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Changing your clubface will change your game

Jason SuttonBy Jason Sutton,

Jason Sutton

The majority of golfers miss shots that curve too much to the right of the target or called a slice. This problem becomes worse as the clubs gets longer and the loft decreases. Does this sound familiar? Have you ever been told that you come over the top or swing outside in? How successful have you been with the ball flight change as you tried to swing more inside out?

My guess is that it didn't improve. It is because you didn't correct the root cause of the problem. A slice is caused by an open clubface at impact. The outside to in path makes the left to right spin even worse. The age-old debate among teachers is which to correct first, the swing plane or the angle of the clubface.

All golfers make compensations to correct the flight of the ball. If the ball curves to the right, the player will swing more to the left to try to get the ball in play. Of course this does not correct the problem, it only makes it worse. You must change the clubface angle in order to change your ball flight. The key is to detect where the clubface is opening, in the backswing or the forward swing. I suggest that you use a mirror or high-speed video to look at it. Here are two key areas to check in trying to fix your clubface.

Check Your Grip - A weak grip is when the hands are turned counterclockwise or too much to the left (for a right handed golfer).

Checkpoints for a good grip:

1) Turn both hands until you can see the first and second knuckle on the left hand.
2) Vs of both hands (marked by the arrow) point to the rear shoulder.
3) The handle is positioned under the heel pad of the target side hand and not in the palm.

Top of Swing

The top of the swing is an important area to check the clubface position. The angle of the clubface should be parallel to the back of the lead forearm to be considered square at the top of swing position. From the picture, notice how the right hand has some angle and the back of the left hand is flat. Coupled with the correct grip, this will create a square position at the top. If the toe of the club head is pointing straight down it is open. This will require too much clubface rotation in the downswing in order to square the blade at impact. This can be checked in a full-length mirror or with high-speed video.

Change what the clubface is doing; starting with these two key areas, a good grip and a solid top of swing position, and you will be on your way to fixing your slice and hitting the ball longer and straighter. Always remember "The road to good golf starts in the left woods." If you can learn to hook the golf ball, you will be hitting it straighter before you know it.

PGA Professional Jason Sutton is a Master Instructor at the Dana Rader Golf School in Charlotte, N.C. Jason has been honored as a leading teacher in the southeast by Golf Magazine. He teaches students ranging from beginners to top amateurs and tour-level players.

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