20 Most common shot problems
Lesson 5 of 20
Diagnosis: Most long shots fly left to right. Short irons finish left of target. Shanked shots off to the right sometime occur.
Explanation: I discussed in a previous lesson that during the backswing the club must move both to the inside and upward. The club arcs to the inside because we stand to the side of the ball. The club also moves upward because the ball sits below our shoulders. Turning the shoulders and upper body to the right creates the inside element. Swinging the arms on a more upright plane largely creates the upward element. This combined movement creates a separation of planes between the relatively flat plane that the shoulders have turned, and the more upright plane that the arms have followed. For most players without this separation of planes it is difficult to return the club to the ball on a correct path with a square club face.
This is because the start of the downswing is a reaction to the finish of the backswing. If the club is moving upward at the end of the backswing it will tend to swing downward from the inside on the downswing. However if the club finishes the backswing moving around to the inside but not upward, it will tend to swing back toward the outside instead of downward at the start of the downswing. The shot pattern described in this lesson is often caused by the backswing lacking the upward element. In other words you are swinging the club on too flat a plane, similar to the plane of your shoulder turn.
This is often the result of having the ball positioned too far forward (too far to the left in your stance). This forces your shoulders to be open (aligned too far to the left) at address. From this position to swing the club to the inside on the backswing the arms must swing around the body on a too flat plane that is lacking the upward element. Because the backswing is completed with the arms moving around to the inside rather than upward, they begin the downswing moving around to the outside rather than downward. At impact the club is moving in an out-to-in path with an open club face thus the ball starts left then curves right. An occasional shank may occur due to the club moving outward rather than downward in the downswing. The club face is moved out beyond the ball making contact on the hosel of the club.
Correction: Play the ball farther back in your stance with your shoulders aligned farther to the right. This proper address position will give you the inside element of the backswing prior to swinging the club. Your focus can now be merely on swinging the club upward and downward with your arms letting your body turn only as the result of swinging the club with your arms and hands. Because the arms can now swing the club upward going back, they will swing it freely downward from inside to along the target line. The results are straighter and more solid shots and the shanks are no more.
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