Golfswingdoctors Database of Major Golf Swing Problems and
Solutions - Pushing, Slicing and Pulling the golf ball
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Problem IA: Pushing the ball.
We define a push as a shot that flies straight, but right of the target for right-
handed players (left of the target for left-handed players) by more than half a
Possible correction (IA1): Your club face is open at impact but your swing path is
good. Make sure your club face is facing the target at set up. If the heel of the
club is closer to your target than the toe of your club the face is most likely open.
If you close your club face and the club feels weird, take a few practice swings to
get used to the new alignment, and fight the urge to adjust your swing.
Remember, your swing is fine if the ball flies straight.
Possible correction (IA2): Check your alignment. Make sure your feet and
shoulders are in the same line slightly offset from your target. Place your club at
your toes then step behind your club to check your aim if needed. Sometimes we
think we are lined up correctly but we are not.
Possible correction (IA3): Your swing is late and your hands do not catch up with
the body. The most popular cause of this is a decelerating downswing. Finish
your swing with an aggressive move to the ball and make sure you have a full
Possible Correction (IA4): Keep your head down a little longer through the hitting
zone. Sometimes peeking a little early can open your swing up and cause a push
Problem IB: Slicing the ball.
We define a slice as a shot that flies straight then suddenly curves to the right for
right-handed players (left for left-handed players) by more than one-half a
fairway. We define a fade as a shot that flies straight then gently curves to the
right (left for left-handed players) by less than one-half a fairway. If you can keep
this type of shot in the fairway by aiming for the opposite side of the fairway, it is
not a problem, but if you have to aim outside of the fairway to keep it in the
fairway this type of shot needs correction.
Possible correction (IB1): You have an outside in swing. This is where you take
the club outside of the ball when you start your take away and the club follows
the same line on the downswing and cuts across the ball. This can also happen
with a good take away, but at the top of your swing your first move is an outward
movement of the back elbow. To fix this, visualize the golf swing as someone
throwing something that is heavy. To throw something heavy, most people pivot
about the waist to move the object backward then move the object forward along
the same line using the big muscles of the back and shoulders while the hands
follow. Once the object leaves the hands, momentum brings the body around to
face the target and causes the hands to finish high. To throw the object without
pain the body has to be in perfect alignment and the movements have to be
smooth. Visualize this action when you are swinging the golf club and you will
automatically limit your hand involvement, your body sway, stop your elbow from
starting your downswing and take the club away from the ball on an inside path.
One more move that will help you to limit your body sway and to take the club
away on an inside path is to drag the club from the ball when you start your swing
instead of picking the club up on your take away. This movement is especially
effective with mid irons, long irons and woods.
Possible correction (IB2): You are "laying off" the club at the top of your swing.
Check the position of your wrists at the top of your swing. At the top of your
swing, the club head should be pointing toward the target and the back of your
hands should be parallel to the target line. If you are laying off your wrists, the
club head will point to the left of your target (to the right if you are hitting left
handed). This is sometimes caused by trying to swing easy or by not taking a full
swing. Controlling your back swing is as important as finishing your follow
through. It is possible to make an aggressive swing without over swinging.
Possible correction (IB3): You have a reverse pivot. With a normal pivot, your
momentum during the downswing moves toward the target. With a reverse pivot,
your momentum during the downswing moves away from the target. To correct a
reverse pivot, make a conscience effort to have your weight on your front foot at
the completion of your swing.
Problem IC: Pulling the ball:
We define a pull as a shot that flies straight, but left of the target for right-handed
players (right of the target for left-handed players) by more than half a fairway.
Possible correction (IC1): Your weight transfer is not correct. Sometimes during
our back swings we have a tendency to sway away from the target. If this
happens, and we do not move toward the target on our downswing the same
distance as we swayed, our weight will stay on the back foot causing a pull. The
best way to overcome this problem is to stop the sway. What has helped me
overcome the sway is a conscious effort to rotate my hips during the back swing
so that my back faces the target while making sure my back leg stays firm,
although flexed at the knee. I also stay focused on the ball instead of focusing on
the path of my back swing which can invariably cause a sway.
Possible correction (IC2): Your club face is closed at impact but your swing path
is good. Make sure your club face faces the target at set up. If the toe of the club
is closer to your target than the heel of your club, the face is most likely closed. If
you open your club face and the club feels weird, take a few practice swings to
get used to the alignment and fight the urge to adjust your swing. Remember
your swing is fine if the ball flies straight.
Possible correction (IC3): You are on your toes during the swing. This is a bad
habit that is easy to fall into. If you are on your toes when you finish the swing
then you are on your toes during the swing and probably a little off balance.
What can help overcome this problem is a conscious effort to balance your
weight between the balls of your feet and your heel at address. Your feet should
feel firmly planted and your weight should be balanced evenly between your feet
before you start your take away. Because you are set properly and in balance,
the momentum of your smooth natural swing should bring your feet to the proper
position at the finish of your swing. The proper position at the finish of your swing
is front foot on the ground, carrying the bulk of the weight, and back foot on the
front of the toes carrying a minimum of weight.
Possible correction (IC4): The swing plane that produces consistent shots
includes a downswing that strikes the ball on a path from the inside of the ball,
through the ball and continues to the target. A swing plane that strikes the ball
along a path which is in line with the target before and after hitting the ball may
sometimes produce a pull by allowing the right elbow (left elbow if you are left-
handed) to open at the beginning of your downswing. This is known as a "flying
elbow". To fix this by changing your swing path, practice bringing the club inside
the ball when you begin your back swing. When you begin your downswing
concentrate on swinging the club on a path from the inside of the ball to the
target. When you practice this, the club at the top of your swing should be further
away from your body than previously and your right elbow (left elbow if you are
left-handed) should be closer to your body. This is OK, so fight the urge to place
the club in the previous position at the top of your swing by opening your elbow.
Start your downswing with your lower body and avoid starting with your dominate
hand which causes the elbow to fly open. Remember if you keep your elbow in at
the start of your swing it should stay in the proper position throughout your swing.
If you wish to keep your swing path but fix the "flying elbow" see IC5.
Possible Correction (IC5): A swing which cuts across the ball can also cause a
pull and is most times caused by a "flying elbow". A "flying elbow could be caused
by trying to reach for a little more power at the top of your swing. In your back
swing when all is well, your hands and elbow come to a nice solid position at the
top of your swing, just before your down swing. When you try to reach for that
little extra power, your right elbow (left if you swing left-handed) has a tendency
to fly away from your body, causing your hands to push a little forward at the top
of your swing. This makes your club, at the start of your down swing, be on an
outside-in path to the ball, pulling across your body at impact. The easiest way to
prevent one from reaching for that little extra power and upsetting one’s swing is
to be smart. Keep your swing controlled by using a little more club for the shot
instead of trying to overpower a lesser club.
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