Instruction Analysis

How to hit Rory McIlroy's high, towering draw

October 21, 2021

Christian Petersen

With all the talk about controlled fades of the tee on tour, Rory McIlroy proves that there's still room for bombing super-high draws—as he did in earning his 20th PGA Tour victory last week at the 2021 CJ Cup. Even if you aren't swinging it 125 miles per hour, a right-to-left ball flight is probably still something you'd like to see more regularly. Golf Digest Teaching Professional and 50 Best Teacher Mark Blackburn has some intel you can take from Rory's swing that will help you get it.

Make sure your setup suits the shape

Rory's swing shape goes from inside to out, so his setup supports that shape, says Blackburn, who is based at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham.

"He's very neutral, without a lot of tilt in his shoulders. But weekend players tend to swing from outside in, which means you have to make some adjustments,” he says.

“Set up with your trail shoulder slightly lower, and your shoulders slightly closed relative to the target line. You also need to move the ball back slightly, so that it's inside your lead foot."

Watch Rory demonstrate this below:

Why the transition is crucial

"Rory hits it the best when he's very smooth in transition," says Blackburn.

"If he gets quick and narrow, he loses clubface control and the face tends to be open. That's either going to produce hooks or big blocks because he tries to protect from going way left. No matter how you swing, that's a strong element to remember. You have to be in control of the face in your transition before you pour on the speed."

Watch Rory demonstrate this below:

Set things in place for success

"Rory doesn't have the same issues you do, but when things go wrong, he has to fix them the same way—by trying to twist the face closed with his hands late," says Blackburn.

"Tour players can get away with that because of great timing and a real sense for what the face is doing, but you're going to get much spottier results.

“Whether you're trying to change your swing direction or close the face, the earlier you set those things up in the swing, the better your chances of doing it in a way that isn't so variable."

Watch Rory demonstrate this below:

Understand how launch works

"I'll see amateurs who want to launch it higher move the ball way forward and add big tilt to their shoulders to hit on up on it more, but that causes a big problem," says Blackburn.

"When you hit up, you shift the swing path more outside in—which a slicer is already doing.

“To get what Rory has with those big, high draws, you have to swing out double the amount you swing up. If you aren't swinging more to the right of your target, forget trying to swing up more."

Watch Rory demonstrate this below:

A tour move you can accomplish

"One thing that is a trademark of players who hit draws? The club's center or mass gets behind the hands during the backswing, stays there through transition and on the downswing," says Blackburn.

"Rory isn't a big guy, but from where he is at transition, he can really turn, straighten his right arm and release the clubhead fully. That mass pitches outside the hands and toward the target line early in the downswing, you're going to cut across the ball and slice it or have to somehow hold it off so you don't hit a pull hook. You can play that way, but you won't be bombing high draws."

Watch Rory demonstrate this below: