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Sometimes it’s the simplest things that cause the most problems in the golf swing. The mis-step of standing too close to the ball at address can lead to a whole host of swing problems. This is likely why this is one of the toughest games in the world to master. The act of standing too close to the ball can ultimately lead to one of these three common swing faults: shanks, over-the-top swing path and poor contact. In this article we’re going to explain how this mistake can lead to a host of problems, and why it’s so incredibly important to check your address position before each and every shot.

Fixing The Shanks

Alright, so this video below actually explains it best, but here’s a summary: Your arms need room to swing the club down to impact. If you’re standing too close to the ball, you’re reducing the amount of ‘room’ you have. This then causes one of two things – either your arms will come into impact in a more upright position (which we’ll go into more detail a bit later), or, your hands will push out from your body as you swing into impact. This move is what causes a bunch of heeled shots, and ultimately the inevitable shank. The simple fix to this fault is to stand further away from the ball, but you may find that your swing has grooved this “pushing-out” move. You’ll have to shock your swing out of it. Try this drill: First, address the ball in the correct position, but setup a tee about 1″ off your ball perpendicular to your target line. Your goal is to make a swing, hit the ball, and miss the tee. You will likely feel like you’re pulling your swing inside, but don’t worry, this is just because you’re so used to the pushing-out move. Hit 10-20 balls like this, and then address the ball normally and swing. You should see a big difference.

In the video below we go into more detail about where you should be positioned:

Fixing Over The Top

The next two faults, sort of go hand in hand. When you stand too close to the ball, your swing is immediately forced to be more upright. When this happens, keeping your swing path in-check as you come into impact becomes very difficult. Your ability to swing the club with lag and attack the ball from the inside also disappears. Ultimately you have no choice but to come over-the-top into ball. This move is often accompanied with an early wrists release, that robs you of power and the chance of solid contact. For this fault, we recommend the baseball swing drill, as it emphasizes the importance of your swing path into the ball. Without a ball, grab a club and swing it as if it were a baseball bat. This move lets you feel an extremely flat swing path, and should help ween you off your upright one. When you address the ball after performing this drill, really focus on getting yourself into the right posture as indicated by this video.

Inconsistent Contact

A poor swing path is often accompanied with poor ball contact. Your golf clubs are designed to lie at specific angle. If you lay your club’s sole flat on the ground, you should be able to address the ball without moving the club much. If you do have to move the club, or find that either the heel or toe of your club is in the air – you’re either not fitted for your clubs, or your posture needs some attention. Regardless, your swing path ultimately dictates your clubs approach to the ball. An upright swing path usually cause the heel to be above the ground as you approach impact, this then means that the toe of your club is hitting the ground first. As this happens, the toe of the club slows down, and the clubface opens at impact, and the result is most commonly a weak fade or slice. Depending on how much your push-out your swing from your body (previously discussed), you can also get heel-first or even thin contact. The best drill for this type of fault is to get a friend to check your address position, and see how your club lies – or better yet go to a fitting professional and get fitted for clubs. For those of you a little on the frugal side, addressing the ball in front of a mirror should give a bunch of feedback on your address position, and how your clubs are lieing.

You can see how gone unchecked, a simple fault can lead to a whole host of problems. And for many of us, we tend to focus too much on the end-result in attempts to fix the fault. For example, a common result of this fault is fade or slice, and many people out there will try and fix this by simply making a stronger grip, or closing their stance, but unfortunately the root of the problem remains. We hope these drills will help you rid your setup of this annoying, but common fault.

Give it a try!

Golf Cross Drill

Most players out there have a natural shape to their ball flight, whether that be a straight (lucky you), fade or a draw. I for one, play a draw, despite having an affair with a nice fade a few years back (ironically, when I was playing my best golf too). While I can talk endlessly about causes of each, this post deals with a particular part of the swing that few golfers realize has an incredible effect on the results of your golf shot – this is called your swing path.

The video below can really help you visualize how your swing path directs the path of your golf ball. As this video explains, an out-to-in swing path (classic over-the-top) will produce pulled shots that start to the left of your target, and depending on your face angle at impact can either move further left, go dead straight left, or fade back to the right. This move is also normally accompanied by an early release of your wrists, which results in a lack of power and distance.

The opposite of this swing fault is an in-to-out swing path that produces pushes, shots that fly right of the target, and again where they end up is dictated by your face angle at impact. While many golfers are likely aware of this, few realize how simple fundamentals like ball position, body posture and your body weight position can drastically effect your swings path.

Here are five things you should know about how the fundamentals effect swing path:
• If the ball is too close your body at address, it becomes incredibly easy to come over the top into impact.
• If your body weight hangs on your rear leg into impact, you’re likely going to push the ball.
• If the ball is too far forward and your stance, coming over the top becomes incredibly easy.
• If the ball is too far back in your stance, pushes become more likely.
• If the ball is too far away from your body, you’re more likely to attack the ball from the inside.

Golf Cross DrillI can’t stress enough how important solid fundamentals are in the golf swing. The simplest mistake can have a drastic affect on the results of your golf shot, and lead to other poor swing mechanics. By putting an emphasis and proper fundamentals you can help reduce the number of swing faults your swing can suffer from, and really start improving your game. I invite you to review the fundamentals at the range by placing an two clubs down on the range in an ‘+’ pattern,

Use one shaft to align your feet, knees, hips and shoulders to your target line, and use the other to better identify the ball position in relation to your stance. You may be surprised to find you ball position creeping forward or back using this method.

Give this drill a shot, take a refresher on your fundamentals, and take your game to the next level.

golf-ball-frozen1

If anyone has ever given you hard time after skying a tee-shot with a comment like ‘I hope you brought your defroster’ then you’ll enjoy this next drill. Skied tee shots and chunks are often caused by the same swing fault — and over-the-top, steep downswing.  Since a large majority of the golfing population suffers from some degree of an over-the-top swing (from the simple pull, to the looping pull slice), we thought we’d share another great drill to combat this poor swing tendency and get your swing attacking the ball from a shallower path. Use the video below as a reference.  Simply setup to the ball as you normally would, and make practice swings over the ball.  This will help remove the tendency to lunge and attack the ball steeply on the downswing.  By making a few swings above the ball, you’ll begin to feel the proper sweeping motion into impact, that should greatly help improve your ball striking consistency and all but eliminate your skyed and chunked tee-shots.  The best part of this drill is you can employ it while you’re out paying a round on the course.  If your swing gets off track, give this drill a try. Good luck!

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Over-The-Top Swing Path

The fault being demonstrated by the lines in this picture is called coming over-the-top. This classic fault is very common with slicers, and is most often characterized by a big looping slice that starts left of the target line (right-handers anyway). This move, of hacking down at the ball from a vertical position with the arms and upper body results in collapsed arms into impact, a loss of power, direction (and most likely big divots). The clubhead gets too far away from the body on the downswing and results in a swing path that travels along the red line, outside of the target line, and then back in. The key to solving this problem is to get the clubhead more behind a player so they can attack the ball from a shallower angle.
Uphill Golf Shot Drill

To help cure this swing fault, our goal is to encourage a flatter approach into the ball. What most players don’t realize is that this happens naturally when you play a ball above your feet. In order to help feel the proper path into the ball, and engrain the move, it’s as simple as hitting a bunch of balls from a sidehill lie, with the ball 3-4 inches above your feet. In order to achieve solid contact you’ll find your swing getting flatter, and your approach into the ball flatter. An over-the-top swing from this type of lie is nearly impossible. Think of making a “baseball swing” and you’ll be well on your way to create a better swing path into the ball.

There’s a reason you tend to hook a ball from a lie with the ball above your feet – use it to your advantage if you’re suffering from an over-the-top slice.

Many swing faults are caused by an incorrect club path into the ball. Whether you pull it (over-the-top), push / block it (in to out) or shank it (either or), your swing path is to blame. There are many drills on this site that can help you fix any of these faults, but today I want to go over some drills you can perform to cure these faults with something as simple as a range bucket.

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Who has seen that infomercial for the Inside Approach or the Path Pro? Trust me, if you have The Golf Channel you’ve seen it, its a little foam bar that can be used to help players rid their swings of that dreaded over-the-top / slice move. Anyway, I have used something similar in my lessons to help my students with this swing fault and I thought I would share it with you.

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Your over-the-top move can have many causes – most commonly though, it stems from poor fundamentals. Regardless your over-the-top move travels on an out to in swing path and to help fix this, we need to get you swinging the opposite direction – in to out. The in to out swing path will help you get into the slot, fight against your slice and help you create more lag and power on your downswing. By practicing the drill below you can get away from your over-the-top move and over time transition into the ideal in to in swing path.

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Picture this…You’re sitting on the right hand side of the fairway, of a dog-leg right hole and the pin is just hiding behind the trees. You have 160 yards to the pin and will need to hit a 10-15 yards fade to avoid the trees on the right. You’re a little worried because if you hit the shot straight, you’ll surely be in the trees to the left of the green.

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The hack shot, coming over the top, rushing the downswing… all of these sayings are used to describe the same out to in downswing path that affects millions of golfers. This dreaded fault has many causes, which makes curing it difficult as drills will help some players but not others. I highly recommend video taping and analyzing your swing on a weekly basis. Most faults even beginners can spot. Here are the top 5 causes of the over-the-top move… each is coupled with an appropriate drill. Let’s get to it…

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