Friday, February 19, 2010

The Drawback

The next golf-specific exercise I have is for those of you specifically trying to learn to draw the ball. If you've been paying any attention whatsoever, you know I don't like shots that require twisting your forearms... and that's how a lot of people learn to hit draws. (I once heard Tiger talking about how, as a kid, he learned to flip his hands to get distance. He also indicated that this is a common thing for kids to do when they start trying to hit it farther. Is it any wonder so many pros struggle with duck hooks?)

The drawback won't give you that problem. You can do this inside without a club, or outside with one; I'll explain that later in the post. First, let me show you how you need to place your feet:

Drawback foot positions

The diagram should be pretty much self-explanatory. The toe of your back foot is about half of a literal "foot" behind the toes of your front foot, and your feet are spaced normally. The easiest way to do this is to set up normally, then move your back foot into position.

Your hips will already be pre-turned toward your backswing, so you should be able to get a pretty good shoulder turn without either foot leaving the floor... unless you have a really wide stance. Don't close your shoulders at setup, though -- you want them square, on a line parallel to that dotted line in the diagram. I know this isn't the way most teachers teach it, but there's method in my madness; if you master this move, you should have a controllable draw.

When you turn your shoulders on the way back, don't slide your hips backward -- keep that back knee steady. It may feel a little like you're squatting, but you aren't. Your forward foot will probably roll to the inside and your knee move that way as well. That's fine. Just make sure you keep that back knee steady on your backswing.

Now, here's the critical move. When you "swing" through to your finish, let your back knee tap the side of your front knee as you "hit the ball." This does two things:
  • It gets your back leg and hip moving, so you won't "hang back" and keep your weight on your back foot; and
  • It forces you to "post up" your front leg, so you won't push yourself too far forward and either do a reverse-C (result: a push) or fall head-first toward the hole (result: a pull).
By the way, if you let your hips slide forward (which means you didn't post up properly), it will be difficult to tap your knees. That's the most likely mistake you'll make.

This isn't a difficult move at all. It will help your balance, your leg work, and your shoulder turn.

Now, if you do this outside with a club. you'll find that you're swinging much more from the inside, which starts the ball out like a push. If you swing your arms normally and square up the clubface, you should get a slight draw that lands on the target line, right where you were aiming. This is very similar to the technique Jack Nicklaus used -- with great success, I might add.

But suppose it doesn't draw? Suppose you push the ball to the right and it doesn't come back? To get that draw without flipping your hands, take a slightly stronger grip on the club. Then, when you set up, hold your hands and forearms just like you normally do. This will give you a slightly closed clubface at setup, which is good. Then make your normal swing, and the ball should behave itself. If it doesn't, you're probably letting your front knee slide too far forward; that makes you lean backward, which opens your shoulders, which also opens your clubface.

This exercise should really help you if you have trouble drawing the ball.


  1. Great stuff, as usual. I always appreciate that you include some lefty visuals. It really helps me out. Thank you.

  2. I try to pay attention to my readers, Apryl. Some are lefties (like you) and have let me know, so I try to accommodate them. The idea of this blog is to make the game as simple as possible, after all!!

  3. (curls lip) Uh, thank you very muuuch. ;-)