This week, I had a viral post on Twitter/X that rocked the world of golfers.
It showed them just how fine the difference is between success and failure in this game.
Before We Start
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We look at how to fix
- toe shots
For all of these next images, assume we are discussing at impact – as this is what matters to the ball and result.
Here we see a square clubface with an iron. Combined with a square path (direction of club movement), this would produce a straight shot.
In the next image (below), we see an iron with a 1 degree closed face.
At 170 yards, with a 7 iron, this would go between 5 and 6 yard farther left (compared to the square face), all else being equal.
At first glance, you’d think I posted the same picture.
This 1 degree closed would result in this shot.
This 1 degree error is going to hit the vast majority of greens, providing you’re not pin-seeking. Part of this left miss is caused by the ball starting more off line, and part of it is due to curvature caused by the face being closed to the path.
The next image (below) shows a clubface that is 2 degrees closed.
This is enough to send the ball 11-12 yards left at 170 yards. As shown by the map below.
This would be close to tour proximity from this range (surprisingly). However, note that you will still miss a few greens with this small error, especially if you’re not playing a safe strategy.
Let’s now take a look at what 3 degrees closed looks like (below).
Ok, more visible, but still not a huge error in terms of presentation. However, look at the resulting outcome below.
In this specific example, the ball has finished 18 yards left and landed in the water. However, you cut it, you’re going to miss a lot of greens with this error.
To highlight how crazy this is, I’ve put the 1 degree closed and 3 degree closed images next to each other.
The left image produces a birdie chance, and the right image would be dropping with a penalty shot, forcing a difficult up and down. In terms of strokes gained, there’s maybe 1.5 shots difference between the two!
It Gets Worse!
Let’s take a look at the driver.
Here (below) we see a driver with a square face.
Assuming a square path and centered strike, this would produce a straight shot.
Now, let’s take a look at what 1 degree open looks like (below)
Not much – barely visible. However, this will result in a shot that goes around 13 yards right at 250 yards distance. See below.
You could do that all day and hit almost every fairway.
However, just 2 degrees open (see below) and it gets dicey.
Now we see a ball flying around 26 yards right (see below)
You’re going to be missing most fairways now – maybe even getting yourself into some trouble if you didn’t play a safe strategy. Aiming down the left side of the fairway might be a good option in the above scenario.
And 3 degrees open looks like this, below.
This is going to result in close to 40 yards off line. Now we’re looking for balls in the deep trouble. In the below example, you’re taking a drop.
And at 4 degrees open (see below) you can forget about it.
This ball isn’t going to be found anytime soon (unless you’re a fish). It’s going to be well over 50 yards off line at 250 yards distance.
And to further highlight this, I’ve put the image of the fairway finder and the 3 degree open (water ball) side-by-side below.
For a lot of people, the difference is barely visible. Especially if you’re not trying to look for it. Yet it can make a dramatic change to your outcome and score.
Not only that, but we’re expected to swing the club around our head and back down through impact at over 100mph, and somehow return it back to a 1-2 degree window to hit anything decent.
Golf is tough!
What To Do?
- Cut yourself some slack – after a bad shot, recognize it for what it actually is – a small face presentation error.
- Understand that you probably don’t need a massive swing overhaul after a bad shot. That banana slice can be converted into a fairway finder with just a couple of degrees change.
- Use a safe strategy that allows for normal errors to not cost you much. If you’re firing at tucked pins, you’re doing it wrong.
- Learn how to make incremental changes. Calibrating on line shots is a product of being able to feel subtle differences.
If you’re ready to take your game to the next level, check out The Accuracy Plan.
I show you exactly how to
- identify your patterns are/what needs to change
- straighten out your shots with drills
- learn how to FEEL/CONTROL incremental/small changes
- learn how to create and implement a strategy that allows for your shot patterns/dispersions
- line up effectively and even practice alignment in a way that transfers to the course
If you’re serious about improving your game, CLICK HERE, or click the image link below.