To hit a golf ball straight, the clubface must be square at impact. It’s as simple as that.
If only golf were that simple. The real issue lies in what must be done to square the clubface. Once you learn how to square the clubface, the key is consistency.
If you are ready to learn what it takes to square a clubface and finally start striking the ball the way you should, you are in the right spot. Sometimes, it takes understanding the concept and the right drills to get you there.
If you don’t have time to read my complete guide on how to square a clubface, here are the things you can take away for now until you have time to read the in-depth guide.
- Wrist angle, especially flexion and extension, will open and close the clubface in the golf swing.
- If your wrist angle at setup or the top of the backswing is incorrect, it’s tough to square the clubface at impact.
- The most common issues for golfers at impact are an open clubface and too much wrist extension at impact.
- The quickest way to learn how to control the clubface is to wear the HackMotion during your practice sessions.
- When you can control the amount of extension you have in your lead wrist through impact, you can also increase the power at which you swing through the golf ball
- How to Square the Clubface at Impact
- Clubface Positions to Know
- How to Control the Clubface at Impact
- How to Square Clubface Consistently (Practical Solutions)
- Best Way to Square Clubface at Impact
- Final Thoughts
How to Square the Clubface at Impact
To square a clubface at impact, your wrist angle must have the perfect combination of flexion and extension.
To deliver the clubface into the impact position in a square position, your wrist cannot have too much extension or cupping as it will open the face. In addition, too much bowing or arching of the wrist will close the club face.
Clubface Positions to Know
Before you start getting a square clubface, you must understand the three different clubface positions.
- Open Clubface: an open clubface is open to the target line or pointing right of your target for a right-handed player; open clubfaces can cause a slice.
- Square Clubface: at impact, a square clubface is square to the target line; hitting a shot with a square clubface should result in a golf ball that flies straight.
- Closed Clubface: a closed clubface is turned left of square, pointing left of your target and typically causing shots that turn left; a closed club face can cause a hook.
Problems with an Open Clubface in the Golf Swing
The open clubface is one of the most common swing flaws in golf. When the clubface is open, a long list of swing faults can come up as a result. Some of these include:
- Swinging to the left (out-to-in path) and thus slicing the ball.
- Keeping weight on the back foot and losing power.
- Trying to square the clubface at the last moment with a weak flip.
Problems with a Closed Clubface in the Golf Swing
The closed clubface is not as common as an open clubface, but it can happen. The closed clubface is created by having too much flexion in the wrists as the golf club reaches the ball.
Slight flexion is a good thing, but if it is exaggerated, you may notice the ball going further and further left of the target. Some of the reasons the golf club is closed can include:
- Swinging to far the right (in to out) and thus hooking the ball.
- Having too strong of a grip at setup and too much forward shaft lean.
- Getting to a flat or slightly flexed position at the top of the backswing and then not squaring it up through impact.
How to Control the Clubface at Impact
Depending on the type of golfer you are and even the club you are swinging, the way to control the clubface angle will vary.
A few things we know for sure are that the grip, the wrist angle, a forward shaft lean, and the proper rotation will all impact your ability to control the clubface.
The Role of Grip
The grip you play with should be neutral. Some golfers will strengthen their grip to get rid of a slice or even weaken it a little if they are hooking the ball.
It’s common to see golfers put the club more into the fingers of their hand at setup to make it easier to keep the left wrist flat. However, this motion can cause other issues in the swing.
The best way to play is to have a neutral grip. Ensure your left hand (for right-handed players) is not rotated too far to the left or the right.
Although it is easier to see the position of the right hand in the grip, the left hand is what determines where your right hand lines up.
This neutral position also allows your wrists to be set up correctly right from the start.
Wrist Angles in Swing
You need to understand how the club’s face is opened and closed.
The open club face is caused by too much lead wrist extension (cupping). Wrist extending (cupping/bending) and flexing (bowing/arching) are the motions that open and close the club face.
The extension opens the club face; flexion closes the club face.
The more control over flexion/extension you have, the better you will control the club face and shot direction.
Now look at the comparison of 2 swing positions:
- IMAGE 1: The clubface is too open. It is pointing up in the sky – a result of the lead wrist being too extended (cupped).
- IMAGE 2: The clubface is square during the downswing. It is pointing in the ball’s direction – resulting in the lead wrist being flatter or even slightly flexed (bowed).
If you have a lot of wrist extension, it is impossible to consistently remove it right before impact.
Two images of the same golfer side-by-side.
- The left side shows incorrect wrist position and open club face indicated with a red ‘X,’ where the golfer has extended wrists shown by arrows pointing up.
- The right side shows the correct wrist position and square club face indicated with a green check, where the wrists are flexed shown, with arrows pointing slightly down.
Forward Shaft Lean at Impact
You must ensure forward shaft lean when your golf club reaches the impact position. If the shaft is square or even behind the club head, it could change the clubface angle. Some golfers will exaggerate this forward shaft lean at setup, which is unnecessary.
A slight lean at setup, combined with a proper weight transfer throughout the swing, is what leads to this square face when the club gets to impact. Take some slow-motion videos of your golf swing and see if the shaft has a forward lean or if it is hanging back.
You can also look at your HackMotion practice session data and see if you were flipping your wrists as you came into the impact position, causing you to lose forward shaft lean.
Proper Rotation on the Downswing (For Your Body)
Although you can start with a clubface square at setup, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can just keep it square throughout your entire swing.
Club faces rotate open and then back to square so that you can strike the golf ball. The key word here is rotation. Having your neutral grip and the proper wrist angles and rotation will help you rotate and release the club.
Kerrod Gray demonstrated with that HackMotion helps players understand the correct amount of body rotation for their swing. For players who get a golf club to a flatter position at the top of the swing, it requires a lot of body rotation to then fire through the ball.
Players with a little more extension at the top of the swing may need to quiet the body and give the hands time to work. Take a look at this video to learn that there is no perfect way to square the clubface.
How to Square Clubface Consistently (Practical Solutions)
Now that you understand the causes of the improper clubface angle and the havoc it can bring to your golf game let’s look at how you can start square the clubface consistently.
Make Sure You are Setting up Correctly
I’ve never understood why amateur golfers were so likely to rush the setup and move to the swing. I get it; hitting golf balls is fun, but you waste a swing when you don’t set up the right way.
Take time to make sure you are at least starting with a square clubface. In addition, look at the ball position.
Interestingly, if your ball is too far back in your stance, you may think you are striking with an open clubface when you are just hitting the ball too soon. The same can happen when the ball is too far forward, and your clubface has rotated towards closed before you even strike the ball.
Perfect the Takeaway
Many times, the mistake that an amateur player makes is at the start of the golf swing.
If you take the club back and you start to rotate it open or closed, you will be playing catch up for the rest of your swing.
The takeaway is a crucial part of the golf swing for many reasons, but it is essential when working on clubface control. As you can see, by the time the club is to waist high, the clubface angle can already be incredibly open or closed.
Practice taking a low and slow takeaway, ensuring the clubface is rotating, and turning just enough to stay square when you make contact again.
The takeaway will remain the same for all of your irons. So, if you get frustrated having to learn new concepts with each club, rest assured that this one will be worth your time. In this video from Tom Saguto, you can see how he works on feeling like the lead wrist stays flat throughout the entire swing. This means on his takeaway, he is just focusing on this flatter feel and ensuring the club stays on path throughout.
Learn to Release the Golf Club
The release is a difficult concept to understand.
I recently worked with some players who had a hard time understanding what it feels like to release a golf club. Interestingly what the release feels like to me is different from what it might feel like to you.
One of the most helpful tips for golfers who are looking to release a club is to feel as though your right forearm (for right-handed players) is going to cross over your left forearm just after impact.
Most players try to shut the clubface down with their left hand instead of using their arms to rotate properly through the impact position.
You can generate much more power and consistency by properly rotating your forearms through impact. The timing on this takes a little while, and some slow-motion swings hitting a 7 iron from a tee will help you start to feel how this happens.
Releasing the golf club is not rolling the hands over; it is maintaining proper wrist angle through impact and then allowing your body to rotate. Some cross-training can’t hurt when it comes to releasing, either. If you play tennis, you will feel that releasing on the forehand shot helps a tennis ball fly straight and fast.
Best Way to Square Clubface at Impact
There is only one way to square a clubface at impact, and that is by having the correct wrist angles. Using HackMotion wrist sensors, we have measured more than 1,000,000 golf swings of professional and amateur players.
The top players with the best swings all have these things in common:
- Very little increase in extension from setup to the top of the backswing.
- A decrease in lead wrist extension from the top of the backswing to impact.
- Less extension at impact than there was at setup (an impact position with a slightly flexed lead wrist).
From the top down, the better players work on squaring the clubface early. This gives them time to accelerate through impact and hit a golf ball with a square clubface and more club head speed.
Learn Some Punch Shots
Punch shots require a ¾ swing and a descending blow with a square clubface.
If you can learn to hit a punch shot with the clubface square, chances are you can also hit your full swing shots like this. Punch shots are good to practice with something like a 7-iron.
Ensure that you are getting that slight forward shaft lean at impact and that your arms and wrists are rotating as they should be through the impact position.
With punch shots, pick a target straight in front of you and focus on hitting this target over and over.
Open Hand Drill
Jason Sutton has a great one handed golf drill that helps you get more of an idea of how your wrists should be working to square the clubface.
The open hand drill requires you to grip the club with your lead hand in its normal position. Next, place the trail hand on the club only so that it is resting there. Essentially, put your hand in the proper position and then open it.
Then, take some smaller back-and-forth swings and notice how you are squaring the clubface. This drill allows you to see and feel the clubface square up.
For more helpful drills on how to square the clubface and improve your swing, check out more of the Jason Sutton golf drill videos.
Tee it Up a Little
When trying to hit a golf shot straight and learn to control the clubface, it’s essential to tee the ball up.
Teeing the ball up, even with an iron, allows you to focus on the motion you are making and not so much on the line and how the ball reacts.
In fact, when I work with any golfer who needs to practice squaring the clubface, we start by hitting some 6 or 7 irons off of a short tee. Once this motion is down, it’s much easier to hit shots off the turf.
Of course, you eventually need to switch to hitting shots from the grass, but in the beginning, it’s fine to give yourself a break and put the ball on a short tee.
Clay Ballard demonstrates how he uses a therapy band to feel the proper movements through the impact that will help with a consistently square impact.
As you watch this video, notice how his left wrist position is flat and sometimes flexed as he comes through impact. This connectivity drill helps determine how much body turn and rotation are needed through impact.
When you can get the wrist in the correct position and then follow that up with proper body rotation, the result will be a square clubface.
Using Instant Data and Feedback with HackMotion
To learn how to consistently square the clubface, you need 2 things:
The first is to understand the current position of your lead wrist, and the second is to know when you are in the right position.
Data and feedback are the best way to practice the proper wrist position, and the only way to get both of these things simultaneously is to use HackMotion.
Although other drills can help you learn how to control the clubface, working with HackMotion is the only way to ensure you make the correct movements at the correct time. HackMotion can quickly narrow down the best way to get this done for those learning to fix a hook or a slice.
In addition, with the way you can manage and organize data with HackMotion it becomes easier to track your progress.
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about how to square the clubface at impact.
How do you square the clubface early in the downswing?
One of the (many) things that professionals do better than amateurs is they square the clubface early on in their downswing. The best way to do this is to avoid extension or cupping in the lead wrist.
When you avoid this, your wrist will be in the right position to swing through the ball without having to make adjustments right before impact.
Which hand controls the clubface?
The left hand controls the clubface for a right-handed player, and the opposite would be true for a left handed player. The left hand is considered the lead hand in a right handed golf swing.
Why is my clubface wide open at impact?
Chances are you opened the clubface on your takeaway, and you never rotated it back to square again during the swing.
In addition, you likely have too much extension or cupping in your wrist angle, and this causes the clubface to be too far open.
Is clubface control difficult to learn?
Clubface control becomes difficult for many golfers because of a lack of feedback and data needed to correct it.
With HackMotion, it becomes incredibly easy to know exactly where in your swing the issues are coming from and how to adapt and make a fix quickly.
The great thing about learning how to control and square the clubface in golf is that it can truly make you a better player.
Everywhere from the putting green to the tee requires this square clubface so it makes complete sense for this to be something you invest your time into. HackMotion simply makes it easier to improve faster.
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