Mix And Match

Fine-tune four key swing elements to eliminate slices and hooks

Mix and Match Every golfer has suffered through it—getting worse while attempting to get better, ultimately tinkering unnecessarily and sending an “A” game directly to “F.” While it’s important to discover ways to fine-tune your swing, it’s critical that you do so with an eye toward keeping the key elements of your motion intact. Uninformed tinkering invariably unbalances your swing’s “matchups,” and it’s a big reason why most recreational players can never truly rid their games of slices and hooks.

This article will provide you with a way to construct a better overall swing and then keep it free from swing viruses. The key to this method is becoming aware of your swing matchups—the blueprint that will allow you to assess the advisability of each swing change under consideration. To build a sound swing and then keep it healthy and devoid of errors, you should know how to construct your own personalized matchup string.

The Law Of The Strings states that the golf swing is comprised of several elements that, when joined, form a string. The Law also states that if you change one of the partners in the string, you must change the others to prevent your swing from becoming unbalanced. The key elements of your string are clubface position, ball position, front foot flare, hip action and release pattern. The most dominant element of the string is clubface position at the top of the backswing. As such, an open-face player has one kind of string, the square-face player another and the closed-face player still another.

Clubface Position3 Strings
1 Open-Face Player. The open-face player has the following matching elements: an open clubface, forward ball position, a de-flared front foot, a good deal of lateral hip action and a handsy release keyed by an extended right arm at impact.

2 Square-Face Player. The square-face player requires a medium ball position, a flared front foot, modest lateral hip action and a blended arms/hands/body release pattern with a slight bend in the back elbow at impact.

3 Closed-Face Player. The shut-face player begins the string with a closed clubface, a back ball location, a front foot that’s flared-plus, minimal lateral hip action and a body release featuring a moderately bent trail elbow at impact.

Clubface Position
The position of the clubface at impact is what controls shot direction, but since it’s difficult to see clubface position at the point of impact, clubface position at the top of the swing is used to classify players. In the absence of any downswing compensations, a closed face at the top will produce a draw while an open face will create a fade. If the face is too closed, you get a hook; too open, a slice.

An open face at the top has the toe of the club pointing toward the ground. The toe of a closed clubface points toward the sky. To determine your face position, use a video camera or, better still, consult your teaching pro.

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