This is when we see the club head travel across the ball in a direction other than straight.
If a golfer wants to hit the golf ball in a straight line where he/she is aiming then two things ideally have to happen.
1. The club face needs to point at the target at the moment it makes contact with the ball.
2. The club head needs to travel through the golf ball on a line straight towards the target.
Results (Reverse directions for left handed players)
This problem causes a number of results.
- The ball travels as a 'pull' shot and travels straight left.
- A slice or fade. This is a shot that curves from left to right. Here a recovery with the hands occurs and as the golfer swings across the golf ball to the left, the hands hold the clubface open to the right which produces a huge amount of slicing left to right side spin and the golf ball curves from left to right.
- A ‘shank’. This shot occurs when the hosel (point where the shaft of the club is joined to the club head) of the club head connects with the golf ball instead of the clubface. Because the golf club head is swinging from outside of the line of the golf ball, sometimes the golfer does not pull the club head across the ball fast enough and so the club is further away from the body than where it started.
- A low shot. This action can be a very steep downward action and so the club head can strike too steeply downwards into the ball causing too low a shot and a huge divot to be taken.
- A loss of distance. The club is not hitting the ball forwards in this motion, it is sending the ball sideways instead. Therefore the energy created in the swing is being lost through the ball. Combining that with increased loft through an ‘open’ clubface and the ball will also be sent too high again losing distance.
This problem is usually caused by hitting at the ball either too hard or too early or both. The golfer turns to the top of the backswing and then turns hard and drives the club downwards and forwards from the top of the swing rather than guiding the club on the right line and then accelerating through the ball at the bottom of the swing. The terms describing this can be 'throwing the club over' as in over the top of the shoulder, 'casting' as in casting a rod from the shoulder in fishing, or 'hitting from the top' as in hitting the ball from the top of the golf swing
As you may imagine this action is not an easy one to correct as the club needs to be brought down from the top of the swing more rather than forwards and down into the golf ball. This feels like the club approaches the ball from behind the golfers backside (1st Pic). Right handers need to feel like they are hitting the golf ball to the right and vice versa for left handers.
The exit of the club from the ball is just as important as the clubhead still needs to be driven forwards through the ball. Here the arms need to remain straight and point out to the target while the forearms rotate and cross over turning the clubface at the same time (2nd Pic).