Dogleg Left Golf Holes

By Steve Silverman

Playing a dogleg hole is a matter of skill and strategy for golfers. Most golf courses will have about five to seven dogleg holes on an 18-hole layout. These holes will be par 4's and par 5's and most of them will be dogleg right holes since most courses are built for right-handed golfers and the left-to-right action of the fade is more natural than right to left. As a result, dogleg left holes can be a test for golfers of all levels.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Assess the type of hole you are about to play. On a hole that bends sharply to the left after you have teed off, you have to decide whether you are going to follow along with the fairway or try to "cut the corner" by flying over a hazard on the golf course. If the dogleg comes within the first 200 yards of the hole, you may want to go over the hazard and cut the distance. However, if the dogleg doesn't come until 225 yards or more, go down the fairway with a shot that moves from right to left.
Step 2
Give yourself a chance to hit into the green with as wide an angle as possible. This will determine whether you go down the right side or the left side of the fairway once the hole has turned to the left. If the green is on the right side of the fairway, hitting from the left side may give you a greater angle of approach and more margin for error. If the green is on the left side of the fairway, you give yourself an easier approach angle if you come in from the right side.
Step 3
Learn how to hit a draw shot. This is an important shot throughout your round and it is vital on a dogleg hole that bends right to left. In order to hit that draw, use a slightly wider stance than usual and play the ball about one ball length closer to your back foot. Aim to the right of the target and adjust your shoulders so that your left shoulder is aimed to the right of the target. Turn the head of the club so it faces your target directly. Use your normal grip.
Step 4
Don't overthink the dogleg left hole. You have to know your range. If you are trying to hit a draw so that your ball flies into the part of the hole that bends to the left but it is past where you can drive the ball, just hit a straight shot and make your adjustment on the second shot. There's no reason to hit a draw if the ball is just going to change course and veer off into a hazard.
Step 5
Work on your draw shot at the driving range. Most right-handed golfers can hit a fade (left-to-right action) fairly easily but have to work on their draw shot quite a bit to learn to hit it consistently. Try to hit at least 20 draw shots every time you go to the driving range.

Tips & Warnings

The goal on a dogleg hole is to subtract distance from tee to green and not add it. Learning to hit the draw shot will help you "cut" distance from the hole.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.


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