While many weekend players fight a constant slice, pushed shots can plague even the best pros. Sometimes they refer to this as “getting stuck,” and at other times they just say “I lost it right.” Although many players prefer a pushed shot to a duck hook, it is better to avoid both. Fortunately, most pushing problems fall into two categories, setup problems and “leaning” problems.
Almost all golfers have problems with their alignment at one time or another. Although golfer can aim any part of our bodies to the right—knees, hips, or shoulders—it is our shoulders that most often cause the problem since we tend to swing along our shoulder line. Alignment is easily checked by placing a club on the ground and aiming it toward our target, then using a second club held against our shoulders to see if the two are aimed in the same direction.
Ball Back in Stance
Because the swing is an arc, the clubhead actually moves toward the right during the downswing. If you place the ball too far back in your stance, you can contact the ball when the club is still headed right. The ball should be no more than halfway back in your stance for a short iron shot, and closer to your left instep when you hit a drive.
Many players, using a popular old swing thought of starting the downswing by “ringing a bell,” pull their right elbow straight down into their side. This causes their bodies to be in the way of a normal stroke, and the club must go right to hit the ball. Rather than pulling the right elbow down, swing it in front of and past your right hip; this will put the club on line quicker.
Another popular swing thought is “sliding and turning” the left hip to start the downswing. Although this works for some players, too many players overdo the slide and end up pushing their left hip too much toward the target. This makes them lean backward, tilting the plane of their swing to the right and often causing them to open the clubface as well, resulting in a push-slice. A better solution is to feel as if your start your hips and shoulders turning at the same time; your lower body will still start the swing. It must, as it is physically impossible to start the swing with your shoulders, but your hips will stay more under you and prevent the lean.
Too many players try to help the ball go up in the air. As a result, they lean backwards and end up with their weight on their right foot, sending the ball to the right. Learn how to hit down on the ball and take a divot in front of the ball; this will force you to move to your left side during the swing and keep your club moving toward the target.