If you are a senior golfer and you experience hitting golf shots that fly to the left of the target, then your club face is aiming left of the target as it strikes the ball.

Why Should Senior Golfers Keep The Toe Of The Club Head Up During Their Golf Swing

To correct this and get you returning the club face back to the ball with the club face aiming at the target, then work on keeping the toe of your club head up during your backswing and downswing.

The toe of your club head is the far end of the head that you can see when the club head is addressing the golf ball. On your backswing, as you move the club head away to the right of the golf ball, the toe of the club head should point upwards to allow the club face to rotate slightly open. If you swing away and keep the club face aiming towards the ground as you do this and keep the toe and heel of the club head horizontal towards the floor, then this actually closes the club face (results in it aiming left of target).

Try the following. Hold your golf club horizontally out in front of you as though you were going to hit a ball from a waist high position. Swing the club horizontally around you to the right as though you were making a baseball swing. Look at the club head as you do this and you will notice that the club head rotates clockwise as you make the swing back. This is a natural movement and response to your arms and hands rotating clockwise as they move around you.

Now take a golf swing with your golf club and swing back to waist height, keeping the club face aiming at the floor. From this position, turn your body towards the target as you swing the club head back down towards the ball. As the club head reaches the ball you will see that the face is aiming to the left of the target and as a result of this, the golf ball will fly to the left of the target.

Now swing to waist height again and this time, allow the toe of your club face to rotate clockwise so that the toe of the club head points upwards. Move back towards the ball, keeping the toe of the club head pointing upwards and you will now see that the club face returns back to the golf ball aiming more to the right than before. Work on doing this slowly until you are returning the club face so that it is aiming at the target when it returns back to the ball.

Keeping the toe of your club head pointing upwards during your golf swing allows you to return the club face back to the golf ball so that it is aiming at the target and as a result of this, you will start to hit much straighter golf shots and see your accuracy really improve.

When and Why Does Club Head Toe Need to Be Up? Backswing and Forward Swing

When and Why Does Club Head Toe Need to Be Up? Backswing and Forward Swing

Everything you do in the golf swing should be geared about putting the club head in the right position at impact. After all, this is the only moment of the swing that really counts for anything – when you place the club on the ball, you need to do so in a manner that will produce the kind of shot you planned to hit. If the club head isn't in the right position, everything else will have been a waste.

One way to make sure you have the club head in the right spot is to check on its behavior at a number of points during the swing. These checkpoints can be helpful in tracking your progress as you move through the swing. During your practice sessions, you should work on hitting various checkpoints so you can be sure that the club is going to be as close to square as possible when contact is made. The swing happens too fast to make last-second adjustments prior to the strike – to avoid having to resort to that plan, it is best to keep the club head in the right position for as much of the swing as possible.

In this article, we are going to discuss how you can use the 'toe up' position to monitor your progress with the club head. If you can make sure that the toe of the club is pointing up to the sky at the right point in both the backswing and the forward swing, it will be easy to find a square position at impact. While the ideal timing for the toe up position is going to vary a bit from player to player, most golfers will fit into the general guidelines offered in this article. As always, it is up to you to understand your own swing and decide how certain pieces of advice fit in with what you are trying to do as a whole.

As you work on your swing, one of your main goals should be to take as much timing out of the action as possible. Timing is unreliable on the course, as it will change dramatically from day to day – and even from shot to shot. You can't trust a timing-based swing to perform well under pressure, so you will always be susceptible to poor shots at the worst times. If you would like to build a reliable game that can be trusted even in the toughest of circumstances, putting the club in the right position from start to finish should be a top priority.

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

The Rotational Nature of the Golf Swing

The Rotational Nature of the Golf Swing

Golf would be a simple game if you could swing the club in a straight line. The club face would never need to open or close at all – you could just keep it square to the target line from start to finish, ensuring that the ball would always head in the right direction. Of course, not only is that impossible, it would also be rather boring. Golf is an interesting game because of the never-ending challenge that it presents.

Rather than swinging in a straight line, you are forced to swing in a circle while playing golf. You are standing next to the ball, and your body is acting as a pivot point for the club to rotate on from the start of the swing to the finish. That means the club is going to have to open and close during the swing, relative to the target line. It will open on the way back, and close on the way through. If you can time these movements properly, you can still wind up with the club face in a square position at the bottom of the swing.

Monitoring the timing of the toe up position both in the backswing and the forward swing is a great way to make sure that your rotation is on track. If you are currently having trouble hitting the ball in the direction of your target, it may be that you are struggling to rotate the club properly during the swing. However, since the swing happens so quickly, you won't be able to notice this error in real-time. Only when you break your swing down into components will you be able to spot the source of your trouble.

To help you gain a better understanding for the way the club rotates throughout the swing, we have outlined some of the key moments during your swing below. As you work on your mechanics, do your best to match your swing up with these checkpoints.

  • Address. When standing at address and preparing to swing, the club face should be perpendicular to the target line. In the golf world, this is simply known as 'square'. If you set up square, you will be giving yourself the best possible chance to return to that same position at the moment of impact. There are plenty of things that can go wrong along the way, of course, but this will be a good start. Don't take for granted that you will automatically be able to get into this position – work on mastering this during practice just as you would any other skill.
  • Halfway back. This is the first point during the golf swing where the toe will be up in the air. When you reach halfway back in your backswing – which is defined as the point where the shaft of the club is parallel to the ground – the toe of the club should be pointing to the sky. It needs to be noted, however, that this is not a perfect science. Some golfers will still have the club face a bit turned down at this point, while others will already be slightly open. That's okay. You don't have to be perfectly on track here, but you should be close. If your club is dramatically close or wide open when you are halfway back, there is probably a problem in your takeaway that needs to be addressed.
  • At the top. When you arrive at the top of your backswing, it is a good idea to have the angle of the club face match up nicely with the angle of your left arm. The only real way to evaluate this position is to record your swing on video, or to ask the help of a trusted friend or golf teacher. The position of the club face at the top of the swing is one of the most important individual aspects of your technique. Most likely, this position is going to follow right along with the position you saw when the club was halfway back. If you were square when halfway back, you are probably still square at the top.
  • At impact. Of course, this is going to be the most important moment of all. When you strike the ball, the face of the club should be as square to the target line as possible. That is easier said than done, as the club can be moving at a significant rate of speed at this point in the process. You won't be able to see the positioning of the club face as it tears through the ball, so you will be left to rely on the shot you hit as evidence of how you have done. If the ball flies relatively straight and in the correct direction, you have managed the club face nicely.
  • Halfway through the forward swing. The last checkpoint on our list is once again when the club is parallel to the ground. This time, the club will be parallel to the ground after impact, and again here the toe of the club should be up in the air. Positioning the club head with the toe up halfway through the follow through proves that you have released the club nicely through impact, and you are doing a good job of rotating through the shot.

To review, this list includes two points when the club head should be in the toe up position. First, it should be toe up when you are halfway through the backswing, and it should find that position again when you make it halfway through the follow through. So, in other words, the club head should be toe up each time the shaft of the club is parallel to the ground. If you can make that happen, you will be well on your way to quality ball striking performance.

How It Happens

How It Happens

Okay – so now you know that you should have the club in the toe up position when the club is parallel to the ground. But how do you make that happen? The swing moves along far too quickly to be consciously thinking about hitting those two checkpoints. Instead, you need to use techniques that are likely to place the club in those proper positions without any manual adjustments taking place on your part.

When you are ready to work on this skill, use the tips listed below to guide your practice sessions.

  • A quiet takeaway. The best way to get the club into a toe up position on the way back is actually to do very little during the takeaway. By starting in a square position and then turning your shoulders away from the target, you should have the club in just the right spot when it is parallel to the ground. Many amateur golfers go wrong early in the swing by using their hands too actively. This will open the club face up relative to the target line, and you will struggle to recover from that point. Keep your hands out of the action early in the swing and do your best to make a simple takeaway with nothing more than a shoulder turn. Practice this move on the range and you will see just how easy it can be to hit your mark during the backswing.
  • A free release. Once your backswing turns into a downswing, you are going to want to fire the club through the hitting area without any reservations. This is another point where the average golfer gets into some trouble. When a golfer lacks confidence – as is the case for many amateurs – he or she will often hold something back while moving the club through the hitting area. This is known as 'guiding' the ball toward the target. Unsure of whether or not your swing is on track, you might slow things down with the hopes of steering the shot toward the hole. Needless to say, this is a mistake. The club won't rotate properly when you make this move, and you'll probably miss the shot to the right. To get over this problem, you simply have to believe in yourself. Let the club rip through the ball freely, and expect to see a good shot when you look up. Not all of your shots will be perfect, but believing in yourself is the best way to reach positive outcomes. As a result of this free release, the club head will easily reach the toe up position by the time the club is parallel to the ground on the way through.
  • Plenty of body rotation. Without body rotation, you will never get the club into this important to up position. The golf swing is a rotational action – or, at least, it should be. Many players try to slide from side to side as they swing, but that is always going to be a mistake. Instead, you should be rotating your body around your center of gravity. There will wind up being a little bit of lateral movement toward the target in the downswing, but that motion should be a result of your great turn. While your body is turning, you can bet that the club head will be doing the same. In the end, the club head will hit its marks and your shots will be on track.

You don't have to do anything particularly tricky in order to put the club head in the spots during the swing. Make a fundamentally-sound swing both back and through and you'll be in great shape.

Troubleshooting Tips

Troubleshooting Tips

As you work on your ability to rotate the club around your body, you may run into a few problems. To help you get past those problems as quickly as possible, we have provided a few troubleshooting tips below.

  • Check your takeaway to fix a hook. If you are struggling with a persistent hook, it is likely that you are keeping the club face closed during the backswing. When that happens, the club is likely to stay closed throughout the rest of the swing – meaning it will be closed at impact, and the ball will turn left in a hurry. Even if you try to hold the face open at impact, you will always be struggling to keep that hook from popping up at the worst possible time. By rotating away from the ball properly, and getting into the toe up position on the way back, you can quickly take away this hook tendency.
  • Watch your follow through when missing right. If the ball is missing right instead of left, it may be your follow through that is to blame. A shot pattern that remains out to the right of the target is commonly a sign of a poor release through the hitting area. If you aren't getting into the toe up position on the way through, the blade may be open as the ball leaves. By improving your release, your ball flight pattern should come back closer to your intended target.
  • Topping the ball. This is a mistake which is more common than you might believe. Many amateurs struggle with topped shots, and that is often because they come up out of their stance on the way back. While trying to rotate away from the target, these players lift the left shoulder up away from the ground. Doing so changes the entire balance of your swing, and a topped shot is the most likely result when you return to impact. Instead of lifting your left shoulder up to turn, you should actually be making the opposite move. You should be moving your left shoulder down toward the ground, so it can pass under your chin and keep rotating into a full backswing. If you can make this simple adjustment – going down instead of up – everything should fall into place nicely.

It is important that you don't give up on your swing just because there are some struggles on the range. That is what the driving range is for – work out those issues in practice when you can hit as many balls as you would like. Then, when on the course, you will have a swing you can trust and you'll be able to look forward to improved results.

What About the Short Game?

What About the Short Game?

The short game is always an important topic in golf instruction, despite the fact that it is commonly overlooked. Before we wrap up this article, it is important to touch on how the toe up position relates to what you are doing with your putter and wedges. It is simply impossible to play good golf without a good short game, so never overlook or ignore this aspect of your game.

As far as putting is concerned, there is no correlation to what we have been talking about in this article. When putting, you are going to keep the blade of the putter mostly square to the target line throughout the stroke. Sure, it will open and close a bit as you swing the club, but it will never get anywhere near a toe up position. The putting stroke is a completely separate discussion from your full swing, so don't worry about comparing the two. Your stroke is extremely important, of course, but it does not need to bear any resemblance to your full swing technique.

When talking about your chipping method, however, there are some comparisons to be made. First, it should be said that most chip shots don't require a big enough swing to cause you to reach the toe up position on the way back. With that said, you are still going to rotate the club open on the way back, and you are going to turn it back closed on the way through. That basic rotational action will not change, regardless of how far you are trying to chip the ball. Of course, you should accomplish this goal in the same way as you do in the full swing, by rotating your shoulders to move the club. You don't want to have too much hand action in your chipping swing, just like you want to keep your hands quiet in the full swing.

Many golfers try to chip like they putt, and this is a mistake. You need to have some club rotation in order to hit solid chip shots, so stop trying to keep the club face square throughout the shot. Let the face open and close naturally as you swing the club around you. It will be relatively easy to get back to square at impact, especially since the chip shots you hit do not require nearly as much speed as your full shots.

Placing the club in the toe up position at the right time during your swing can make life on the course quite a bit easier. Will you automatically hit perfect shots when getting into these toe up positions? No – of course not. There are still plenty of things that can go wrong, and you still have plenty of other points to address. However, this is a great place to start making progress on your game. Place the toe up when the club is parallel to the ground and enjoy the benefits of this move. Good luck!