18 Nov 2004
The position of the club face during the golf swing is important because it affects many of the things that happen in the swing. I was reminded of this again during a charity outing that I was participating in. I was on the first tee, videotaping the swings of all the golfers playing that day.
After the golf, I did a video analysis of their swing for any interested golfers.
One common theme among those golfers who struggled with slices or inconsistency was that they all opened their club face somewhere during the backswing. The results were a variety of different movements back to the golf ball, all resulting in some attempt to get the club face back to square by impact.
All of these different actions to try to hit the ball straight were a direct result of the original flaw, the opening of the club face.
One of the golfers did his swing analysis and picked out all of the flaws in his swing. He identified that his backswing was too long and that the club crossed the line (an imaginary line parallel to the target at the top of the backswing). He could see that he started his downswing by bringing the club to an outside/in swing path. He told me he was not shifting his weight onto the forward leg at impact.
He was right on all counts, but what he failed to recognize was that all of those movements were a result of his open club face.
In his case, this was caused by cupping (the back of the hand bending backward toward forearm) his target-side wrist at about the halfway point of his backswing. This opened the club face, caused the club to cross the line at the top of the backswing and forced him to swing outside/in on the forwardswing in an attempt to square the club face.
My advice to him was not to worry about all of these other compensations until he has learned to keep the club square in the backswing.
If you know you have many similar flaws in your golf swing, you just might want to focus on correcting the position of the club face before worrying about all of the rest.