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Squaring The Clubface - Discussing How The Club Face Compares to the Path

Getting the club to point in the general direction of the target is not always as easy at it seems. There are three ways to do it. Rotate the club around the shaft like a screwdriver (gamma). Raise or lower the handle compared to the club (beta). Move the club within the plane (alpha).

All golfers use a combination of these movements, but good ball strikers rely on early screwdriver movement (which we call the motorcycle). This allows you to create lag and power but not have the face open. Most slicers have the face open, and then have to use the whole shaft to square the face, but results in a very leftward path of the club. Understanding this key concept could help you unlock why you swing the way that you do.

Tags: Fundamentals, Not Straight Enough, Drill, Intermediate, Beginner

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In this concept video, we're going to talk about squaring the club face.

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So one of the unique aspects of golf is because we're playing on this incline plane

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or this angle where the ball is on the ground, it's not always easy to tell exactly where

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my club face is pointing.

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So I've got one of those simple little alignment tools to help you see where the club

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face is pointing.

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I'm going to show you the three kind of forces or torques that can change the alignment

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of the club face and then we're going to simplify it and talk about the two major

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ones that you'll hear me mention frequently during the transition and the release.

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So here we go.

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If I were to position this club so that's point it straight in line with this yellow

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stick, you can see that those two are dead in line.

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So the club face is pointing in the direction that the target is.

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Well, there's three ways that I can adjust this.

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One would be if I were to raise the handle up and down, you can see that up makes it point

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more to the right, down makes it point more to the left.

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So even though the lines on the club are pointing in the direction of the target, if my club

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is more like this, it's actually pointing slowly to the right.

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Secondly, if I were to rotate the club in the plane, you can see that that's now pointed

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to the right and that's now pointed to the left, but the club face is still square to the

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So that's option number two.

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An option number three is I can twist the club to the club face.

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So it can get quite complicated because as I come down I can rotate the shaft, I can lean

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it forward and I can do all these little things that get the club face pointing in the

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direction of the target, but not necessarily the way you might imagine.

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So I want you to start thinking about how we're going to square the club face.

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And I talk about squaring the club face with the shaft.

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What I'm typically referring to is this in-plane motion.

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So you can see that the club is pointed off to the club face is pointed way off to the right.

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Now it's pointed in line with the target and now it's pointed left, but I took this

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entire club shaft and moved it in order to get the club face pointing in a different

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Now though when I talk about just using the club face, here's what I mean.

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If I bring the club out here and then if I twist the club, now the club face is pointed

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in the direction of the target even though I didn't change the shaft whatsoever.

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So when I talk about intransition using the motor cycle and when I talk about making sure

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that that happens for long enough during the downswing, what I'm typically talking about

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is this closing of the club face to the path.

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And the reason that this is important is I set up with it just like so and the only way

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that this would be pointing at the target is if I brought it right back to where it was

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just like this.

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But that's a very poor way to have a downward strike and take a divot.

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If I want to have a divot then I'm actually going to hit it kind of like this.

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And now if I bring it down and I do that again, I've got to be hitting before I reach

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that low point.

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It's about four inches before the low point and you can see that that club is pointing

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somewhere 20 to 30 degrees off to the right.

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And so what I need to do is close the club face slightly to the path so that now it's

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pointing much closer to the target.

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So what we typically see is with good iron players, good drivers, the golf ball.

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They tend to have this closing of the club face relatively early so that they can have

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enough lean in the shaft compared to their body and that lean will look something

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like actual lean when you're hitting an iron.

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But because of the ball being further forward, it doesn't look like lean when my upper body

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is back when I'm hitting the driver.

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It's still about the same amount.

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Now for wedge shots, you'll typically talk about this reverse tumble or you'll typically hear

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me talk about using the shaft to square the club face.

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And that's because we don't want to have a lot of this club face closing.

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We want all the club face squaring to actually happen from the shaft.

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So hopefully that's a new way of thinking about it for you.

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But it will really help you understand why we're doing certain things in transition

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and during the release.

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Because if you don't square the club face early with just this shaft movement, it is

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virtually impossible to have enough shaft lean unless you lunge your upper body forward,

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which tends to cause a whole host of other problems.

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So hopefully this helps you understand how we're going to square the club face when you're

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watching the rest of these videos.

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Now before I forget, let's go over the common patterns for how people square the club

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face or how people get the club face pointed in the direction of the target.

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So one would be I'm coming with a open club face and one would be I'm coming with a

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closed club face.

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The coming with an open club face is by far the more common pattern and there's two common

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ways that people will compensate for it.

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So the first one is I'm going to open the club face and now the club face is open compared

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to my body.

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Now there's two common ways that I'm going to get this club face pointed in the direction

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of the target.

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One is I'm going to swing my path very much to the left and so now you'll see when

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I make contact the face is pointing roughly parallel to this yellow line but because the path

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is so different than where the club face is pointing it's going to impart a big slice

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pin on it.

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The other option I'm going to do the same thing with my group.

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The other option is I'm coming down very open from the inside.

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Now if I was to continue rotating to end staying my posture all that ball would go very

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far right or I wouldn't possibly shank it.

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So the common pattern for this would be I'm going to stand up and release that full angle

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so that my arms are straight and I've used that shaft to get the club pointed in the

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direction of the target.

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So that one ends up looking more like this and ends up having very fast club rotation.

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And I'll demonstrate the way that looks kind of from the face on view.

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So here we've got that perpendicular.

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So let's open it first.

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Now here would be there I've come kind of over the top with an open club face and so

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that's pointing in the direction of the target but there's a big difference between the

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face and the path so that causes curve.

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The other one there's still my open club face.

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Now I'm coming away from the inside and I stand up and that causes the club face to snap

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closed but very very quickly and there's still a big difference between the path and

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the face.

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So those are the most common patterns as far as the open club face.

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Now this one's a little bit more rare but you can have the club face in a very close position

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and typically what you'll see are the two ways to get that pointed in the direction

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of the target are going to be to release the hands up but I'm still pointed left so what

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I'll do is I'll raise the handle up so it'll end up looking kind of like so through impact.

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So if I came from here the common one there's that club face very closed and then I'm

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going to stand up and extend both wrists in order to get that club face pointed more

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in the direction of the target.

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So those are most common ways that you'll see for compensating for either an open or a closed

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club face.

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