If you’re a chronic slicer of the golf ball, you’re certainly in good company.
It’s been estimated that as many as 80% - 90% of all amateur golfers produce a ball flight that moves from left to right (for right handed golfers).
And of those golfers, it’s probably safe to say that almost all of them would happily swap that slice for a draw if they could!
The problem, however, is that most of them don’t understand why they slice the ball in the first place.
And without an appreciation of the underlying issues that are creating their left to right ball flight, it becomes much harder to implement the changes that would be necessary to produce a draw.
As you might suspect, many of the swing mechanics that cause a slice are diametrically opposed to those that cause a draw.
The purpose of this article will be to explain how to hit a draw.
But to lay the proper foundation for that discussion, it’s important that you first understand WHY you slice.
Let’s Start With Some Definitions
There is some key terminology that needs to be understood at the outset, specifically the concepts of target line, swing path, and face angle.
The definitions of these terms and, more importantly, the relationship of each one to the others, are key to grasping why you slice the ball, and also how to then turn your slice into a draw.
Target Line - The target line is the straight line from the ball to its intended target. It’s also extended backward, behind the ball.
Swing Path - The swing path is the direction the club head is moving (right, left, or straight) at impact and is measured relative to the target line. Golfers usually describe the path as being “out to in” or “in to out.”
Face Angle - The face angle is a term that describes the direction the club face is aiming at impact relative to the swing path. A closed club face is one that is aiming left of the swing path at impact and imparts right to left hook spin. An open club face aims to the right of your swing path and creates left to right spin.
What Causes a Slice to Happen?
At its most basic, a slice is caused when the face angle of the club is “open” to the swing path of the club head.
Put more simply, a slice happens when the direction that the face of the club is aimed at impact is to the right of the direction that the club head is moving.
In the graphic, the top image illustrates this concept.
Note how the face of the club is aimed to the right of the path of the club (this is considered an “open” club face). This open face will cause the left-to-right sidespin on the ball that results in a slice.
The other images show the conditions that would produce a straight ball flight (“square”) and a “closed” club face where the face is aimed left of the swing path at impact.
The closed face is one that would produce right-to-left spin and a resulting hook or draw.
So, if your ball is slicing, you can be certain that your club face is open to your swing path when you make contact with the ball.
So, Why is My Club Face Open at Impact?
There are actually several factors that can cause an open club face, and it’s not uncommon that a golfer would exhibit more than one of these.
1. Poor Grip
A very common flaw that most slicers have is an improper grip that is too “weak.”
A weak grip is characterized by hand positions that are turned too far to the left on the grip, such that the “V’s” formed by the intersection of your thumbs and forefingers are pointed to your left shoulder.
Holding the club in this fashion can cause the club face to be delivered in an “open” position at impact and, as described above, this open club face is a primary cause of a slice.
2. Poor Setup
Another flaw that is seen in many slicers is in their setup as they address the ball.
Often, they will have a stance in which their spine angle at address is tilted too much toward the target.
This leftward tilt places their weight disproportionately on the left leg and, consequently, this produces a steep downswing that moves to the left through impact.
3. Improper Ball Position
Many slicers place the ball too far forward in their stances.
With the ball too far forward, opposite the left foot, it can cause golfers to open their shoulders so that they are aimed to the left as they reach forward at address, which in turn can cause the downswing path of the club to come from the outside.
4. Out-to-In Swing Path
This dreaded “out to in” swing path, combined with an open club face, is the most common cause of a slice.
An out to in path is when the club head approaches the ball from outside the target line and cuts across it to the left, imparting left to right sidespin on the ball.
There are other issues that can also contribute to a slice ball flight (e.g., lack of proper weight shift or even a reverse weight shift, tensing of the arm and shoulder muscles during the swing, etc.), but the ones described above are the most common.
And, as you’ll see, the prescription for turning your slice into a draw primarily involves addressing and correcting these flaws.
So, How Can I Turn My Slice Into a Draw?
Now that you have an understanding of why you currently slice the ball, we can begin to unlock the mysteries of how to hit a draw.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the changes that you will be making involve modifying or, in some cases, totally reversing the issues described above that lead to your slice.
Ultimately, your goal will be to create an impact position in which the face angle of your club at impact is “closed” (facing slightly left) to the path that your club head is travelling.
So, with these ball flight principles in mind, to hit a shot that starts out to the right of the target and which then curves back toward the target (the definition of a draw), you will first need to have a swing path that travels out to the right of your target line, and then a club face angle that points somewhat to the left of that swing path.
This differential between swing path and face angle is what creates draw spin on the ball. And the greater the differential, the larger the draw.
How to Hit a Draw in Golf (7 Steps)
Now that you know what club face impact conditions you’re trying to achieve, what are the setup and swing changes you will need to implement to actually make your ball move on the desired right-to-left ball flight?
1. Fix Your Grip
We previously described an improper grip in our discussion of what causes a slice (i.e., hands that are turned too much to the left, or which are in a “weak” position).
To hit a draw, you will need to strengthen your grip. “Strengthen” in this sense doesn’t mean that you should squeeze harder on the grip.
A grip is made stronger by rotating them to the right, so that the “V’s” between your thumbs and forefingers are pointing to your right shoulder.
Doing so properly should allow you to see two or three knuckles on your gloved hand.
This stronger grip will enable you to square the club face more easily and prevent it from coming into impact in an open position.
And while we’re talking about your grip, there are a couple other things to be aware of…
First, make sure to keep your grip pressure fairly light.
Having a death-grip on the club causes your hand, wrist and arm muscles to tense up and that makes it harder to release the club head, which is necessary to hit a draw.
Keep your pressure light enough that you allow the club to do its job more efficiently and to release naturally.
And second, make sure to grip the club more in your fingers instead of in the palms of your hands, with the left heel pad on top of the grip.
Having the grip in your fingers and the heel pad on top will make it easier to swing freely and to close the face of the club.
That’s essential if you want to hit a draw.
2. Tilt Slightly Away From the Target
As we indicated, slicer’s often have their upper bodies incorrectly tilted toward the target at address.
The proper spine angle to hit a draw is to tilt it slightly away from the target.
Putting about 55-60% of your weight on your right side at address will allow you to shallow out your downswing and deliver the club head to the ball on an in to out swing path.
This spine tilt also makes it easier for you to hit the ball with an upward angle of attack, which will generate more power and distance as well.
In addition to tilting your spine angle to the right, you should also align yourself slightly to the right of your target.
You want to start the ball to the right of your target, and to accomplish that you will need to aim yourself in that direction.
3. Position the Ball Correctly
The proper ball position to hit a draw with your driver is to tee the ball across from, or slightly inside, your left heel.
As we’ve suggested, teeing the ball too far forward of that will open your shoulders to the target and encourage a right to left (out-to-in) swing path.
Teeing it further back than that doesn’t give the club face enough time to square during the downswing and it will make contact with the ball while still “open” to the target line.
Both are recipes for a slice.
Placing the ball correctly, opposite the left heel, puts you in the best position to deliver the club head on the optimal path through the ball.
4. Shift Your Weight
To hit a consistent draw, it is vital to have a proper weight shift in your swing, in which you move your weight from being predominantly over the rear leg during the backswing, to being over your front leg into impact and follow-through.
Failing to shift your weight by hanging back on your right side at impact encourages a weak, over-the top swing that has left-to-right spin on it.
You need to get off of your back leg and onto your front leg to get the proper in to out path that’s needed to draw the ball.
5. In-to-Out Swing Path
In the majority of instances, golfers who slice will usually have a ball flight that starts out to the left before it begins its curve to the right.
The reason slices often start to the left is because the club is traveling on an outside to inside path through impact.
To get the draw you want that starts out to the right of the target and then curves back to toward it, you need to develop a swing path that moves in the opposite direction.
It must approach the ball from inside your target line.
This path direction is needed to make sure your ball starts on the intended line.
If you find it difficult to deliver the club from the inside, try dropping your right foot back a bit at address.
This allows you to create more room to make a full shoulder turn on the way back and for the club to come from the inside on the downswing.
6. Close the Face Angle Slightly
As previously stated, the draw requires that the face angle be somewhat closed in relation to the club’s swing path.
But this is not something that can be done by a last second adjustment of the hands.
The club head is moving much too quickly to have that kind of precise control on its direction.
Instead, the face angle is determined more by a culmination of the other factors that we’ve discussed: proper grip, setup, weight shift, path, etc.
The flight of the ball will tell you if the face angle was correct, though.
If the ball continues to curve to the right, you will know that the face was not sufficiently closed in relation to your swing path, and further adjustments can then be made (strengthening your grip even more, etc.).
7. Swing “Around” Your Body
When you’re first learning to hit a draw, try to emphasize making your arms swing around your body rather than up and down.
Players that slice the ball often have swings that are too vertical, which can create a steep, chopping motion.
Moving your arms around your body creates a flatter swing that will deliver the club from the inside instead of from the outside.
Two Great How-To Videos:
(1) Scratch Golf Academy
(2) Golf Channel
Most of the golfers who slice the ball are probably unaware of the reasons why.
And they probably assume that they are destined to a lifetime of watching their shots curve uncontrollably to the right and dreaming that they could hit a draw.
Well, slicing the ball doesn’t need to be a life sentence. And hitting a draw doesn’t need to be just a dream.
For a slicer, understanding why a golf ball slices is the first step in learning how to hit a draw.
The very things that you do in your swing that cause your slice are the things that need to be addressed, and often reversed, to turn that slice into a draw.