Instead of adjusting their swing mechanics to purposely curve the ball in one direction or the other, many tour pros find it easier—and more reliable—to change their setup. Here's how they do it.
To draw the ball (a right-to-left curve for right-handed golfers), play the ball a little farther back than normal, about the center of your stance with an iron and just forward of that for a wood. Then adjust your stance line so it's pointing slightly right of the target by dropping your back foot behind the position of your front foot, as I'm demonstrating (above, left).
This closed stance promotes a swing that moves right of the target line through the hitting area, and the deeper ball position keeps the clubface pointing slightly right of the target at impact. The ball starts right and draws because the face isn't pointing as far to the right as the swing path—that's the key.
The opposite adjustments allow you to hit a fade. Position the ball farther forward in your stance than normal, and set your feet and body so they're aligned left of the target (above, right). This alignment promotes an out-to-in swing path, and the forward ball position helps get the face pointing left of the target at impact. As long as the face isn't pointing as far to the left as the swing path, the ball will start left and fade toward the target.
Experiment with these adjustments on the driving range.
Sean Foley teaches at Orange County National near Orlando.