Every bad result in golf can be traced back to a root cause. If you’re struggling to hit accurate drives, the issue is a lack of clubface control.
Many amateurs start their backswings by whipping the driver way inside the target line and opening the face. From there, they re-route the club on a looping path that comes into the ball from outside the target line—the classic over-the-top move—with an open face in relation to the path. You can guess what happens next. The ball slices right of the target. If by some luck or last-second adjustment they can close the face, the ball flies on a straight line but left of the target. How many times have you heard another golfer get frustrated after setting up to hit a drive that flies left to right—and presumably in the fairway—only to see the ball go dead left and into the trees?
If a round of golf for you is constant guesswork of where the ball might end up, you can improve your accuracy if you fix the cause and control the clubface better through impact. It starts by making a better takeaway. No more whipping the club inside. Instead, pretend the clubface has vision, and its job is to swing back while keeping its eyes on the ball. In the photos above, my club starts squarely behind the ball and does not rotate open in the takeaway. Copy this move. I want you to keep it staring at the ball as long as you can when you take it back.
What you’ll find is that this gets you to make a backswing where your club, hands, arms and body all turn together. This is the type of synchronized movement that allows you to control the clubface.
Ideally, it should return to the ball facing your target, and your shot will fly straight. Even marginal improvements in clubface control will reduce the dispersion of your off-line hits. You’ll be in play a lot more often. — With Ron Kaspriske
MY TRICK FOR HOLING ALL THE SHORT ONES
You’ve probably heard someone tell you to keep your head still when you’re on the green—especially if you’re trying to hole a short putt.
The advice is well intended. The less you move, the less chance you will twist the putterface open or closed and miss the putt. No steering! Unfortunately, locking down your head can add a degree of tension and prevent you from making a confident, relaxed stroke. Since we’re on the subject of vision on this page, I’ve got a better way to help you control the putter as you make your stroke. Instead of thinking about keeping your head still, your swing thought should be keep my eyes still. You’ll notice right away that it has the same effect of minimizing body movement, but it doesn’t add extra tension to the stroke.
David Leadbetter, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs 32 academies worldwide.
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