The direction the golf swing travels in the downswing and then thru to the finish has been debated for years. Should it be at the target line? Some instructors say it should be to the right of the target line, while others say it should be left of the target line. Wow, very confusing if you’re an average golfer looking to improve. The reality is all three answers are correct. It just depends on what your given mistake is and what kind of shot you’re trying to hit.
To start, understand that golf is a “side on” game. The player always has and always will stand to the side of the ball. With that being said, the club will need to swing on an arc around the body and up over the both shoulders. Which direction the arc should swing, however, is the question.
If I’m a slicer, one of my characteristics is to swing left of the intended target line in the downswing. This is largely caused by not being been able to square the clubface at impact and by swinging more left it helps to minimize my slice. Reality is that you need to get the club swinging more to the right of the target line, on an arc and get the clubface to be closed to the direction you swing. This will help with the slice.
Conversely, if I hook the ball, I want to do the opposite of the slicer: get my swing angled more left of the target line with the clubface open to the direction I’m swinging. This will help neutralize the hook.
A simple way to look at these corrections is by picturing a clock. If 12:00 is the target, then the slicer can feel as though they have a swing direction toward 1:00, and the golfer that hooks should angle their swing toward 11:00. These visuals will allow a better understanding toward where they need to swing and how to fix their ball flight mistake.
No two golf swings are alike. The important thing to understand is what your mistake is and how to go about fixing it. Having a plan to neutralize your slice or hook will go a long way toward helping you play better golf.
Tim Cusick is the Director of Instruction at the Four Seasons Resort and Club/Dallas at Las Colinas. The Northern Texas PGA named Cusick Teacher of the Year in 2005, 2009 and 2015, as well as the 2014 Horton Smith Award winner for education. He’s the author of ‘The Four Keys to Improve your Swing.’ Follow him on Twitter @timcusickgolf and visit his website: timcusickgolf.com.