Hitting The Ball Left

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    Larry45 May 22, 2018
    Ross, the most common miss for me with this swing is left of target – everywhere from slightly left with irons to off-the-planet pull hooks with the driver. I know you have said there are only two things that cause the ball to go left: flipping the hands through impact, or stopping the body rotation. I have found that for me there is a 3rd cause, and that is open shoulders at address. When I put my right hand on the club, I have to make sure I do it by kicking my right knee and hip In slightly so the right hand drops just enough to fit on the club. That allows the shoulders to stay square. If I don’t do that – if I just stand up straight and grip the club – the right shoulder is forced out a little bit to allow the right hand to fit below the left on the club. And if I set up with square knees and hips but open shoulders, the ball is going left.

    In line with your suggestion to have key words for swing thoughts, I now have two for setup and two for the swing. As I set up to the ball I think “shoulders” and “elbows.” For the backswing I think “shoulders,” and for the downswing I think “body.” I’ve been doing this for a few days now with great success. I just thought I’d pass this along as one more thing to try if the ball is going left…


    Ross May 22, 2018
    Those are great Keywords. Alignment is very different for everyone because of so many variables. Whatever you can do to get the body to get the club face back to square through impact is great (and use it). Now if it starts to not work; time to go back to the basic setup I teach.


    Larry45 May 24, 2018
    Ross, despite my recent successes, I had another day today when everything was going left. The feeling I had was that I was actually over-rotating through impact – is that even possible? I replayed some of those swings in slow motion after the shot, and it felt like my body was rotating so much through impact that it forced the right shoulder out, in kind of an over-the-top move. The pulls were mostly straight and my divots were aimed left of target, telling me that the club face was square at impact but the club path was to the left rather than down the line. Do you have any thoughts on this? Knowing that body rotation is key to this swing, is it possible to rotate TOO much?

    Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated…


    Ross May 25, 2018
    I’m going to say; It’s not possible to over rotate if it is done correctly and in balance. It is possible to rotate the hips way ahead of the shoulders/arms, to the point that when the shoulders/arms catch up, the new path is left of the target. Here’s one example.

    You start with your shoulders and hips parallel to the target line. You start the takeaway using the shoulders first. The shoulder eventually turn the hips some to the end of the backswing. Hypothetically at this point the shoulders have turned 90° and the hips 45°. Okay, on the downswing the body unwinds, and because of gravity, the arms/club are pulled back down in front of the body into impact. Now, ideally, at impact, the hips are slightly open to the target line, the shoulders are back parallel with the arms/club at the ball with a square club face. This is a “dynamic” position… meaning everything is moving and nothing is stopping or passing. The body is unwinding like a rubber band.

    Now this scenario is a kind of ideal model. Everyones body is different and shots are different with different needs.

    Now, I suspect in your case, your arms/club are stuck behind you. Usually that is because the back elbow is bent out* getting caught on your back hip, so the arms could not get back in front in time… the body keeps turning and by the time the arms/club impact, there is a new path to the left. Some call this “Spinning out”. This might be because you lifted your arms up to help and your own muscles are holding your arms/club up, or back, so gravity can’t bring them back down. Essentially, they’re left behind until later in the swing when you’re now aimed left.

    * The elbows must stay close together. I prefer pointing back at the hips as much as possible… especially the front elbow at impact!


    Larry45 May 25, 2018
    Okay, Ross, thanks…that makes perfect sense. As I said in an earlier post, I’m 73 and have lost some flexibility and distance over the past few years. I think what I’m doing to compensate is taking the club back too far, to the point that I’m losing that vital connection between arms and body and getting out of balance besides. In this swing it is imperative that the arms and body stay connected, and the only way I can accomplish that is with a shorter backswing. What’s frustrating is that I know that, that my best shots are made with a short backswing allowing me to stay connected and in balance throughout the swing. Why my brain keeps telling me to take the club back farther is beyond me, but I have to learn to fight that impulse and just take what my body will give me.

    As I’ve said many times, this getting old has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, especially when it comes to golf. Thanks for your insight, Ross; it has been most enlightening and I sincerely appreciate it…

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