Jack Nicklaus is considered the best golfer in history. Nicklaus always said something obvious: you can't hit the golf ball straight all the time. "When I'm driving the golf ball, I never try to hit a straight shot," Nicklaus says. "Everybody has a bread and butter shot. For me, it's been left-to-right through the years."
Any golfer's ultimate goal is to hit straight shots and do it consistently. And Nicklaus is right. It is impossible to hit all the shots straight. What can be done is to try to make it in that way.
"The Golden Bear" won in his career six Masters Tournament, five PGA Championship, four US Opens, and three British Open. In total, he has 117 professional victories and is third among the most winners in history on the PGA Tour, with 73 wins.
The reality indicates that any slight deviation of the clubface at the impact moment on the ball will change the shot. And this divergence increases the longer the club we use.
In short, if the clubface is not square at the moment of impact, the ball will receive a spin. Roughly, we can say that these effects can be a fade, a draw, or a ball that comes out straight.
How do I hit a straight ball?
Before addressing some solutions to your shots, we must first understand what causes a straight golf shot. And the concept is straightforward: the clubface is square at impact relative to the target.
If this is not the case, the ball will go off in different directions. For example, if the clubface is open, the ball will fade or slice to the right (for right-handed players). If the face is closed at the moment of impact, the ball will come out to the left as a draw or even a hook.
As each golfer has their swing, the cause will be pretty particular. The important thing is to keep in mind that the club is always square at impact when you swing.
It is key in all these concepts to have a good grip. Many golfers forget that the position of their hands is the secret to achieving more consistent shots.
Initial help is similar to what we gave in other articles. The best way to straighten your shot is to watch your swing. And this can be through filming or photographs. This will help you determine if the club is square at the time of impact. Also, there are helpful apps that can help you at the moment of filming your swing.
Tips to keep in mind to hit the golf ball straight
With an excellent background as an instructor at the David Leadbetter Academy, the professional David Gil explains a series of tips to get the ball to go straight.
Avoid putting the ball to the left in the stance: many players tend to put the ball (especially when hitting their tee shot with the driver) in front of their left foot. This situation causes your swing to start with your shoulders pointing to the left of the target. This causes the club to begin to rise outward. The best way to correct this is by placing the ball in a central position in your stance.
Consider your swing line: amateurs tend to focus on impact, but hitting the ball well is of little use if the club doesn't move through the swing correctly. The way to correct this situation is to get the club to move inside out on the swing. Undoubtedly, it requires many hours of practice, but it is a basic movement for the shot to make sense and be straight.
Also, keep in mind that a more neutral swing plane helps hit the golf ball straighter, as you can see in this video.
Which clubs are better for hitting straight shots?
The hits where a slice or hook occurs are more familiar with drivers and woods. This being the case, it is more likely to hit straight shots with clubs that allow you to adjust the loft and modify the clubhead's weight, especially near the heel. When you add more weight, lateral movements are reduced, giving more chances to straight shots.
It is then a matter of going to a pro shop and being advised by a professional who will recommend you the best choice. Thus, it is always good to do a fitting, which will allow you to be much more precise when deciding your clubs' selection and configuration.
If your clubface is square at the time of contact with the ball, you will make the ball go straight. Remember that any slight movement will generate a deviation in your shot. For example: if the clubface rotates five degrees to the left, you will get a five-degree hook that starts to the left of the target and turns further to the left. Otherwise, if the clubface hits the ball open-faced by five degrees, you will get an initial five-degree deflection to the right (slice).
It seems obvious, but it is not. In the meantime, keep in mind the advice we gave at the beginning of our article and do like Jack Nicklaus: find a way to choose a hitting effect that is comfortable with, and you can use every time you swing. You will miss less and be more confident in your rounds of golf. And never forget about focus and routine, something we talked about in our previous article. As Nicklaus says: "I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head."