Technical Tips

April 2016

GolfGeeks Draw Bias: Slice Killer or Total BS?
By Tony Covey

Is draw bias a reality or just a marketing myth?
Can manufacturers actually design clubs that can help you hit a draw, or at the very least, slice the ball less?

The short answer is that draw bias isn't a myth. It's a real thing, and golfers probably don't take advantage of it as much as they should.

What Makes a Club Draw Biased?
There are actually several different ways manufacturers can achieve a draw bias, but before we get into that, let's cover a couple of minor details to help ensure everyone starts on the same page.

You should read all of the relevant examples as if they were prefaced with "For a right-handed golfer...". Most of you lefties should be smart enough to understand that things basically work the opposite for you. As a quick example, if I say help move the ball right to left (what right-handers generally consider a draw) lefties should translate that to help move the ball left to right.

Got it?

It's also important that we dispel the somewhat pervasive myth that adding draw bias to a club means that it's no longer possible to hit a fade (or a slice). Not only is it still possible to hit both, adding draw bias doesn't make either shot significantly more difficult.

You can still hit a fade with a draw biased driver. In fact, if we're being brutally honest, for most of you who need a draw biased club, the draw bias isn't going to turn your slice into a draw. It might turn that slice into a fade, or at least help you slice to the fairway instead of the treeline.

From here on out, remember this; it's a draw bias, not a draw promise.
Finally, you should understand that draw bias is a bit of a catch-all term for a number of different things OEMs do to influence/promote right to left ball flight (for right-handed golfers), or at a minimum, reduce a slice.  No USGA-conforming technology currently exists that can guarantee you'll always hit a draw. Our impact conditions can (and often do) override any and all attempts by the manufacturers to stop us from slicing the ball.

So how exactly do manufacturers go about adding draw bias to a driver? Let's run down the list.

Rear CG/ Rear CG with offset


As we talked about in our Golf Geeks article on CG location, a rear center of gravity creates a faster closure rate. The head basically makes more of an effort to close itself during the downswing. This helps return the club to square, or even past square, at impact.

For golfers who struggle with the ball going right, this faster closure rate can help shut the face relative to the swing path, which is necessary in order to move the ball right to left.

Adding offset pushes the CG even farther back, which creates even more dynamic closure. While we know offset, particularly in a driver, isn't appealing to everyone, it can be particularly effective both for golfers who slice the ball and, because offset increases dynamic loft, for golfers who struggle to get the ball in the air as well.

Upright Lie Angle

Because of the loft on a golf club, when you raise the toe (make it upright), you change where the face is pointed (it points more left). Where the face points is where the ball starts.

This is why we fit irons for lie angle. For golfers who have a tendency to push, or hang shots out to the right, bending the irons upright can improve the line the ball starts on. While it doesn't get the same attention, the same thing is true for metalwoods as well.

So how does it work?

Starting the ball left can help you from going too far right. The upright lie also promotes a left tilting spin axis, which leads to what’s generally described as draw spin.

An upright lie angle basically gives you a head start, but depending on the severity of the slice conditions the golfer generates, it certainly won't guarantee a draw.

Close the Face

Face angle primarily impacts starting line. As we've already mentioned, the golf ball will start where the face is pointing. Close the face and you’ve effectively pointed it more left, and so the ball with want to start left of the target.

As with an upright lie, closing the face can also alter the face to path relationship which again, can either promote a draw or mitigate a slice. The chart below has been floating around the interwebs for some time now. We haven't found a better way to illustrate how the relationship between face and path dictates ball flight - although it should be noted that all of this assumes center contact.

Weighting (internal or external)
In simple terms, weight in the heel promotes a draw, while weight in the toe promotes a fade (or neutralizes the draw weighting alternative).

There are 3 things manufacturers can accomplish through bias weighting:

Accelerated Closure Rate - The more weight allocated to the heel side of the driver, the more the head wants to rotate around the axis of the shaft. This is a significant part of how Ping's G30 SF Tec works. The shaping is different. There's more mass/structure in the heel side of the head (relative to the other G30 offerings). That additional heel mass helps increase the closure rate.

Reduce Heel Gearing/Increase Toe Gearing - For those who don’t know, because of the gear effect, anything to the toe side of the center of gravity will promote draw spin, while anything to the heel side of the CG will promote fade spin. By shifting the CG towards the heel you slightly increase the area of the face that promotes draw spin (you now have a greater percentage of the face on the toe side of the CG),while proportionally decreasing the portion of the face that creates fade spin.

Heel-Side Sweet Spot – As you move weight to the heel, the sweet spot moves with it. As you may guess, we’re talking about millimeters, but for those who tend to favor the heel, moving weight in that direction will not only mitigate a slice, but will also promote more distance on slight heel misses. If you're a guy who consistently hits the ball towards the heel, even if you don't slice, it may be worth looking into a draw weighted driver.

As with all other aspects of CG, the actual impact of moving weight as a means to alter shot shape is dependent on the amount of mass being moved, and the distance over which that mass is being moved.

To put some real-world context to this, TaylorMade’s SLDR from draw to fade shifts the CG by 6mm. While it’s not a true 50/50 toe/heel split with that model, conceptually you can think of it as offering 3mm of movement from center in either direction.
That's not a lot by conventional measures, but it does matter.

Is Draw Bias Right For You?
The takeaway from this article should be that manufacturers leverage a variety of different techniques to help golfers who fight the dreaded slice. In some cases the techniques are used in isolation, while in others, multiple draw biasing techniques are combined into a single driver design. While these designs are often regarded as game-improvement in nature, their practical value likely exceeds the confines of that categorization. More of us would probably benefit from some form of draw biased driver.

If you just need a little help squaring the face, then a rear CG driver might be all it takes, however, if you're starting the ball right and slicing it off the golf course, then it might make sense to take a more aggressive approach to working around the problem.
It's important for you to pay attention to the golf ball at impact. Where on the face are you most consistently hitting it? Where is the ball starting? Where is it finishing? Once you understand those things as well as which club design considerations offer the potential for correction, it should become much easier to find a driver that will actually help you play better.


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