The opposite effect of golf
Many things in golf actually work the opposite way to what many people think. This may well be the reason why so many golfers play with the same undesirable shot pattern for years on end!
Here I’m going to cover some of the most common misconceptions and maybe one will ring true with your game and you can put it right.
This has got to be the most common mis-shaped shot in the game and it’s a distance killer as well as a directional problem. For a right hander, the more the ball curves to the right, the more the player instinctively swings to the left to try and stop it. The more the club travels left through impact the more likely the ball is to curve to the right. It does sometimes take a bit of effort to cure a slice but there are only two main variables which create this unwanted side spin. The club path (the direction the club is travelling at impact) relative to the alignment of the club face. In simple terms, if the club face is open relative to the club path, there will be a slice spin on the ball.
So, to stop the ball slicing to the right, you need to swing the club to the right! Couple this with a slightly closed clubface to the path and you’re heading in the right direction to create a neutral or draw flight and lose the slice for good!
The shot that shoots hard right and feels horrible!
Some people describe this as a big slice, some as a toe shot and some as a shank. That’s quite a variation and each one of those descriptions come off a completely different part of the cub head!
When a shank happens, I ask if the person knows where they have just struck the ball. A lot of the time they point to the toe end of the club and although this would also send the ball shooting off to the right it’s much more common for the fault to be hitting the heel (a shank). Firstly, you need to know where the ball is being struck. We use face stickers but some masking tape should serve the same purpose. Hit a shot and see where the tape is damaged. Once you’ve found out and if like many you’ve discovered that it is actually out of the heel of the club then you can reverse your strategy and stop the ball going hard right by hitting it out of the toe!
The Skied drive (or very high flight)
If you have a tendency to sky your drives or shoot them skyward very quickly it can be easy to think that your sweeping the ball up too much. It is normally due to the ball being struck near the top of the clubface. Firstly, there is more loft at the top of the face due to the curvature of the face and if the ball is struck below the equator of the ball it will shoot sharply upwards. These shots are normally caused by the club actually travelling downwards too much into impact. If the club is descending, the strike location will come up the face and be hit with excess loft or skied. To hit the middle of the face where the loft is correct the driver needs to be travelling close to level to the ground. A little down or up is normally ok but if a high skied shot is common for you your club is travelling too steeply down and the ball goes too steeply up!
Thinning your pitch shots
Around the green, especially when going over a hazard it’s tempting to give the ball a helping hand to get air born and try and lift the ball into the air. Unfortunately, this will raise the leading edge of the club up the ball and cause a thin shot, which goes low and fast across the other side of the green leaving you with a similar shot back. The key to getting the ball up is to get the club going down. With a pitching wedge or sand wedge you will have enough natural loft on the club to get it into the air, you don’t need to help it. A downward strike on the ball will ensure you get the club to the bottom of the ball and the loft of the club will then do its job to get the ball into the air with an added bonus of backspin created by the descending strike. So, to get the ball to go up, hit down!