Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)


Vary Your Trajectory For Better Accuracy

By Tom Watson Photos by J.D. Cuban
March 13, 2017

My natural shot is a draw, and most good players know how to curve it right to left when they need to. But sometimes, bending the ball isn't enough. There are times when the height of the shot is just as important as the draw itself. This is certainly true at a course such as Augusta National. Whether you need to take it up and around the trees on the famous par-5 13th, or you need to chase it up to a green from under some branches off a fairway, the trajectory is crucial to success.

I'm going to make the "how to" adjustments simple: When you grip the club, do so in a stronger position than normal. That means turning both hands to the right a bit, but make sure the face is still square with your target. Now adjust your setup.

For a low draw (below), play the ball back an inch or two from your normal ball position, which will naturally set your left shoulder lower than it would be for a standard shot. For a high draw, play the ball forward in your stance an inch or two, which will set your left shoulder slightly higher.


These alterations in your grip, ball and shoulder positions will result in your shot drawing left at the desired height. Remember, if you can change trajectory on command, you're playing at a higher level than most.

Make sure the club is square to the target after you strengthen your grip.


Sometimes you don't need a draw; you need a hook. To really get the shot curving to the left, focus on making sure the clubface is significantly closed in relation to its path as you strike the ball. This is a feel shot as much as any, so be sure to practice it a lot to get a sense of how much the ball will curve.