What Is a Golf Draw Driver?
The slice is a common enemy of high-handicap golfers. A round-ruining, gravity defying left-to-right missile that seems preternaturally attracted to trees has created an industry within golf.
Quite a few club manufacturers offer "draw drivers" in a range of configurations designed to combat chronic slicing and help players keep their tee shots in play. There is no single simple answer to what a draw driver is, because different manufacturers take different approaches to solving the same problems, but there are some conventions commonly found in clubs marketed as draw drivers.
One feature common to most draw drivers is that the majority of the weight in the club head is in the heel, allowing a golfer to rotate the club face back to square at impact easier. Designers know the two main causes of the slice are an open club face at impact and an out-to-in/over the top swing.
A heel-weighted club naturally pushes the club to the inside at transition, and the balance makes turning the head over easier. Some draw drivers have configurable weights for the heel, allowing the player to make adjustments in the placement of head weight.
Some draw drivers have lofts between 11 and 13 degrees, higher than the 9 to 10.5 degrees of most drivers. The higher loft adds backspin, which means less side-spin and tighter shot dispersion. Clubs that offer a combination of higher loft and increased heel weight can produce more consistent flight patterns and a more forgiveness off the tee.
Closed Face Angle
Some draw drivers come with fixed face angles that are 1 to 2 degrees closed at address, and some even offer adjustable face angles -- though those cannot be changed during play. Closing the face angle is especially helpful for players who have trouble getting their hands through at impact, a common problem among slicers. A few manufacturers have developed proprietary technology for the faces of their draw drivers that doesn't include closing the face, and one even offers a draw driver that has a slightly open face.
Shafts and Head Weight
Draw drivers commonly come with graphite shafts that have flex and torque optimized for the particular club face loft and angle design. Although drivers with offset shafts are designed to help with slices, all offset drivers are not draw drivers -- but some draw drivers have offset shafts. Total head weight is also a consideration for draw drivers. Some manufacturers promote a lighter head in their draw drivers, which helps generally with club head speed at impact, aiding in getting greater distance with a slice-corrected shot.
A draw driver can be a comfort to a beginning player who keeps losing balls into the high weeds or hazards as a result of a slice, but opinions about them are mixed. For example, Barry Goldstein, who has been selected several times by various golfing magazines as one of the top teaching pros in the world, has referred to draw drivers as "a band aid" to deal with a slice, saying that they are not good for "long term play," and recommending learning to hit correctly with a good square-faced driver. A driver with an adjustable face that can be set to square offers the best of both worlds, but, as might be expected, they are normally more expensive than fixed-head drivers.
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