How to draw a golf ball and stop a slice
Learning how to draw a golf ball, and being able to stop a destructive slice is a dream for many golfers. For most, it can seem like an impossible challenge but it really doesn’t have to be. It is actually quite simple and logical, as long as you know what you’re trying to do and why.
This post will tell you how to go about changing your slice/fade into a draw. It builds on a previous post – How to be your own golf coach, and applies the principles covered. So please refer to the above post first or link back for a refresher.
I’ll go through a practical example of the most common reasons people struggle to hit a draw. Then cover other key issues if the main ones don’t apply to you.
If you would like to see the best Drivers to reduce a slice, then check out this article.
Ali’s quest to draw a golf ball
One reason I’m delighted to write this post is because I was proved very wrong by a friend of mine. Ali is a medic at the same uni as me. He’s a steady golfer off a 5 handicap and plays great (he’s great chap also). However, he has always had a fade, and in a left to right wind this fade turns in to a wild slice.
His quest is to one day, get down to scratch and a couple of month ago he approached me for some help. He wanted to get rid of his fade/slice and wanted to be able to hit a draw. To begin with I refused, I told him it wasn’t worth it. I suggested with his limited time to practice, he was best to carry on refining the great action he had. However, he wore me down, and so we began a journey to take him from a fade to a draw.
Why was a so wrong? Well… I told Ali this would take a year of practice for him to start being able to play with a draw. He’s done it 8 weeks, and 8 practice sessions, ha! In this instance I’m very happy to be wrong.
I hope you find it useful and interesting.
Why does my fade turn into a slice?
As I covered in a previous post, a slice is commonly mis-diagnosed. A fade has an out to in swing path, and a club face that is pointing between the swing path and target. A slice occurs when the club face becomes more open to both the swing path and target. It is this open club face that imparts more slice spin, and causes the wayward shots.
To go from a fade to a draw you have to adapt two impact factors: the club face, and the swing path at impact. As laid out below.
Fade: Out to in swing path, club face points between the swing path and target at impact.
Draw: In to out swing path, club face points between the club face and target at impact.
As much as people can make this change very complicated, please remember this. To go from a fade/slice to a draw you only need to do two things:
- Create an in to out swing path at impact.
- Ensure the club face is closed to this swing path at impact.
It is as simple as that. You can have a dance at the top of your backswing. The golf ball doesn’t care. You just have to do the above two points through impact.
How to draw a golf ball – your club face needs to be closed to your swing path through impact
Most golfers incorrectly assume a slice is caused by an out-to-in swing path. This is not precisely true. The ball curves through the air due to side-spin (or a non-linear torque vector, you can think of this as a combination of side-spin and back-spin). This side-spin is imparted on the golf ball is struck with a club face that is not square to the swing path. An open club face, relative to the swing path is the real cause of a slice in golf.
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How to draw a golf ball: start point
Here is Ali’s swing to begin with. It’s a great looking swing. However, just like any golfer, there are many things he was unhappy with. He sways off the ball, he loses his angles in his down swing, he cuts sharply across the ball just after impact. It is easy for anyone to point these out. However, as you will see none of these are at all important, or the focus. Improving your golf should be simple, logical and make sense.
Part 1 how draw a golf ball: swing path
One of the hardest decisions with making this change is as follows – Should we start by changing the swing path? Should we start with the club face? Or should we go wild and do both together?
With Ali’s swing we decided to begin with the swing path. However, I change this approach based on the golfer, what we are changing and how much/how well they can practice.
So why does Ali find it impossible to create an in to out swing path? He’s a talented sportsman, but he’s never managed it.
To me it was quite obvious, and this is such a common point that golfer’s overlook. From our list the easiest improvement, and biggest factor affecting his swing path is his set up. The set up on the left looks great, but notice how little room there is between Ali’s hands and legs.
This isn’t a problem until we hit the downswing. Ali wants to return his hands to this same position they were at set up, but like any good golfer, his hips want to rotate through. As his hips rotate, there is nowhere for his hands to go but away from his body (middle pic). He also attempts to stand up to create some extra room. From here his only choice is to create an out to in swing path. Simple.
How to draw – Swing path cure
We made two minor changes to Ali’s set up. Ali’s knees have less flex and his weight is distributed much more through the centre of his feet, rather than through his heels. These two tiny changes had a significant on what Ali can now do.
We often hear golf is a game of inches, and this saying applies perfectly here. The difference between an out to in (a faders) swing path and a swing path for hitting a draw is a change of around 5 degrees (out to in 3 degrees to inside 1-2 degrees). This set up change allows just that.
How to draw a golf ball – Practice part 1
Don’t skip this part… With the changes explained some practice was then in order. Here is what to do, and what not to do.
Ali’s task was simple; use a mirror/window to ensure he could replicate this new set up. Then when he went to the range, hit 40 balls (with a mix of clubs). The aim was to start the ball right of target. I didn’t care where it finished. The key thing was for the ball to start right. He could explore how to do this with a simple feeling of swinging out to in from his new posture.
If the ball went miles right, he was to congratulate himself. He’d made a great swing (in to out swing path). If it started left, he needed to emphasise this feeling more.
If you want a snazzy practice aid to help you change your swing path check this out. However, I wouldn’t say it is a must.
Part 2 how to draw a golf ball: Club face
Next up we had club face. When we moved onto this part Ali had managed 5 range sessions, and 70-80% of the time could start his golf ball right of his target.
However, as you can imagine, he sure as hell was struggling to bring the ball back from there. What did we do to improve his club face? First, you have a go. Check our list and the video above. Consider what you would do as golf coach.
Here is my approach: When we consider a golfer’s club face angle at impact, we need to be aware it will vary from shot to shot. I like ask the following two questions.
- What is the golfers average club face angle (such as 3 degrees open)
- What is their range (It may range from 1 degree open to 7 degrees open)
My aim is to create an average that they want, but also reduce the variance around that number. This is the key reason we favour a grip change over the other factors. Release, wrist angle and dynamic balance can all be used to change club face angle. But they rarely create the precise change we want, or have the consistency we desire.
Just like our swing path change, this fault is synonyms with slicers and often overlooked. Ali was actually cheating most golf coaches, as to begin with his grip looks great (left). However, when we remove the right hand we can see that the left thumb is in a good position, but there is a gap. His left hand is actually very weak. It is this hand position that causes his open club face at impact. It is how the club is held in the fingers and palm that ultimately makes a difference, not the thumb position.
How to draw a golf ball – Club face cure
How we achieved this was simple. We asked Ali to hold the golf club with his right hand. Then extend his left hand so his fingers point towards the ground. From this position you can check where you hold the golf club relative to your hand and fingers. It should run from the top joint in your little finger, to the middle joint in your index finger.
If you are like Ali, and many other faders, you will see the club is much higher in the hand (across your palm to the top of your index finger). This is the biggest reason for an open club face at impact in golf.
Once you have the correct hand position you can close your hand round the club to make it look like the above. This should feel very odd if you’ve never done this before.
This one change altered the relationship between Ali’s hands and the club by 5-6 degrees. Guess what…with no other swing changes Ali’s average club face angle went from 2-3 degrees open, to 1-2 degrees closed.
The result, a very excitable, kid-like medic and a draw. It makes me smile so much to watch Ali excitedly trying his new draw.
Here is Ali’s new swing.
What you can hopefully appreciate from the two video is that the swing doesn’t look a great deal different. It’s doesn’t often need to. We only needed a 5 degree change in swing path, and 5 degree change in club face. The other great thing is that from just changing Ali’s grip and posture, we’ve made an array of minor improvements to his action.
His new posture means he can rotate back and through far easier. His new grip puts the club face in a more neutral position at the top, but has also shortened his swing length. I love this new position. The best news – These changes will make Ali more consistent and he didn’t even have to think about these additional alterations. This is the great value in improving grip and posture.
How to draw a golf ball – Practice part 2
So what are the keys to practice part two. Firstly ensure the grip stays in it’s new position. It is very easy to become lazy, and your left hand to slip back to it’s old position.
With this new action Ali’s biggest problem is over-drawing. With his new grip his hands have to release far less to square up the club face. To help I suggested two games.
First, take a 6 iron and hit some low punch shots, which have to travel less than 150 yards. To hit a low punch your hands have to stay very quiet. To hit it under 150 yards for Ali took a lot of control. This drill gives a fun way to practice these points and develop a new shot.
Secondly, go chip for 10- 20 mins. This sounds weird, but one of the best ways to get used to a new grip and stop strangling the golf club is to practice your chipping with it. Yes it’s tough, but Ali and I’m sure most faders will benefit from changing their grip for all shots.
What if I’m fading for a different reason?
Please double and triple check the above first. These two reasons account for over 75% of golfers I see who have fades. However, if this isn’t you, or you wish to design your swing differently, then here are the only other ways to solve a slice according to our list and the laws of physics.
How to draw a golf ball: Aim
The aim principle relates to both the body and club face aim. Check your club face aim at set up. Is it pointing at the target? Secondly, does it stay in this position when you grip the club.
If you don’t want to change your grip, but you want a 5 degree club face change, just twist your club 5 degrees closed before you take your grip. In no way would I recommend you do this as a swing change, but it will show you just how important the relationship between your hands and the club face is.
Hopefully after this experiment you will grow up and go change your grip 😉 .
How to draw a golf ball: Wrist position
If all else in your golf swing is in good shape, you may wish to check your left wrist angle. A flexed/flatter left wrist gets the club face more closed. A more extended/cupped left wrist causes the club face to open.
(Sorry for the two terms – flexion/extension are the medically correct terms, but golf coaches seem to use the latter options – confusing.)
Try holding a golf club and playing around with your wrist angle at set up and at the top of your swing. Here is the best way to work on refining your left wrist position during your swing. I call it the pump drill.
It takes a few attempts to be able to do this, so start slow. Key points are to set up well. Slowly swing half way back – pause – check your left wrist. Then turn to the top of your swing.
From here make two slow swings starting down and back up, on the third you swing through. You should continue to focus on your left wrist position throughout the downswing. Where it matters the most is just before and through impact.
How to draw a golf ball: Release and dynamic balance
The last two reasons for not squaring up the club face are release and dynamic balance. Specifically, with dynamic balance we mean moving too far ahead of the golf ball at impact, meaning you leave the club face open. If this is your issue then try the following.
Take a 9 iron and place your feet together. Now attempt to chip a ball 30-50 yards. If you move forward you will fall over. Your task is simple, from this set up, stay balanced and aim to hit a mini 50 yard shot with a draw. You should allow your hands to be very active and do most of the swinging.
Once you can do this for 50 yards, slowly work up in 10 yard increments, until you can hit almost a full shot. Then take this feeling into your golf swing.
How to draw a golf ball: Conclusion
This has been an extensive post on how to go from a fade to a draw. So many golfers struggle with this, and I felt there just wasn’t a extensive guide on ‘the real how to’.
Comment below and let me know your thoughts. As you comment I will reply and update the post with drills and sections you want more info on.
In the meantime – happy golfing. This blog is growing fast so thanks! Come join the Golf insiders if you would like a post like this emailed to you once a week.