It has never been easy to hit the golf ball straight. In fact, in golf, it has always been one of the most complex techniques to learn. The truth is, the golf ball does not go very straight every time. Instead, it curves either right or left. At some point in the path of the flight of the ball, there will be a curve on it.
Many players, whether they are experienced or new to the game, struggle with getting consistency with the driver. What has been unknown to most of these golfers is that the key to attaining straight shots is consistency in practice along with several other factors.
It may come as a surprise to you once you get to know how easy the basic to hitting a straight shot is. Without further ado, let us look into the components that will help you to hit long and straight shots consistently.
Learn to Know Your Paths
When you swing the club up towards the top of your backswing, you create a relationship between the shaft and the lead arm. As you initiate the downswing, your lower body will start to rotate which in turn will rotate your upper body as well. This allows your lead shoulder to make its way around towards the target.
If you are not hitting straight shots, you are probably swinging the golf club on a circle. The club travels on a circle around your body, but it never travels on a straight line to where it wants to go.
Consequently, when you strike the ball, you have slightly opened or slightly closed clubfaces. This will eventually make the ball spin.
However, did you know that your golf club is designed to make the ball spin? How to know that it was designed so? Here is how:
- The loft in it is designed to make it spin up
- The toe is turned to the outside to make it work as a gear
Accordingly, this allows you to turn the club back to the left given that you hit it to the heel. In addition, as you swing and keep your clubface at the target while creating a circle, you will curve the ball to the right. In spite of that, if you swing too far inside and close your face over, you will curve the ball back to the left.
What Causes the Ball to Curve?
You need to be striking the golf ball at the center because the position of your club from where you strike the golf ball has a lot of influence on your shot.
Two main reasons influence the ball flight:
The clubface is mainly responsible for the starting direction. For instance, if your ball starts right of target the face, will also be pointing right of target impact. Similarly, if it is starting left, the clubface is pointing left at impact.
The Club Path
Always remember, the face will send it while the path will bend it. In other words, wherever the face points, you get the curvature of the golf ball there. This is also where your club path starts from. You will also have to match the clubface and the path to produce a straight shot.
There are three types of path which you can have:
- A path to the right
- A path to the left
- A neutral path
Among these paths, the neutral path will help you to hit the golf ball straight. The trick is to get the neutral path with a face that is square to that path when you strike the golf ball. Providing that you are at the center, you will most likely hit the golf ball about straight.
Start Working on Your Neutral Path
As you know by now that the neutral path is the most vital among the other paths, you must also learn how to work on it. To do so, you can follow up the actions below:
- Set one alignment stick directly in line with your ball
- Set another alignment stick on the ground in line with your target
- Pick a target of about 100 or 120 yards in front of you
- You can use your 6 or 7 iron
- Take your normal grip and hold the club up in front of your body
- Keep the clubface straight up in your neutral grip
- Loosen up your grip by twisting the club in your hands until it is about 30 degrees closed
- Take your grip when your club is hooded down
- Get used to tilting your path well to the right
- Keep your face a little right to the alignment stick too
- Clear the stick to the right side with the ball to hook well to the left
Analyze Your Shots
Analyzing your golf swings is one of the biggest things that you can do to help your game; but unfortunately, many golfers get it wrong and end up getting inconsistent information.
For analyzing your swings, you need to work on several elements.
Filming Your Golf Swing
If you measure the path, it is very crucial. In that case, you will need your camera to be at hand height and pointing straight down the handline. You do not want it up in the air (eye height or down the target line) but down.
That would be behind the handline at hand height so that it points straight through the middle of the target line. This will help you to begin while analyzing your plane.
Check Your Clubface
Your club face is mainly responsible for your directions. If you slide and your shoulder drops back while you take your swing, you will end up releasing your club early.
If you want to hit your golf ball straight to the right, you need to see if there is any excessive rotation of the clubface on the backswing, and avoid this ‘whip effect.’ If you notice carefully, you may be able to observe how the top of your club hangs down a lot. This results in excessive rotation of the club as well.
Additionally, if you are hitting it to your left, you need to avoid your club looking too much towards the ground or too much towards the sky. Remember, as long as you encourage your body to rotate, the club will naturally straighten as you come down towards impact.
Improve Your Swing
If you swing up towards the top with rotation and let your leading shoulder makes its way around the space, it will naturally want to create a straightening motion.
This is known as a centrifugal force. As you are applying this force with your shoulders to get out of the way, the club will straighten things up with its weight. You will also notice how the club is creating a down cocking motion coming towards the hit.
Tips for Your Clubface Angle
If your face keeps on coming in too open with the ball starting very far to the right, you are doing it wrong. Try to turn it in like a clock by letting the face turn on over.
Roll your left hand to make your right hand come on top so that this will make you close the face. If your clubface is a little bit more open, your hands won’t roll over as much.
Analyze Your Swing Plane
If you get the plane line which you draw from the heel of the golf club underneath the trailing arm, it will automatically give you a guide. Likewise, if you want to hit the ball straight, you would need the club to swing closer to the plane on the way back, but more importantly, you need to concentrate on the downswing.
You want the club to swing as close to the plane as possible. Moreover, you will have to look if your club is covering the hands on your downswing.
However, if your club is covering the sides on the downswing and is parallel to your target line, you need not worry much because you are pretty much on the plane. This will give you a huge chance of hitting the golf ball just about straight.
It is also ideal to have a launch monitor along with a couple of other video cameras to track your club path when you strike at the golf ball. You can also use the camera on your smartphone.
Additionally, you can also use an app for it. It is a lot easier that way because apps let you use the analysis tool as well. This way you can be more precise while analyzing your plane.
Over and Under Planes
Over and under the planes are two other factors that you might need to consider:
Over the Top
Over the top, plane will usually cause the path to the left. It is where the club swings over the top of the plane and then swings very much across the ball. This will impact the curve to the shot. As a result, if you are swinging to the left, it will cause the ball to curve to the right in case the clubface is open to it.
Under the Plane
Under the plane causes a path which is more to the right. This way you can see the clubhead behind the hands. The club will swing too much to the right, and you will see either a push or a hook from there. However, you are going to see a curvature mainly that goes to the left.
Remember, if you have both your path and face going in the same direction, it will be troublesome for you. Hence, it is essential to be aware of this.
Fix Your Swing Faults
There are some issues you need to solve to get the golf ball straight such as:
Improve Your Pivot
Many golfers pivot poorly. If you can improve the pivot on the way back, transitionally and potentially you can get the golf club a little closer to the plane line on the way down. In that case, you will need to:
- Wind up
- Create a good rotation into your trailside
- Avoid limiting your ability to swing the golf club anywhere close to the plane
- Pivot better to get the club more around your way back
Restrict the Pivot
- You need to restrict the pivot a bit with the hips
- Avoid turning too much with the hips
- On the way down you need to feel if you can get yourself open
- You will need to unwind early
- Consider getting the path a little more to the left
- Rotate your body more on the way through
What to Avoid
- Taking to the top making a pivot
- Keeping your pivot close to the plane
- Unwinding a little early (i.e. over the top move)
- Swinging the club out in the front and eventually across the golf ball
- Poor rotation in the backswing
- Starting with upper body on the way down
- Keeping the back towards the target for a short period
- Turning the body less on the backswing
- Rushing the body turn on the downswing
- Having an in-depth swing on the club
At a very high rate of speed in a millisecond, you will need to have the clubface going right at the target as the club travels right. This can be impossible to master.
However, to make it a lot easier for you, you should learn to control the curve of the ball; preferably a curve that goes from right to left where the golf club is swinging from the inside toward the golf ball which is rotating over. If you swing inside and rotate over, you will create a curve as well.
Some Exercises to Get You Going
It is said that practice makes perfect. These are the tips for you to follow for better performance in hitting the golf ball straight:
Adjusting the Golf Club and Your Position
- Grip the club lightly in your right hand as low as you can
- Keep the muscles in your arms and hands as relaxed and as floppy as you can, but do not straighten your arm (a relaxed muscle is much faster than a tensed one)
- Move the way to the club back to the right
- Make sure your arm is good with your shoulder parallel to the target
- Lean your upper body slightly to the right behind the ball
- Shift your weight to your right foot in the backswing
- Measure the angle of your upper body by holding a club against you
Letting Your Club Turn
- Move the club through to the left
- Allow the weight of the club to turn the golf club
- Do this as slow as you can
- Keep your arm relaxed instead of keeping it stiff
- Try to feel the weight of the club turning
- Start your backswing with simultaneous rotation of your hips and upper body
- Turn your body and your club fully as you complete your rotation
- To ensure a sufficient upper body rotation, maintain a triangle shape between your arms until halfway through your backswing
- Let the motion of your arms and hands accelerate the clubhead through impact
- Dispatch it as fast and straight as possible with all the power of the swing focusing through the ball in a direct line with the target
- Do not start the downswing before completing the backswing when attempting a long drive
- Do about 60 practice swings a day to finally get your hands on those straight shots
Additionally, you can try focusing on the following as well:
- Make the club hit the ball exactly at the middle of the head
- Let your club face point exactly towards the hole
- Learn to control the curve of the ball
- Make the arc as wide as you can (a wide arc will allow the ball to travel much further)
Is it Easy to Hit the Ball Straight?
It is tough to hit the golf ball straight consistently. Many professionals also end up slicing their shots, especially on a drive. Your clubface contacts with the ball, angle of the club and your swing. All play equally vital roles in straightening your shots.
If you want to hit a perfect shot time and again, all of these need to be considered and need to be perfect. If you can successfully control your path and your face angle in the golf swing, you can easily hit a dead straight shot.
To play some consistent golf and hit the target a little more often, you need to learn how you can get the club closer to the plane line with a good face.
You may have to go out of your comfort zone and attempt uncomfortable things, but these will help you to get much more aware of your clubface and the path Such as hitting the sweet spot. The ball must strike the sweet spot in the club to permit you to hit straighter shots.
Our Final Thoughts
Paying attention to the clubface and the path and by finding the tune in those shots will allow you to play a lot better. Moreover, soon you will be getting rid of those big misses out of the bounce and in the water.