The 9 Strikes: Fix Your Golf Swing

Published 26/08/2008 18:12:47

Finding out the case of a fault in your swing is much easier if you develop an understanding of how the clubface strikes the ball. If you spray the ball to all points of the compass, don't simply curse your luck and move on. Ask yourself why your shots fly off target.


You can strike a golf ball in nine different ways - some desirable, others disastrous. Whatever you intend with your shot, one these nine is sure to dictate its flight path. When you can assess precisely which one of the nine is responsible for each shot, you find the root of any swing problem more quickly.


The two vital factors in deciding the ball's fate after impact are your swing path and the clubface position at impact - assuming that you strike with the centre of the clubface.


The immediate direction of the ball is caused by the swing path of the club. Its direction for the rest of the shot is determined by the angle of the clubface at impact - open, closed or square - in relation to the ball-to-target line.


The Nine Strikes


  1. Pull Hook - ball starts left before curving a further left. Swing path is in-to-in and clubface is closed at impact.
  2. Pull - ball goes left of target. Out to in swing path and closed clubface at impact.
  3. Pull Slice or Fade - starts left of target and returns to centre. Clubface is square at impact, travelling on an out-to-in path.
  4. Hook - ball starts straight, or slightly right, and curves violently left. Swing path is in-to-out and clubhead closed at impact.
  5. Straight - in-to-in swing path and straight clubface at impact. No sidespin on the ball.
  6. Slice - ball starts left before curving violently right. Out-to-in swing path and open clubface at impact.
  7. Push Hook or Draw - flies slightly right before returning to centre. Clubface is square at impact and meets the ball-to-target line on an in-to-out path.
  8. Push - ball travels right of target in straight line. In-to-out swing path and open clubface at impact.
  9. Push Slice - ball starts straight before drifting right of target. Clubhead passes on an in-to-in path but clubface is open at impact.



Hit Straight First


The greatest golfers play with different styles, but they all agree on one point: the hardest shot in golf is the straight one. For this very reason, some prefer to draw the ball, others prefer to fade - but very few set out to play straight. To rely on consistent straight hitting is risky, especially in the pressure of a championship match.


Straight hitting is hard because golf balls are designed to take up spin - it helps them to rise, to stop and to roll. Sidespin is also easy to apply. If you apply the correct amount of sidespin - by changing your alignment - you fade and draw the ball. Too much sidespin causes a slice or a hook.


Set your mind on hitting the ball straight before you start working on draws and fades. Concentrate on achieving an in-to-in path with a square clubface at impact by setting up parallel to the ball-to-target line.


There's a small margin of difference between a deliberate fade and a damaging slice. Only when you know how to take sidespin off the ball can you add it intentionally.

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