Golf glossary: What’s the deal with the ‘draw’?

Image of a draw from a deck of cardsWE KNOW it’s good to be quick on the draw, to draw a pretty picture or to draw an ace. So what’s the deal with the draw in golf? Is it a noun or a verb? And most important, is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Well, the term has two different golf definitions. The simple one pertains to “the luck of the draw,” as applied to match play. The draw is the setup of the brackets to produce the matches. If you are the 16th-best player in a 16-woman match play field, you will have a very tough draw because you must to play the best player in the first round. That, of course, is a good draw for the No. 1 player.

The second golf definition applies to shot shape. It’s the curve that your ball makes in flight: just slightly to the left for a right-handed golfer. So in this case it is a noun, and, it is a verb: You can hit a draw, and you can draw the ball.

And it is indeed a desirable skill to have. If you draw the ball gently, chances are you will get a little extra distance on your shot. The pros use a draw to shape their shots into greens with certain pin placements or hazards.

For new, bad or tired golfers, it is much more typical to pull or hook the ball drastically right to left into trees or lake or bunker than it is to hit a gentle draw. Annika Sorenstam explains why in this Golf Channel segment on how to hit a draw like Lexi Thompson does.

There are other schools of thought on how to hit a draw: LPGA and PGA teaching professional Nancy Quarcelino starts with closing the club face. LPGA star Beatriz Recari has four very different keys to hitting the shot with her irons. So check with your favorite instructor if you want to be quick on the draw in your golf game.

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