Why Am I Pulling My Driver Left (Causes and Fixes)

There is nothing worse than standing over a tee shot and seeing your golf ball flying straight left.

This shot pattern creeps into your mind and can cause some major frustrations when playing golf. Even Tiger Woods feared the “Big Miss”

We all dream of hitting a driver straight or with a slight fade or draw for our entire round.  How much easier would golf be if we could play every hole from the fairway!

Does this sound familiar?

Maybe you hit the last 5 drivers down the fairway and then out of nowhere the ball goes way left.

Or you seem to pull every shot, regardless of what you try to do.

How does this happen?

Below, I will dive into what causes this pulled shot from a clubface and swing path perspective, look at certain things happening in your swing and then offer some fixes to help you eliminate this shot from your game.

Why Am I Pulling My Driver Left?

A pulled shot is a result of a club face that is left of the target line along with a matching swing path, which is also left of the target line.  For example, if your clubface is 4 degrees closed or left with a swing path that is also 4 degrees left, you will hit a pull shot.

This can be caused from one of the following:

  • Stalling of your turn
  • Opening your shoulders too soon
  • Overactive with your hands.

The real issue is as this number grows larger and you are faced with a 10 degree left clubface and a 10 degree path.  The end result is a shot that is out of bounce and you find yourself having to hit a provisional shot.

It all can be explained using the ball flight laws, which until the past decade or so were misunderstood.  To understand the why behind the pulled left driver, let’s dive into the ball flight laws.  Having a basic understanding will help you make the corrections by reading your ball flight during your practice sessions and even during your round of golf.

One of the battles with the pull is that the further you aim right, the more you seem to pull the ball.

Overview of the Ball Flight Laws (With Examples)

Too often golfers turn to the video of their swing when everything you need to know can be read off of your ball flight.  Did you know that your ball flight can tell you the following:

  • Where your club face was at impact.
  • If your swing path was left or right of the club face.

So let’s dive into the ball flight laws:

  • Generally speaking, the golf ball will start where the club face is aiming.
  • The golf ball will then curve away from the swing path.

There are two different lines that we must understand.  The target line and the start line.  The best golfers start the ball left or right of the target line and then curve the ball back towards the target.

Let’s go over some examples to help you better understand the ball flight laws.

Example A:  Let’s say that the club face is 3 degrees right of the target line and the swing path is 5 degrees right of the target line.  What will the ball do?

Answer: The ball will start right of the target line and draw back towards the target.  This is known as a push draw.

Example B: Let’s say the club face is 3 degrees right of the target line, same as in example A, but the swing path is only 1 degree right of the target line.  What will the ball do?

Answer: The ball will start to the right of the target line and will fade to the right.  Keep in mind that the ball will curve away from the swing path.  In this example, both the club face and the swing path are to the right and the ball will curve away from the path.

Example C: Let’s say the club face is 3 degrees to the left of the target line and the swing path is 5 degrees left of the target line.  What will the ball do?

Answer: The ball will start to the left and curve to the right.  This would be a pull fade or pull slice.  Keep in mind that even though the face is closed to the target line, it is open to the swing path and the ball will curve away from the swing path.

Example D: Let’s say the club face is 3 degrees to the left and the swing path is only 1 degree to the left.  What will the ball do?

Answer: The ball will start left and curve left.  This shot would look like a pull draw. 

Hopefully, these examples help you understand the club face and swing path correlation and how they match up.  Once you understand these ball flight laws, it will help you read your own shots and possibly make in round adjustments.

Causes of the Pulled Shot in Golf (With Fixes)

Potential Cause #1: Stalling Your Turn

One potential cause of the pull shot left with the driver is you stop rotating.  The hips and legs will stop and the hands and upper body will take over.  If you do not manipulate and push out to the right you can hit a pull shot with the driver.

The Fix: Get a deep enough turn on the backswing and then keep turning through the ball.  Ensure that your club face isn’t too far open on the down swing, which will allow you to keep turning through the ball and stabilize your clubface through impact.

Potential Cause #2: Opening Shoulders Too Soon

In any good golf shot, the shoulders do open and the best is facing the target somewhat at impact.  However, when this is the first move from the top, the end result is a shot that will either be a pull left or a pull left that slices significantly. 

The Fix: The golfer should work on sequencing and getting the legs and hips moving as the upper body stays back slightly as the downswing begin.  One of the best at teaching this movement is George Gankas.  While he does teach a rather rotational golf swing, it does start with the upper body staying back or closed as the legs begin the downswing.

Potential Cause #3: Overactive Hands

When the hands are overactive in the golf swing, the end result can be a major hook (if your path stays inside) or a pull shot (if your path is left).  This is the results of an improper release and maybe the many years of teaching of turning the toe over through the shot.

The Fix: Think of your release as an underhand skipping of the stone across the river or lake motion.  The golfer stands under and through the shot with more of a underhand type of release of the right hand.

Ultimate Fix: Build A Stock Shot

The goal for many golfers is to build consistency in the golf swing. Consistency is rooted in being able to control your low point, your start point and your curve of the ball.

The Stack and Tilt Instructors said it best when they described what they believed were the fundamentals of golf.  They explained it somewhat similar to this:

  • The first fundamental is the golfer’s ability to control the bottom of the golf swing.  The best golfers will hit the ground in the intended spot, close to 100% of the time.
  • The second fundamental is the golfer’s ability to control the curve of the golf ball. The best golfers are able to start the ball to the right or left of the target line and have the ball curve towards the target without the ball over curving past the target.
  • The third fundamental is the golfer’s ability to have enough power to play the golf course.  This means they are able to hit the ball far enough to play the course in regulation.

To fully understand the Stack and Tilt approach, check out this post.

This drill below will help you focus on the 2nd fundamental: controlling your start line and the curve of your ball.

The key is to develop a stock draw or a stock fade, whatever your preference is.

Stock Shot Drill

A key is to control your start line and your curve, which is the 2nd fundamental in golf.  I would recommend the stock draw shot.  Here is a drill you can practice at the driving range:

  • Set up an alignment stick about 7 to 10 yards in front of you on the target line. 
  • Set up a 2nd alignment stick about 3-4 feet right of the 1st alignment stick.
  • See how many shots out of 10 you can start in this gate.
  • Track this data over time and continue to work on your start line.

How To Measure Your Golf Swing

It can be helpful to know your swing path and club face direction at impact.  In today’s golf world, even amateurs can have access to this technology and data with the technology now available.

The professional golfers of today all have access to some great technology including launch monitors to help measure their swing and know their numbers.  Can an amateur use this same or similar technology for game improvement?  Yes, absolutely and I would highly recommend it.  

Even if you aren’t going to go all out and build an indoor golf simulator like I did (see below), you can still pick up a launch monitor at a reasonable price and use it in your indoor net or taking to the course or driving range with you!  

Know numbers like spin rate, ball speed, spin axis and other key information is vital to your growth.  Sharing these numbers with your instructor can be helpful and help with equipment selection as well.

I would recommend one of the three launch monitors listed below:

BONUS DRILL:  Increase your swing speed through overspeed training

  • Check out SuperSpeed Overspeed Training Protocols
  • Train every other day for 10-15 minutes.
  • See a 4-6% increase in swing speed as early as the first training protocol.

The number one thing that has helped me gain significant distance is the SuperSpeed Training System.  This overspeed based system where you train every other day for about 10-15 minutes with different swing sticks can help you increase your swing speed by 5-8% which can be 20-30 yards.  Who wouldn’t want an extra 20-30 yards.  Plus it helps improve your mechanics.

SuperSpeed Golf – Use Discount Code Golfjourney365 for some savings!

The analytics are pretty clear on the importance of speed in the game of golf.  Would you rather hit your approach shot from 130 yards of 160 yards?  The answer is pretty simple!  We know that over the course of time, we will hit shots from 130 yards much closer than from 160 yards, whether we are an average amateur golfer, a scratch golfer, or a PGA Tour member!  

The key is having shorter approach shots, so we can hit the ball closer to the hole and then make more putts!  Speed is king in the game of golf!  Make sure you check out SuperSpeed Golf!

Final Thoughts: My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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