Something I encounter daily is many clients struggling with certain shot shapes and they come for answers as to why the ball is travelling that way. Often its preceded by a search down a rabbit hole on YouTube to find out if its Clubface or Swing path or a combination of both. Sometimes it is one of those factors but often what gets missed in the self-diagnosis is the contact point on the clubface.
A lot of golfers don’t appreciate the major effects that off centre strikes can have. As a general rule a toe strike will tend to move the ball in a right to left shape and opposite for heel strikes. (Right-handed golfer) Extreme toe strikes can cause a 45-degree ball flight along with the dreaded shank from the extreme heel (hosel) That’s where it can get confusing for golfers as many players think the shank is actually coming from the toe and stand even closer. But I also work with many experienced high-level golfers who often strike it off centre and can’t find the simple root cause of the curved ball flight.
One of the major reasons for this is club technology and the modern clubs are so good that players can’t feel the off-centre strike unless they have very high awareness.
The solution: As part of any practice session make sure you do some strike work, use tape on the clubface or foot spray/ dry shampoo also does the job well and will give you some great feedback on the strike location. We discussed above heel to toe strikes, but you will also see the patterns from top to bottom of clubface. This clarity of knowing your strike patterns will also help your coach get to the route cause of issues quicker.
So to summarise; ball flight curvature and also distance issues may not be technical swing issues or path or face issues, it may be as simple as where the ball is struck on the clubface. Now this could be made more difficult by how the club enters into impact but always start the search with contact…..because CONTACT is KING