Clubface & Swing-path

Clubface & Swing-path

It is easy to get wrapped up in swing thoughts, as a coach I’m always mindful of visiting that very conscious place in our heads to make swing alterations, in truth its very difficult to avoid for real substantial changes to happen. In this article I just want to focus on what the clubhead is doing through the impact zone and in particular the main factors governing the direction of the balls flight.

First of all it’s important to understand that miss-strikes on the face (non-centre hits), and what club we are using will have an effect on the direction so to keep things simple we are going to assume that everything is struck from the centre of the clubface. Secondly I think it is useful to define some terminology, these definitions are viewed looking down on top of the ball.

TARGET LINE – an imaginary line running from your target through the middle line of your ball. The term inside refers to the side of the line the golfer stands and outside refers to the opposite side.

CLUBFACE DIRECTION – the direction the clubface is pointing in relation to the target at the moment of impact. E.G. for a right handed golfer if the club is pointing right at impact it will be called open. If the face is pointing left at impact it will be called closed. If the clubface is pointing directly at the target it will be called square.

SWING PATH – the direction the clubhead travels in relation to the target line just prior and after the impact point. (This term has no relevance to the backswing at all).


In terms of watching the direction of your ball and beginning to understand what is happening the first thing to look for is where the ball starts off in relation to the target. The balls initial direction is going to be mostly influenced by your clubface direction when you strike the ball, so if your ball starts off left your clubface must be closed relative to the target line(assuming you’re playing right handed).

However if your ball starts off straight and the curls to the right it means you have a square clubface in relation to the target line but your swing path is outside to in (not illustrated).

Obviously why you are doing what you doing can be very individual and more complicated than this medium would allow, but sometimes just getting a better understanding of the simple effects of your swing means you only focus on where your club is swinging at that critical impact point. This keeps the thought process down to a minimum and helps you create better awareness of your club.

Appointments with Paul for golf lessons in Wicklow can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.

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