Hit the Golf Ball Straighter by not Spinning Out of the Shot, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill (Video)
Hit the Golf Ball Straighter by not Spinning Out of the Shot, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill (Video)

One of the phrases that you might often here when golfers are talking about the way they’ve hit the golf ball certainly sometimes on the TV, you’ll hear the commentators talk about how the players spin out of the ball. It describes this process of unwinding the hips too quickly which often causes the upper body to be too passive, the hands to come out in front of the body, this way and then actually come across the back of the golf ball, can often result in a pull but more importantly for most amateur golfers, a slice.

So if we were looking down the line and we swing to the top and the player spins out of the body this way, the hips open too quickly, the hands come over the top and then they pull across the golf ball, the spin out would cause the club to travel from out and across the ball and a lot of left to right spin on the ball. So one thing we’ve got to try and do is really work the bottom half of the body better at the start of the downswing to avoid the spinning out. And the bottom half needs to be moving laterally rather than rotating. So here is a really nice exercise for you to understand that lateral movement.

What I’m going to do is set you up here in front of a mirror. Where my camera is, I would normally put a mirror, and put the tour stick in the ground. So I’ve got it sitting in a basket here but if you could just put it straight into the floor. Or if you are sort of doing it outside, stick it into the lawn so you are facing the window or the back door something like that so you can see yourself. And then shuffle in nice and close to it, so just a couple of inches away from the tour stick. And then just looking up into my mirror I’m going to feel that I turned slightly away from the tour stick and the backswing, loading my body weight nicely onto my right side and moving away from the stick.

Now the start of my down swing is the key move. This is where I’d like to move my hips laterally back in towards the stick. So I’ll move my hip and my knee almost imagine I’m going to bump into the stick and knock it over. And that means the lateral shift which allows me more room to bring the club on the inside and then I can turn through to finish on my left leg. So I don’t want to spin the hips and move them away from the stick, I actually want to move them into the stick. So it’s up to the top, I’ve moved the waist slightly, I’m on my right leg, a little bump across to the hips, get near to the tour stick, feel like you are going to knock it over and then turn through into the follow through, and get your body weight onto your left side.

So if we try this again now with an actual swing, I'm going to try and knock the stick over during the swing. Stay where you are, stick. I’ve got it sitting in the floor, there we go. So during my swing here, I’m going to try and bump it over. And hopefully you can see that how I move my hips, nice and laterally across in my transition and then turn through to a nice big finish position. That’s a great exercise to stop you spinning after the ball and coming over the top.

2013-06-27

Too many golfers are obsessed with hitting the ball farther.

Hit the Golf Ball Straighter by Not Spinning Out of the Shot

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to add distance to your shots, it is really the task of learning to hit the ball straighter that you should be trying to tackle. It is straight shots which will allow you to take strokes off your average score, not long shots. You’d be able to hit the ball both long and straight in an ideal world, but let’s worry about one thing at a time. Find a way to hit the ball straighter and then tack yards onto those shots down the line.

In this article, we are going to talk about an important swing key that you need to monitor if you are going to hit straight shots. To hit the ball straight, you need to make sure you aren’t ‘spinning out’ of the swing as you come down through impact and into the finish. This is an extremely common problem for amateur golfers, and it even plagues professionals from time to time. If you can take away this tendency in your own game, it is nearly certain that your ball striking will improve quickly.

So, what does it mean to spin out of a golf shot? Basically, this means that your body is pulling away from the ball while the club is coming down into impact. It is often the left shoulder (for a right-handed golfer) which is the guilty party, but your left hip and even your head can play a role, as well. A long list of problems can develop when you pull off the ball, and in the end the quality of your shots will be compromised. You may be able to hit a decent shot or two from time to time when you spin out, but you’ll never live up to your potential this way.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play golf left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

What Happens When You Spin Out?

What Happens When You Spin Out?

So much of learning to make a good golf swing comes down to knowing how to avoid mistakes. A proper swing is actually quite simple – but getting to that point is not simple at all. It takes plenty of practice, and a lot of failure along the way, to learn how to make a simple, repeatable golf swing. If you can gradually take the mistakes out of your swing, you’ll eventually be left with something that is reliable hole after hole, round after round.

With regard to spinning out of your shots, why is this a problem? What issues are you going to encounter when you spin out? Let’s take a look at some of the likely problems that will accompany this technical mistake.

  • Poor quality of contact. The main reason you want to avoid spinning out of your shots is that this mistake is likely to lead to poor contact quality. Rather than striking the ball beautifully on the center of the face, you are probably going to hit your shot off the toe of the club. This makes sense, of course, since you are going to be pulling away from the ball as you swing through. With everything moving back away from the ball, you won’t be able to reach the ball with the sweet spot, so it’s almost inevitable that you’ll hit the toe. Also, as you pull back you are likely to move up as well, meaning that thin contact is a strong possibility. Whatever the specifics happen to be, the main takeaway is this – you are going to struggle to find the sweet spot when you spin out. Learn to stay down and through your shots in order to make it much easier to achieve clean contact.
  • Loss of distance. A big part of the reason that you will lose distance when spinning out of your shots comes back to the fact that you aren’t going to be making very good contact. In addition to that, you’ll also lose some of the speed out of your swing as you pull away from the ball. During the downswing, the club should be accelerating steadily all the way through impact, before slowing down in the follow through. However, if you pull away and interrupt the natural flow of the downswing process, you are going to cost yourself some valuable speed. This is a tricky point for many golfers to understand, as it can actually feel like you are swinging faster when you pull back away from the ball. Don’t fall for this misleading feeling. Trust that you swing is working properly and stay down through the shot until you have sent the ball on its way.
  • Potential for the slice. Countless players struggle with the slice, and many of them are stuck in that pattern due, at least in part, to the fact that they are pulling away from the ball. The action of spinning out of your shots and pulling away from the ball is going to cause you to swing across the ball from outside-in. That is half of the recipe for a slice, so if you combine that outside-in path with an open clubface, you will be in real trouble. Eliminating the slice is a topic for a different article – or an entire book – but getting rid of the tendency to pull out of your shots is a good start.
  • Struggles under pressure. This last point is somewhat hidden, in that you probably won’t think about it when out on the course. If you do get into the habit of spinning out of your shots, you may be able to find a way to play at a reasonable level when you aren’t nervous. On the range, you might be able to get by on hand-eye coordination alone, making decent contact and hitting acceptable shots. However, when on the course and under a bit of pressure, it will be a different story. You need to rely on fundamentals when you are nervous, and players who spin out of their swing do not have good fundamentals in place. If you hope to move toward lower scores as you continue playing this game, it’s essential that you find a way to play well when the pressure is on. Toward that end, getting rid of the spin out in your swing is going to be a big step.
  • There is a lot that can go wrong when you spin out of your shots. That’s not to say that you will never be able to hit a good shot if you spin out, but more often than not you are going to be disappointed. If you are willing to take the time and effort required on the practice range to remove this error from your technique, it’s almost certain you will be a better golfer in the long run.

    Getting Back on Track

    Getting Back on Track

    This is likely the most important section in the entire article. Here, we are going to talk about the adjustments you can make to stop spinning out of your shots. Some of these tips are going to be mechanical in nature, while others are mental. They may not all apply perfectly to your game, so read them through and pick out the ones which seem to address your issues properly.

  • Keep your eyes on the ball. One of the most powerful things you can do to stop coming out of your shots goes all the way back to one of the first tips you ever received as a golfer – simply keep your eyes on the ball. As you make your golf swing, your eyes should be fixed on the golf ball until it has been struck and sent off into the distance. In fact, you can do better than just looking at the whole ball – you can look at a specific point on the ball for better focus. While it’s pretty easy to keep your eyes on the ball during the backswing, you may struggle to do the same when making your downswing. If you find that you keep looking up early, the problem is probably a mental one. You are anxious or nervous about the shot for some reason, so you are pulling your head up to see where the ball is going to go. This is a common error, and it is a costly one. Before each swing, remind yourself of the importance of keeping your eyes on the ball all the way through impact. If you pay close attention to this point on the driving range, it should start to come easier out on the course.
  • Stop trying to hit the ball so hard. One of the ways you can wind up spinning out of your shots is by trying to hit the ball too hard. If you over swing in an effort to hit the ball as hard as possible, there is a good chance you’ll pull your left shoulder out of the swing while the club is still making its way to the ball. Remember, this is a game that is about accuracy first and foremost. Distance is great, but only when it comes along with plenty of control over your golf ball. Sheer power without the ability to control where the ball is going is completely useless. This is another thing that you can teach yourself on the driving range. Rather than trying to hit your range shots as far as you can, pick out targets which are well within your distance capabilities. Focus on hitting accurate shots, not long ones. Not only are you likely to hit more accurate shots when you don’t try to swing so hard, you’ll also find that you may not lose much distance – if any – as compared to when you were swinging at max effort. Any loss of speed should be made up for by the fact that you will be hitting the ball on the center of the club face more consistently.
  • Properly sequence your swing. There is a correct order of operations in the golf swing which must be followed if you want to find success. From the top of the backswing, the first thing you should do is rotate your lower body toward the target while your upper body hangs back and waits to be taken along for the ride. This is not how most amateur golfers swing the club. Instead, the average amateur starts by turning his or her upper body toward the target first, bringing the club along with it prematurely. You don’t want to find yourself in this pattern, as you will likely end up spinning out of the shot long before you make contact with the ball. Learn how to start your downswing with your lower body while your upper body waits its turn.
  • Trust your swing. Good golfers trust their golf swings to do the job successfully. If you don’t trust your swing, you are more likely to spin out because you will want to see where the ball is going. This goes back to our first point about keeping your eyes on the ball. It will be easier to watch the ball, and it will be easier to avoid spinning out, if you have a healthy level of confidence in your abilities. You may not be the best golfer in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to expect every shot to go wrong. Try to think positively and think back to the good shots you have hit in practice when you face a crisis of confidence on the golf course.
  • It's going to take some work if you are going to remove the spin out from your golf swing. It probably won’t happen all at once, so watch for signs of progress and congratulate yourself along the way if you notice that spin outs are happening less and less frequently.

    Making On-Course Adjustments

    Making On-Course Adjustments

    One of the hardest parts of improving your golf game is managing to take the improvements you make on the range out with you to the golf course. It might be fun to hit some pretty shots in practice, but those shots aren’t going to mean much unless you can replicate them during your rounds. As you work toward eliminating the spin out from your golf swing, remember that the job is not done until this habit disappears from the range as well as the links.

    Adjusting the way you approach the game of golf on the course can help you stop spinning out. Take a look at the following tips for assistance.

  • Take an extra club. This is a tip which refers back to the point we made earlier about not swinging too hard. If you are constantly picking clubs that need to be swung at 100% effort in order to reach the target, you are asking for trouble. Requiring that kind of effort from yourself is a sure way to encourage your body to pull out of the swing prematurely. Don’t put yourself in a position to fail simply due to poor club selection. When picking a club for a given shot, use the club that you are sure can reach the target with a comfortable level of effort. That way, when you stand over the ball, you won’t be thinking that you have to give it all you’ve got in order to cover the yardage. You’ll know you have enough club, so you can relax and make a comfortable, solid swing.
  • Don’t rush yourself. It is easy to get into a rush while playing a round of golf. There are a number of reasons why you may end up feeling rushed. For one thing, you could be anxious about other players watching you swing, so you just wind up hurrying through the process in order to get it over with. Or, you might be a beginner who is taking quite a few shots to make it around the course, so you hurry as to not delay others. Whatever the case, you need to find a way to settle down and get into a rhythm for each swing. There is nothing wrong with trying to play at a good pace – more golfers should do that – but you still need to take your time while actually making a swing. If you do rush, it’s again more likely that you will end up spinning out of the swing and hitting a poor shot. Take a deep breath before you walk up to the ball, focus on your fundamentals, and execute to the best of your ability.
  • Learn your new ball flight. Another piece of the puzzle here is learning the new ball flight that is going to come with your improved swing. If you are able to successfully stop spinning out of your swings, it’s almost certain that your ball flight is going to change in some way. That is likely a good thing, but you need to adjust accordingly. For instance, if you are now hitting a draw instead of a fade, you’ll need to aim to the right of the target rather than the left at address. This might seem like a simple thing, but it is a bit more challenging than you may expect at first. Pay close attention to how your ball flight is changing and tweak your game plan as necessary.
  • Don’t let yourself get too frustrated if you struggle to find good results when first heading back out onto the course. Even if you have made meaningful improvements in the way you swing the club, it still could take some time to translate those improvements into lower scores.

    Staying Down on Your Short Game Shots

    Staying Down on Your Short Game Shots

    To finish up this article, we need to talk about the short game. It’s always important to talk about the short game, as performing well on and around the greens is a prerequisite for lower scores. In this case, the discussion on the issue of spinning out of your full swings is not perfectly relatable to the short game, but there is a comparison to be made here.

    You are unlikely to spin out of your short shots completely, since you aren’t making that big of a swing. Without the big body rotation and high speed of a full swing, the spin out isn’t really something that is going to happen. However, you can still pull yourself out of short shots prematurely, and that is a major issue in the amateur game. Countless amateur players come up early when putting and chipping, and the results are usually ugly.

    Simply put, you need to stay down when hitting short game shots. That means keeping your eyes down on the ball, your head still, and your knees flexed. You don’t want any dramatic movements while trying to hit a putt or a chip – everything should be steady, controlled, and repeatable. A good way to think about your short game is that you want to use as few moving parts as possible during the swing or stroke. No matter if you are chipping or putting, try to keep everything quiet except what is necessary to move the club back and through the ball. Keeping it simple in this manner is almost certainly going to help your performance.

    There isn’t anything good to say about spinning out of your golf shots. It is not going to help you hit accurate shots, it isn’t going to help you hit the ball farther, and it isn’t going to help you play well under pressure. Across the board, spinning out is bad news for your game. The sooner you can eliminate this mistake from your swing technique, the better off you will be. We hope this article will help to set you on the right path, so you can clean up your swing mechanics and look forward to better play in the near future. Good luck!

    One of the phrases that you might often here when golfers are talking about the way they’ve hit the golf ball certainly sometimes on the TV, you’ll hear the commentators talk about how the players spin out of the ball. It describes this process of unwinding the hips too quickly which often causes the upper body to be too passive, the hands to come out in front of the body, this way and then actually come across the back of the golf ball, can often result in a pull but more importantly for most amateur golfers, a slice.

    So if we were looking down the line and we swing to the top and the player spins out of the body this way, the hips open too quickly, the hands come over the top and then they pull across the golf ball, the spin out would cause the club to travel from out and across the ball and a lot of left to right spin on the ball. So one thing we’ve got to try and do is really work the bottom half of the body better at the start of the downswing to avoid the spinning out. And the bottom half needs to be moving laterally rather than rotating. So here is a really nice exercise for you to understand that lateral movement.

    What I’m going to do is set you up here in front of a mirror. Where my camera is, I would normally put a mirror, and put the tour stick in the ground. So I’ve got it sitting in a basket here but if you could just put it straight into the floor. Or if you are sort of doing it outside, stick it into the lawn so you are facing the window or the back door something like that so you can see yourself. And then shuffle in nice and close to it, so just a couple of inches away from the tour stick. And then just looking up into my mirror I’m going to feel that I turned slightly away from the tour stick and the backswing, loading my body weight nicely onto my right side and moving away from the stick.

    Now the start of my down swing is the key move. This is where I’d like to move my hips laterally back in towards the stick. So I’ll move my hip and my knee almost imagine I’m going to bump into the stick and knock it over. And that means the lateral shift which allows me more room to bring the club on the inside and then I can turn through to finish on my left leg. So I don’t want to spin the hips and move them away from the stick, I actually want to move them into the stick. So it’s up to the top, I’ve moved the waist slightly, I’m on my right leg, a little bump across to the hips, get near to the tour stick, feel like you are going to knock it over and then turn through into the follow through, and get your body weight onto your left side.

    So if we try this again now with an actual swing, I'm going to try and knock the stick over during the swing. Stay where you are, stick. I’ve got it sitting in the floor, there we go. So during my swing here, I’m going to try and bump it over. And hopefully you can see that how I move my hips, nice and laterally across in my transition and then turn through to a nice big finish position. That’s a great exercise to stop you spinning after the ball and coming over the top.