Straight – Swing path the same as the target line with a clubface ‘square’ to the target line.
- Fade – Outside-in swing path with the clubface ‘square’ to the target line.
- Push – Inside-out swing path with the clubface ‘square’ to the swing path line.
- Slice – Straight or outside-in swing path with the clubface open to the swing path line.
- Push Slice – Inside-out swing path with the clubface open to the swing path line.
Is Hitting a Draw Good in Golf?
Hitting a draw is good and shows that the golfer has significant skill and ability. Golfers that can consistently play draws experience increases in control, accuracy, and distance, all of which are factors helping to lower scores and add enjoyment to the game.
How to Hit a Draw in Golf
Some golfers just have the natural ability to hit a draw and for the rest of the golfing community, that can be frustrating. Fear not if you are one of the latter and keep reading to learn how to hit a draw with either an inside-out swing path or a straight swing path.
- Inside-Out Swing Path – This is not the optimal swing path for hitting a draw because it often invites a hook if executed incorrectly. So, the golfer must set up their alignment neutral, or square, to the target line and hit the golf ball with a clubface that is neutral or square to the target line. The inside-out swing starts the ball in the proper direction and since the clubface is closed in relation to the swing path, it creates the necessary spin causing the ball to fall gracefully back to the intended target.
- Straight Swing Path – To hit a draw with a straight swing path, the golfer must combine a slightly closed alignment with a neutral or square clubface to the target line. The ball comes off the clubface in a straight line down the golfer’s toe, hip and shoulder line, and the clubface’s closed orientation, in relation to the golfer’s alignment, creates the necessary spin in the ball’s flight path.
Draw vs Fade in Golf
A draw and a fade are two shot types that are exactly opposite of each other. Where a draw moves left to right for left-handed golfers and right to left for right-handed golfers, a fade moves right to left for left-handed golfers and left to right for right-handed golfers.
To hit a fade, the golfer needs to combine a straight swing path and an alignment open to the target line with a clubface that is square to the target line. Because of this, fades travel shorter than both draws and straight shots because it produces a higher trajectory and more accentuated backspin because of the opened clubface.
Draw vs Hook in Golf
A hook is one of the nine ball flights and is a much more severe version of a draw. A hook is a mishit that curves sharply left for righties and right for lefties and very often the ball ends up lost in the woods or soaked in a lateral water hazard.
Draw vs Slice in Golf
A slice is a type of shot that is the exact opposite of a hook and nothing like a draw. It is typically a mishit shot and the result of an inside-out swing with a clubface open to the target line. For a right-handed golfer, the ball starts left of the target line and sharply swerves right across the intended target.
Draw vs Pull in Golf
A draw and a pull are two different types of ball flights. As discussed, a draw is a shot type where the ball starts outside of the target line and curves gently back to the intended target. A pull on the other hand is a shot type that starts inside of the target line and moves in a straight line ending up left or right, depending on the golfer’s hand orientation, of the intended target.