Club Path Direction And Strike Location In The Golf Swing

Club Path Direction And Strike Location In The Golf Swing

In this article, I’m going to bust one of the myths that many amateurs have regarding strike location. So if you’ve ever hit a toe or heel shot, you will want to make sure you read this.

I hear amateurs talk about how they’re hitting toe or heel mis-strikes. In a lot of cases, I also hear how they’re trying to fix this by changing their swing path direction.

However, when I’m teaching, I see

  • swing path direction and
  • strike location

as two separate entities. Let me explain.


Before We Read On

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  • shanks,
  • toes,
  • fats,
  • thins,
  • slices,
  • hooks, as well as
  • practicing better and improving on-course strategy –

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Any Path Can Hit Any Strike

While path direction can correlate to strike location for some people, an off-line path direction is not the causal factor for a mis-strike (correlation is not causation).

For example, you can swing in-to-out and hit the toe (picture 1)

You can also swing in-to-out and hit the heel (picture 2)

You can swing out-to-in and hit the heel (picture 3)

and you can also swing out-to-in and hit the toe (picture 4)

And yes, you can also have a perfectly square path and hit any part of the face. A neutral path does not guarantee a centered strike either. They’re separate variables!


Pros Shape Shots

Think about it!

Pro golfer shape shots all the time. They’re able to swing more to the left or right to draw/fade the ball, yet they are not mis-striking it when they do so.

So it’s simply a myth that it’s your path that’s causing you to hit off the toe/heel.

Now, this isn’t to say that working on your path is not a good idea. If your natural path is 10 degrees left, it’s probably a good idea to get that closer to neutral for efficiency reasons (we don’t want to be cutting across it too much for our stock shots).


So What Am I Saying?

What this short article is getting at is this….

If you’re trying to fix your strike issues by changing your path direction, you’re probably better off working on something that relates more directly to strike location. 

When I’m teaching,

  • If I want to fix someone’s path direction, I work on elements of the swing that relate to path direction.
  • If I want to fix someone’s strike, I work on things that relate to strike location.

It’s that simple.

Yet I see so many amateurs failing tirelessly to change their strike because they’re working on their path direction. The number of shankers I see trying to fix their out-to-in path and still shanking it is too high!

Just because you have an out-to-in or in-to-out path and shank it DOESN’T mean that changing your path is going to change the shank. Fix the shank first!!


Learn More

If you have been suffering with poor strike locations (toe/heel), check out my Strike Plan program (click the image below).

It’s full of drills and techniques to help you quickly move the strike more to the center of the face, as well as drills to fix fat and thin shots, and even add more consistency to you game.

If you feel your strike is pretty good but your accuracy is hurting your game. Or if you feel you curve the ball too much in the air, or even want to learn how to do that intentionally, my Accuracy Plan program is for you (click the image below).

It’s full of skill drills and techniques to help you hit the ball straighter, as well as a unique strategy system to allow you to hit more greens and lower your scores.


  • Jim

    So, as I understand it, you are saying if I swing inside out well under the plane and shank, I can do this same swing path without shanking. Is that correct?

    • admin

      Yes 100%. You could hit the sweet spot with that motion. Now, this isn’t to say you wouldn’t want to correct a “well under-plane” motion for other reasons (E.g. ground contact issues or curvature issues).

  • Manny Andaya

    I can’t figure out my Driver shot shape. No matter how much I focus on a club path that’s in-out and closed face, I’m getting a ball that ends up 100 yards to the right of my target.

    • admin

      Unfortunately, focusing on it alone is not enough. However, if you actually do it, you will guarantee the result of a draw. Check out my Accuracy Plan to learn how to actually get that face more closed to the path (and path more in-to-out), as well as processes for speeding up the learning of it. CLICK HERE to learn more

    • Michael

      Try working on a stronger grip to keep the club face closed. (Overexaggerate on the range so you hook the ball left to start so you get a feel then dial it back.) I had a wicked slice that I always thought was caused from coming over the top but it never matter how flat I got the swing bc my grip was just wide open.

      Just remember to adjust your aim once it straightens out. You’re gonna aim way too far left because you’re used to playing the slice.

  • Andrew G

    Hi Adam, my swing was dire, especially with driver, constantly slicing or pulling, often with a heel strike. I recently started getting lessons with the club pro, who recommended changing my swing path more in to out. I’ve had to really focus on it, but with the spray on the club face noticed I was hitting much more central, and even slightly more toe. Out on the course, I’m hitting more fairways, but noticed as I get more tired towards the end of thee round, I’m more likely to revert back and shank it a bit more.

    • admin

      Sometimes one change will co-incide with another positive. Call it a “happy accident”. Enjoy it – just remember that you can still swing in to out and heel it. I wouldn’t want you hitting a heel, and trying to swing more and more in to out (which can happen). I’ve seen people wrongly correlate the two, and they end up swinging 15 deg in to out and still heeling it – and now they have a bunch of other issues.

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