Lets talk about start line and curve. The club face accounts for roughly 75% of the balls starting direction and the path curves it. In the featured image above is a great setup station. 10′ of rope starting a foot out in front of the ball with an alignment rod sticking up out the other end. The rope is lined up with the target and standing behind the ball the alignment rod is right in front of the target. Now from here you can get a visual of where the ball is starting and going. Here are the ball flights that could come out with a solid struck ball:
1. Ball starting left and craving left : Face closed to target and path more toward target.
2. Ball starting left and going straight : Face closed to target and path matching face start line.
3. Ball starting left and curving right towards or past the target : Face closed to path and swing direction left of the face.
3. Ball starting at the stick and curving left : Face square and swing more to the right.
4. Ball starting at the stick and curving right : Face square and swing more to the left.
5. Ball starting straight and going straight : Face and path straight. I call this the UNICORN.. Will discuss below.
6. Ball starting right and curving left : Face is open to the target and path is moving more right.
7. Ball starting right and going straight : Face is open to the target and path is going the same direction.
8. Ball starting right and curving right : Face is open to the target and path is moving more left than the face is open.
It is good to understand these ball flights when diagnosing your swing. That way when you are working on corrections you are not doing something that is going to make it move the same direction but worse. An example is a ball that starts left and curves right. You see that so figure lets aim more left. That just moves the path more left making more curve. The larger the difference is where the face was pointing at impact and the direction the club was traveling the bigger the curve.
Best training tool to add to your golf bag is a can of Dr. Scholls “POWDER” foot spray. Why is this? Because miss hits can change those above impact perimeters. A club that is open to the target, swing direction slightly right of that (draw shape), and is hit in the heel of the club will not curve back but if it is hit in the toe the ball with over draw. Same with the opposite club delivery of a cut. Club face more left of the target at the strike point starting the ball left with a swing shape slightly more left of that but if you hit it in the heel the ball will over cut and if you catch it more on the toe the ball will fly straighter. Also lower strikes launch lower and spin more and higher strikes launch higher and spin less.
Use the above ball flights and strike info to figure out how to change your curve, reduce the curve. or know why your curve does what it does. Remember I mentioned the UNICORN above which is a dead straight shot. That is the hardest shot in golf because the face can be straight but the path slightly right or left and you get different curves. We want some room for error built in the swing and a ball that is moving back towards the target. Let’s take a draw as an example: The photo below I am holding my club on the ball line or target line. The furthest alignment rod to your right (my left) would be the club path at impact. A good number would be 3-4* to the right. That would give me room to fit my club face into that area and have a face from 1-3*. On a swing direction of 3* right having my club face at 1* right would start right and slightly over draw just a little, a 2 would start right and finish close to the target line, a 3 would start right and go straight with the swing direction. All very manageable shots with not much curve. If my face was a 1 but swing was an 8 one way or another the ball would start close to the target then curve a lot past the target and work away from it as it landed.
For more info and to see the YouTube clip on this subject CLICK HERE, select the above image, or go here: https://youtu.be/4JQLOgGJipo
Want to cover two topics here. The first topic is Swing Direction. Here is the YouTube Video. In the above video I placed an alignment on the ball line a driver distance behind and in front matching the shaft plane. The goal is to give you the ability to get the club to travel from under the one behind and over the one in front, over the one behind and under in front, or under and under. With this you can get feedback where the club is coming from and going to. Below I am showing a swing direction that could go under and over.
Now let’s chat about swing direction and attack angle. As a golfer it is hard to have a swing that is going out to in to and an upward attack angle so as we get the swing more from under to over there is a better chance. Here is another drill to keep the swing coming from the inside and now get the attack angle under control. I placed an alignment rod on the target line at an angle that put it a grip above the ball and rolled up a towel and placed that a foot in front off the ball.
This will set up a path that the club can come from inside low and go above the ball. See the below images showing this movement. I hit some balls with this setup and it got the path right 6-8* and attack up 3-5*. Great way to maximize your driver for the most distance. With solid strikes it will produce a high launching low spinning ball. Click Here for the YouTube video.
Use these videos and drills to help get your swing shape where you want it and get that driver maximized.
Let’s talk about the Elbow Plane Line (Click for YouTube Video). This line is not the fix all line but is a good reference point. If you are looking for exact you will need to line up your camera in the correct spot where the camera is hand height and perpendicular to the target line. I use it as a good enough line because my preference is to film at chest high just in front of the toe line.
Let’s take a look how I add the line. You can see in the above photo how I take the swing to impact then draw a line up form the hosel and out the back of the shaft. The reason for impact shaft line is the shaft rises from setup and the dynamic movements of the swing. When taken back to setup the line roughly goes through the right elbow (7iron pictured). I tend to have low hands at setup and always working on getting them higher and when focusing on it feel like they are on this line. Looks like I need to work on some setup pieces.
This is a general reference line that we can use to see if the club from the top is working towards the line or away form the line. Below photo I added a dot to where the club head was at the top of the swing then where it went to in transition. The left photo moved towards the line and down where the right moved away and across the ball.
Here they are at at P6 or shaft parallel. Left going down the line and right staying above.
Here is just after impact you can see the club stay on the line on the left and the right where it came from above it went left and under the line.
A club that is traveling more along the line will usually have a stronger impact than one that is working too much form under or above. Those clubs will be producing more of a glancing blow.
For the direct link to the YouTube channel click below:
Balance is key in golf. Turn on the tv and you will not see players moving all over the place, falling forward, back, and around at the finish. The reason for this is it keeps the swing direction and impact more predictable. If you are falling back that can move the swing direction more left and land the club too far behind the ball. Click Here for the YouTube clip on this blog.
Here is a good drill I learned from Martin Chuck at the TourStriker Academy located at the Raven in Phoenix, AZ. Place your club across your thigh and put some pressure into both legs. Keep this pressure constant into the finish. See the above photo for the start and finish.
In the below are to finishes for comparison. The left photo we see often with the golfer finishing with too much pressure on their trail foot. This keeps the center over the ball and the low point back too far. What we want to see if on the right. The golfer is standing on their left foot, 95% of their pressure is on the target side of the ball line, and there is just enough pressure on the back foot so they don’t fall over. Can also see that the back of the rear is on the ball line. This is a good check point to hold and assess where you are, how it feels, and how it looks.
Start small and grow your swing. For the YouTube video direct link click below:
What creates a shank? To put it simple it is when the sweet spot gets too far past the ball line or target line. This can be done a few ways. One is a club that gets too steep on the downswing, works outside the ball line, and cuts sharply across. Another is more of a better player problem when the sweet spot comes from too far in to out and the sweet spot is working across the ball line too much. Where a third option is having a good swing direction but the sweet spot is just too far away from the player resulting in a hosel strike.
Lets take a look at the first scenario where the club gets outside the ball line too early and works across. This is what we see most often and comes form a player that has a club traveling too steep and an open club face on the way down. The player is trying to square up an open face or get a playable ball flight by swinging left. This way the face that is open to the path that produces slices will start the ball left of the target and move into play somewhere. The featured image above shows a club head in blue that is outside the ball line 1′ away from impact. If that club head does not move quickly left to find the club face or toe of the club there is the hosel waiting for some action.
Typically, but not all the time, players that pull their club inside too fast and open the face on takeaway get the club into a positions at lead arm parallel that is too shallow. From there in order to get the club head on the ball and the face closed they move the club head form the top out into the ball. This gets us into a position that the player has limited options to hit a functional shot. Below is a screen shot of a club going back too far to the inside and open (left) and coming down too far out in front of the grip (right). Click on the image for the 1 minute YouTube clip on this pattern.
Now let’s take a look at a good player that does the opposite. They take the club back more around the hands, this guy takes it slightly outside, and the club face is looking more towards the ball. The club head has not been rolled behind and open. If they were hitting a chip shot it would be easy to get the club back on the ball from this position without a lot of manipulation. On the down swing (right) the club head is coming down slightly behind the hands and you can see it is further away form the ball line and more toe down. From here the club can enter into the ball on more of a shallow angle closer to the white line than steeper on the yellow line. Click the image for a 1 minute YouTube clip on how this club comes into the target line, collects a ball, and leaves the ball line.
To see the difference of the in and over (blue club) and up and back (yellow club) click this image for a 1 minute video comparison.