A pulled shot has the ball starting on the left side. It doesn't have the lateral spin and continues on the same trajectory through the entire shot. In simpler terms, a straight shot misses the target to the left.
Keep reading to learn about how pull shots are caused and how you can avoid this mistake.
Different Types Of Pulls And Causes
There are different types of pulls, but they can all be categorized within two main groups—a natural shot and an unintentional shot. There's also a third group which I'll talk about in a minute. Let’s start with the first one.
Natural Shot Or Draw.
This type of pull is directed towards the target or near it. It happens due to the clubface being open at impact, resulting in hitting behind the ball along an inside path to create a sidespin which pushes the ball slightly leftwards according to its point of contact on the clubface.
This type of pull is directed to the right, sometimes even curving back towards the target area after leaving the clubface. This happens due to the clubface being square at impact and with a closed body position which helps fade/slice spin instead of draw/hook spin. This makes it hit on a shallower angle through impact resulting in slightly left-to-right movement as it flies towards its destination.
This type is the cause of concern for a lot of golfers, including professionals. When their shots go right instead of going left, a lot of players start over-analyzing every aspect in their swing and try to make compensations to get back on track. This can lead to an endless circle which only ends when they give up trying to fix it or lose interest in the whole game.
What Causes a Pull?
There are many reasons causing the ball to pull to the left. Let’s explore some of the most common causes of pull shots.
To begin with, make sure that the clubface hits the ball at an angle that is squared to the club path so that there's no sidespin.
This means that the path of the club and the direction of the clubface should be the same. A ball shooting left of the target implies the clubface being closed at impact. It also results in an outside-to-in swing path which ultimately leads to a pulled shot.
Likely Reason #1: Are You Aligned Left of the Target?
A bad alignment before hitting must always be checked for avoiding pulled shots.
A pull shot misses the left of the target, so an easy solution to avoid it can be aiming for the left instead of the target.
The best way to avoid it is to ensure that the golfer aims straight at the target during set-up. Then, they should take a couple of practice swings and check that the clubface is pointing in the right direction before hitting.
A simple way to do it is by setting up in front of a mirror and checking if your feet are parallel with the target line. If they aren’t, this means that you aim left and so does the clubface which results in a pull shot to the left.
Pull Fix #1: Check your aim and stance
Aim appropriately and take a square stance. In case of misalignment is not the issue, look out for problems other than that.
Likely Reason #2: Outside-In Swing and Strong Grip?
Clubs belonging to outside-in varieties can also cause pulled shots.
Sometimes, approaching the club to the impact through a path that is outside the target line. This often gets uncontrollable, and the target line is crossed way past, and the club finishes inside it during the follow-through.
The clubface closes to the target at impact with an outside-in club. This is why the ball starts at the left. A proper alignment with stance and clubface square to the target leads to closing the clubface in the swing to the impact.
A grip that is too strong might also be the problem because it results in the club's active release and closed clubface at impact. Again, a square clubface at impact is what we should be aiming for.
Pull Fix #2: Move to In-Square-In Club Path and Weaker Grip
Pulled shots can be avoided by improving golf swing & its resultant club path.
At the takeaway, take the club back square rather than back outside.
Don't get carried away at the top of the sing & during the downswing. The body is accustomed to taking the club outside the target while going towards impact. So, one needs to control it.
This would help fix the club path. But pull shot issue can be fixed by improving the clubface angle at impact. And for that, simply adjust the strength of the grip a little. A slight weakening of the grip would do the game.
Try a grip with which the number of knuckles visible is lesser than they were before the weakening of grip. For example, if previously three knuckles were visible, then rotate the grip until only to of them can be seen.
Similarly, if one could see only two knuckles in the first place, then the grips ought to be weakened even further by rotating the grips so that only the knuckle is visible.
Pull Fix #3: Aim to the Right of the Target
If changing swing & club paths are difficult, then one can simply go for aiming right of the target during set-up. Although it's not the ideal method for fixing pulled shots, it will still offer a convenient way out.
Because it will help in pulling the focus from the left. It simply means that the shot is still being pulled, but instead of identifying the issue and fixing the ball going left of the target, one can simply play on one's weakness.
With clubs that have the tendency to hit pulled shots, this technique can be tactful as it provides more room for swinging. It allows one to be more carefree. It means that one doesn't have to change the whole swing or focus on what's wrong in an hour of crisis during a competition. One can always aim right and hit it to the target. Pulled Shots can be prevented by improving one's swing, but it’s easier to simply play under the condition of pulling.
Pull Fix #4: Change Club to Stop Pulling
If changing your ball position or grip isn't working out, then you should probably consider club shopping for a new one that does not pull. If all else fails, get down to the store and get yourself a longer (or shorter) shaft club. The great news about this option is that you don't even need to alter your swing because lengthening or shortening the shaft will force you into making the proper adjustments without any bad habits creeping in. A good example of this would be when an amateur decides they want longer so they start hitting drivers. They're almost always going to be more confident and comfortable with the longer club than if they were to change their swing.
An old-school trick is bringing out a driver that's got a cut-down shaft and hitting some balls with it. If the ball starts going straight after several shots, there's a good chance your problem lies within your grip and/or arms (especially if you can hit it straight this way). Remember: Any time you make changes to your set-up or swing, don't rush it! Be patient and remember that practice makes perfect. As cheesy as it sounds, it's true!
Other Possible Reasons for the Shot Pulling to the Left
In addition to these issues, there may be other factors that can cause pulled shots. Some of these factors and reasons are listed below.
Is the ball moving too much forward?
If the placement of the ball is too forward in the stance at address, it is very much likely for one to hit a pulled shot.
The reason is twofold. It amounts to an amalgamation of two impact factors that have already been illustrated earlier on.
These impact factors are:
- clubface that may be aiming towards the left of the target
- square with the path
Fix: The ball should be moved back in the stance in a slight manner.
One can simply try to change the position of the ball by slightly moving it backward in the stance at address. Experts deem it desirable to do it if the problem occurs only with some specific clubs in the bag and not with all the clubs.
Are you standing too low? Are your clubs too upright?
A wrong choice of a club that doesn't suit one's body height or swing pattern might also be problematic.
If the angle between shaft & ground at address is greater than optimum, then the club is more likely to penetrate into the ground. The toes stick to the ground hard, which may cause the ball to go to the left.
The excessive forward angle of the spine or knee bend may cause a tilted posture at the address.
Fix: Stand taller at the address or get custom fitted and purchase flatter clubs
Here’s a video that provides great guidance:
Was the ball lying above your feet?
A golf ball that lies on a sidehill, i.e., on a tilted or angled surface, above the feet, tends to go left of the target. Sidehills might cause flatter swings which might result in a sudden release of hands. This sudden release leads to a closed clubface which ultimately causes to shoot the ball left of the target.
Fix: Aim right of the target.
Here’s another helpful video:
Are your grips too small?
The size of the grips can also be a determinant in the left shooting of the ball.
Smaller grips can also cause a closed clubface due to an aggressive release of hands at the impact.
Fix: Buy new grips with larger diameters.
Another way of correcting this issue is to increase the diameter of your current ones by adding on tap on the grips.