Golf Swing vs Golf Equipment. Is it your golf swing or your golf equipment that causes your bad shots?
When you hit the ball off to the right or over to the left how do you really know if it's something in your swing or something about your equipment that's the cause. Well, I'm going to try my best to help you figure that out.
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First, I need to start off by saying that there are a few other variables in your equipment such as, but not limited to, the face angle of the club and the loft of the club which can be an influence as well since it effects the ball spin (rate and side-spin) but these two variables really dont contribute more than around 5-10% of what we are about to discusss so I am going to leave those out. Also, everyone should know now about spine-aligning/balancing of a golf shaft and how much that can contribute to off center and off line hit shots so I am going to assume that everyone should already have their shaft(s) spine-aligned/balanced (for those of you that don't know about golf shaft spine-aligning/balancing, please reference one of my earlier articles.
Second, I need to say that I am taking into account that you dont move too much of your body forward in your downswing and that you don't come over the top or have too much of an outside-in swing - but i do mention some of these variables later.
Third, I have based these examples on right-handed golfers but left-handers can simply think about it the exact opposite way.
Ok, so lets get down to it... This is basic advice that will apply for 80-85% of all golfers - but please remember there are always exceptions to a rule!
1. Ball flight straight down your target line then goes off to the right.
Means it's something in your equipment - the shaft is too stiff for you. However, this would be a safer combination as a stiffer shaft will allow you to have more control but a lot less distance and a lot less roll since a stiffer shaft tends to promote back spin and side spin on the golf ball unless you have a swing speed of 120mph+. More than 80% of all golfers use too stiff of a shaft and around 80% of all the professionals we see on TV hit a shot off to the right.
2. Ball flight straight down your target line then goes off to the left.
Means it's something in your equipment - the shaft is too flexible for you. However, I personally think this is the best way to play a golf shot as it would show that you are promoting top-spin or forward spin on the ball which is certainly optimal when using your driver as you will get more roll - on your irons this would translate into a few extra yards. And yes a ball with top spin will hit on a green when using your irons just fine as most golfers in this situation come up short anyway so the top spin will again help you add a few more yards to your shot and when the ball hits the green it will stop dead where it hits and/or acutally move forward instead of spining all the way back off the green.
3. Ball flight starts to the left of your target line then goes back across it and off to the right of it.
Means it's something in your swing - usually this is caused by an 'over the top' swing or an 'outside in' swing.
4. Ball flight starts to the right of your target line then goes back across it and off to the left of it.
Means it's something in your swing - usually this is caused by a too much 'inside out' swing with a little flip of the wrists.
5. Ball flight goes straight then goes off to the left drastically and dramatically - what is commonly referred to as a 'duck hook'.
Means it's something in your swing - usually this is caused by your hands being behind the club head during the time of impact with the golf ball causing a flip of the wrists.
6. Ball flight goes straight then goes off to the right drastically and dramatically - what I call a straight slice.
Means it's something in your swing - there are a few causes of this but most of the time is caused by having your hands too far out in front of the club during the time of impact with the ball along with hitting down on the ball too much. This is type of shot is really only seen in high swing speeders.
7. Ball flight goes dead straight right.
Means it's something in your swing - the only real cause of this is that the club face is not square at impact.
For the golfer with an above average or fast swing speed, #1 above can also happen when a shaft is too flexible. You will have so much force in your downswing that the shaft will flex early - which will turn the toe of the club in, also shortening the length of the club so you will hit the ball on the toe of the club face and the ball will go off to the right.
Well I certainly hope that this may have helped you in some way figure out what may be the cause of your off center shots. And, it may be a combination of your equipment as well as your swing so please go see your local golf professional and club fitter.