If you struggle with a slice or a hook and inconsistent ball striking, your club path at impact may be the issue. Crooked and inconsistent ball striking is not a good recipe for low scores.
Try this simple drill to see where your path is and to fix it for better ball striking.
TEE IT UP FOR CORRECT PATH
To eliminate the “over the top” or outside-to-in club path for slicers try this simple drill:
Place two tees in the ground, one about two (2) inches behind the ball and approximately three (3) inches outside the target line. The second tee should be two (2) inches in front of the ball and approximately three (3) inches inside the target line. Bend both tees so they are approximately on the same angle as your club shaft. See Photo 1 for the set-up with an iron, and Photos 2 and 3 for setting the tees up for driver.
For a driver, place the back tee approximately 4.5 inches outside the target line then bend it parallel to the club shaft plane (Photo 4).
Make swings using the tees as a gate, swinging to the right of the target while missing the tees. In Photos 5-6, you can see that to avoid the tees the path of my club, indicated by the club shaft, points well right of my tee line.
CLOSING THE CLUB FACE
If you haven’t played a draw before (a right to left ball flight), you will most likely need to facilitate the turning over of the club face to match your new club path. To do this, make sure to start turning your right forearm over your left as you start your downswing. This motion may feel like a flipping of the club initially, but as you turn your body through the shot faster, this turning motion will delay the turning over of the club until after you’ve hit the ball. (Photos 7-8).
Note: In photos 5 and 6, the gray arrow represents the ball path, while the red arrow represents the club path.
To eliminate pushes and hooks resulting from a club path that is too much to the right, simply reverse the tee positions so that the tee outside the club head is in front of the ball and the tee by the heel of the club is behind the ball (Photo 9). Again, try to make swings where you miss the tees.
A few minutes of swings with tees set up in the above manner can help you merge your feel with the reality of your swing direction and club path. Fix yours and you will be well on your way to better ball striking and lower scores.
Dale Abraham, PGA, is Director of Instruction at Bighorn Country Club in Palm Desert, California, in the winter and Telluride Country Club in Colorado in the summer.