Golf would be a boring game if the fairways on every hole were straight. As if hazards such as bunkers and water were not enough, most quality golf courses will feature a fairway which is shaped like a dogleg and bends to the left.
The dogleg holes on a golf course come on the par-4 and par-5’s and instead of being a problem, should be thought of as more of a challenge. Dogleg holes allow you to show both your skill and strategy when playing golf, so take advantage of them when you can.
When playing a dogleg left hole, you firstly need to assess the type of dogleg you are facing. If the bend in the hole comes after you have played your tee shot, you must decide if you are going to follow the route of the fairway or try and cut the corner by playing over whatever hazard the fairway is bending around.
Look at the location of the green and try to give yourself the widest angle of attack into the green as possible. Once the hole has turned to the left, you must decide if you want to aim down the right or left side of the fairway. Your decision will depend on whether the green is on the right side of the fairway, which means you will want to hit to the ball left or the left side of the fairway, meaning you will want to hit to the right.
If the bend comes early in the hole, you may be required to hit a draw shot off the tee. This is a shot you must practice because you will need it on holes such as a dogleg left.
To hit a draw on a dogleg left, use a slightly wider stance than usual and have the ball slightly further back in your stance. Aim to the right of the target and make sure your lead shoulder is also aiming to the right of the target. Now turn the head of the club so it is directly facing the target and keep a normal grip. This set-up should allow you to draw the ball nicely.
The temptation for many golfers on a dogleg left hole is to try and do too much. Even if you have a very capable draw shot, you should never try and work the ball around a bend if you are struggling to reach it.
Check the distance you will need to hit the ball to work it around the corner and if you know you will struggle to reach it, hit a straight shot and deal with the bend on your next shot. It’s better to be on the fairway and play the bend on your second shot then see your tee shot find a hazard.
Finally, don’t forget to practice. Hitting a draw shot consistently can be quite difficult for right handed players so use your time at the driving range to work on the shot.