How to Square up the clubface at impact

For almost two years, I would say, I have been working on a swing principle I discovered that has to do with keeping the clubface square at the start of the swing.

I’m certainly not the first one to have ever discovered it, but I knew from the first moment that it was true and correct.

For all this time I did not know how to extend that startup principle into the whole of my golf swing. I did not know that I was trying to incorporate that principle into a swing that was not designed to accept it.

Which meant I couldn’t tell you about it.

Now I can.

Instruction books show pictures of how the clubhead should be oriented when you have taken the club back to the place where the shaft is parallel to the ground. These pictures show the sole of the club pointing straight up in the air, perpendicular to the ground.

That is entirely incorrect.

At that point in the swing the sole of the club should be parallel to the axis of rotation of the swing, which is the spine angle. The clubhead taken back parallel in this way will be leaning forward a bit. That looks closed, but it is really square.

The pictures in all those books are showing you how to open the clubface at the start of the swing, which might partially explain why so many people slice.

If you want to confirm this for yourself, get into your setup, take the club back to where the shaft is parallel to the ground, and with the sole of the club pointing straight up and down.

Now stand up straight without adjusting your hands. The clubface is open, isn’t it?

A few weeks ago I came across a video by Mike Malaska which (a) confirmed that what I had found was right, and (b) showed me how to integrate that principle into my golf swing.

This next video of his shows you how to practice this technique, starting at 3:40.

For my entire golfing career I could not explain how the clubface got back to the ball as square as it was at address. All I could say was it’s something that just happens, which is no which explanation at all. On some days it happened for me, on other days it didn’t, and I thought, that’s the just way golf is.

Now I can explain how the clubface gets back to the ball square, and now I’m in control of it happening.

You can be, too. It’s really easy.

2 thoughts on “How to Square up the clubface at impact”

  1. This is a good tip, Bob. Former PGA Pro and current golf commentator Arron Oberholser agrees. His suggestion is slightly different in that he coaches golfers to “very slightly” turn down the face of the club (“hood it” just a bit) with the left hand as they begin the backswing. Malaska uses the right hand, but the end result should be the same. When I do this properly, having followed Arron’s advice to very slightly “shut, or hood,” the club face as I start the backswing, the club face strikes the ball squarely at impact. If I don’t do this, there’s greater likelihood that I’ll come through with the club face open. When a golfer “senses” that, he/she tries to correct with the hands, and that doesn’t work consistently, because it brings timing into play. Most of us amateurs struggle with both timing and tempo, so this tip helps with that. Thanks!

  2. This is also part of Don Trahan’s Peak Performance Swing, although it is not a conscious maneuver (but it can be used as a checkpoint). If your grip and alignment are correct, and you execute the takeaway/start of the backswing properly, this naturally happens. There’s a great photo of this on page 101 of his Peak Performance manual.

    Mike Malaska has a couple videos on how to line up your eyes/vision to the putting line that are great.

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