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Mind the Line: One thing separates good swings from awful ones

November 9, 2017

You’re at the top of your backswing, loaded and ready to deliver the club to the ball on what you hope is the correct path. It’s a do-or-die moment—missing here likely means that you’ll miss the green. Most players have an idea of what the ideal delivery looks like, but if you had to trace it, would you nail it as you should? Probably not. Theories abound on how to do it, many of them much more complex than they need to be. I can simplify it for you and make your ballstriking much more consistent in the process. The secret? Follow the “hand path.” Here’s what I mean:


Go to the top of your backswing and stop. In your mind’s eye, draw a line from the grip to the ball, as in the photo above. This is your “hand-path” line. While it doesn’t really represent your actual swing plane, it’s a helpful boundary that you can use to guide your hands and the club on the appropriate downswing path.


Your goal is to keep your hands below the hand-path line. To achieve it, let your hands drop while shifting pressure to your left foot. This happens before you begin rotating. It should feel like the clubhead is “falling” behind your hands. You’re now in position for a perfect strike.


If your hands move above the hand-path line as you swing down, you’re toast. Typically, it happens when you start your downswing by rotating your shoulders or hanging back on your right side. Results include pulls, slices, fat shots and tops. But other than that, it’s fine.