How varying the clubface during practice can instantly improve your game

Before fixing anything major, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Ed Oldham shares his reasons why varying the clubface can improve you instantly

Before fixing anything major, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Ed Oldham shares his reasons why varying the clubface can instantly improve your game.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

I use a launch monitor every day with students in my lessons, and while most monitors measure over 30 different parameters on each shot, there’s one parameter that has more influence than any other — the clubface angle at impact.

Did you know that the clubface has about 80 percent of the influence on the starting direction of the golf ball? Now you do, so it only further emphasizes the importance of squaring the clubface.

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Brian Mogg shares a tricky two-club drill to help GOLF Instruction Editor Nick Dimengo better square the clubface
By using this tricky 2-club drill, you’ll be able to keep the clubface square
By: Nick Dimengo

Understanding what creates the starting direction of a golf shot is important, which is where data from a launch monitor can really make a difference in your game.

If your ball starts to the right of the target, the face is pointing to the right at impact (often causing a slice for a right-handed player). If your ball starts to the left, the face is pointing left (leading to a hook for a right-handed player).

Many golfers incorrectly believe that the start line is determined by the path. In reality, it starts very close to where the face is pointing at impact.

Why varying the clubface is the solution to better shots

So how can you see more accurate shots on the course? By varying the clubface during practice.

Most golfers head to the range and attempt to hit perfect shots. But this isn’t the right approach, as research shows that variability in practice can improve learning.

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jim Murphy shared his thoughts on focused golf practice, which should help amateurs concentrate more on each shot
Focused golf practice: Rules for concentrating on each shot for better play
By: Nick Dimengo

This is why I suggest varying your clubface for a few minutes in every practice session, which will enhance your ability to control the face at impact.

For higher handicaps, try hitting one to the left, one to the right, then one in the middle, all by changing the face angle at impact. Then try twisting the face closed, twisting the face open, and twisting the face to the right.

Better players can also do this, but I suggest doing so in smaller variations: slightly closed, slightly open, a little more closed, etc.

By varying the clubface during practice, you can then apply it to your next round. For example, if you’re hitting everything left or right of the target on the course, you’ll have the experience in your back pocket to adjust the face on the fly — all because of your time practicing it on the range.

So spend just a couple of minutes of every practice session varying your clubface; your game will be better because of it.

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