22 Jan 2004
We looked at path in our effort to understand the Ball Flight Laws last week. This week we are going to examine face. It is defined as the angle which the leading edge of the club face arrives at impact, relative to the path. Primarily it affects the curve on the ball.
When you draw/hook the ball or fade/slice, it is because the leading edge is not at right angles (square) to the path. A straight shot occurs when the face is square to the path.
Commonly the face arrives at impact and is open to the path. When a right handed golfer has an open club face it means the face is aimed to the right of the Path (reverse if you are left handed). The open face imparts fade or slice spin on the ball.
Let’s look at a situation you face as a golfer, the problem causing it, and some solutions.
Problem: rather than a simple push with the ball starting right immediately, the ball is starting to slice more to the right and, a push/slice is the result.
Because this golfer wishes to draw the ball and prefers an inside/out path, I first look at the way the grip, to see if a change will allow the club face to get closed (pointed to the left at impact), relative to the path.
Next I check to see if the hands are manipulating the face open during the take away.
Last I check grip pressure at the top of the back swing to see if the right hand is too tight, causing the clubface to come open at the top of the back swing.
You can see there are a lot of potential contributors to that open club face issue. Today it turned out to be grip pressure. The club was held in the palm of the hand rather than the fingers. This allowed to tight a grip pressure, causing the club face into an open position at the top of the back swing.
It is important that this golfer understands the open club face combined with an inside/out path is not a workable combination and for him/her to realize what the cause is so the correct adjustment can be worked on.
Remember, we all have tendencies that we fall into. If you find that you have a tendency to fall into gripping too tightly with the right hand, try to remember when playing to lighten up if you start push slicing.
Don’t choke your round to death!