Face control direction, by Adam Young
Adam Young is an instructor at the Leadbetter Academy at La Manga Club. From now onwards, he'll be collaborating with our blog giving us advice on how to improve our golf and explaining technical concepts about this sport. Young is author of the bestselling book, "The Practice Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Golfer" and runs the website www.adamyounggolf.com
La Manga Club, 12th June 2015. Golfers come to me all the time for their first lesson with directional problems. Slicing or hooking is an inevitable part of the game, but you certainly don’t want to be stuck with a problem – you need to be able to fix it. Unfortunately, when I ask golfers how they try to fix their hook or slice, they often reply with “I’m trying to keep my elbow tucked in”, or “I think it’s because my head lifts up early”.
Yeah, how’s that going for you?
The realities of ball direction are actually very simple. The path the club swings through (left, right or down the line) combined with theclubface relationship to it will cause a ball to finish online or offline.
Out of the two directional elements – path and face – the face is the biggest influence. It accounts for over 70% of the starting direction of the ball, and improving the face position at impact will have a dramatic effect on your ball control. See below picture for a square face position.
More complicated, yet also simpler
Direction is the combination of face and path. When struck from the sweet spot, a clubface which is open to (more right of) the swing direction will slice, and a clubface which is closed to (more left of) the swing direction will hook. But you only need to remember one thing: “If you want the ball to go more left, get the clubface more left".
The reverse is true also. If you want the ball to go more to the right, get the clubface more right at impact. This will have the biggest influence on whether your ball lands on the target or not. You can turn a slice into a powerful fade by closing the face more at impact. And you can turn a hook into a boombing high draw by getting the face more open at impact. This is basic physics, and every top player on the planet is great at doing this.
Try experimenting with different clubface positions at address, and different feels at impact in order to change the flight of the ball.Try to build an awareness for where the clubface is at impact by exploring hitting shots left and right on the range intentionally.