Want to Draw Your Driver?

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Do you fade or slice your driver? If so, you are not alone. Research indicates that roughly 85% of amateurs suffer from this weak shot that generally ends up in the right trees or desert. Ever wonder why short or mid irons don’t curve nearly as much?

To uncover this phenomenon, you have to understand what is happening at impact to create this excessive curve with the driver and less curve with the other clubs. According to our Flight scope launch monitor data, most golfers have an angle of attack with their 7 iron of 5-7 degrees down. This simply means that the club head, at the point of contact, is moving in a downward direction 5-7 degrees.    The driver is different. Most golfers will make impact with the driver much more level or with an angle of attack of 0. So, why is this information important?

The path your club takes through impact dictates which direction the ball curves.  The more your path moves to the right or “in to out” the greater chance you have of hitting a draw. The more your path moves to the left or “out to in” the greater chance the ball will curve right. So, why does angle of attack matter?

When measuring path, angle of attack has to be taken into consideration. Why?   The golf club moves on an angled plane. The golf swing doesn’t move straight up and down as a ferris wheel does. Nor does it move on a horizontal plane like a merry-go –round. The golf swing moves on an angled plane so as long as the club head is moving down, it is also moving out to the right of the target. When the club head moves up away from the ground, it moves to the left of the target.

The conclusion is simple. The higher a player’s angle of attack, the more the club is moving out. This simply means you could have a swing direction to the left but if you are hitting enough down on the ball you could create a ball flight that is straight or even draws to the left. Remember, with the driver the ball is struck very close to level. The club isn’t moving much down or up. Due to this fact, your swing direction essentially becomes your path. So the conclusion is simple…. If you want to draw your driver make sure your swing is out to the right. If you attempt to swing out to in and the ball still curves right, you will need to shift your swing direction even more to the right. Keep doing this until you get a ball that curves from right to left.

In summary, it is absolutely imperative to have a swing direction with the driver that is out to the right if you want to draw your golf ball. The driver in general is contacted more towards the bottom of the arc or what we call the “low point”. If you hit the driver with the attack angle of 0, your swing direction and path becomes the same thing. Try and swing more out to in if you are slicing the driver and that nasty slice will be replaced with a powerful draw!!!

John Stahlschmidt is the Senior Head Instructor at the TOURAcademy TPC Scottsdale.
To comment on this column or if you have any questions, email John at