I get a number of calls at the Academy this time of year from players that currently find themselves in a complete state of confusion. My advice to these players is basic and simple. Start at the beginning. The following is a check list that can help you get back on the right track.
Step 1. Check your grip. Put your hands on the golf club and extend the club in front of you. Is the bottom edge of the golf club vertical or is it tilted to the right or the left? If it is tilted, work on your grip until you can make the extension and the club remains vertical. Now at this point I usually hear how a player has done something to his grip to compensate for a directional miss. That is fine, you can always add that feature back in if you need it, but for now let’s see if we can build a swing without it.
Step 2. Without re-gripping the club in any way, set the club down behind the ball and point the face of the club at your target. If from this position your body feels twisted move your feet, not your hands. I repeat, move your feet to balance your posture to the club position. This way you insure proper alignment and ball position. If you twist yourself into alignment, your body will untwist at the start of the motion and ruin your swing.
Step 3. If you have gone through Steps 1 and 2 and feel comfortable over the ball, you can now start your swing. Do you start the same way every time? It is important that you do. For most players there are two ways you can start your swing, either by moving your arms across your chest or by turning your shoulders. Try to use one or the other, moving everything at once does not always work so well.
As we have said many times a consistent golf swing is a choice. In making this choice you have to temporarily live with the results. The good thing is that a consistent set up and start will produce a pretty consistent result. So if the ball is not doing exactly what you want, at least the chances are good the misses will be the same and the solution easier to find. For example if every shot is a slice, you can make adjustments to fix the slice.
As you judge your progress remember this. If you are not hitting the ball solidly in the middle of the face this is normally a balance issue. Focus your attentions there. If you use the system we stated above and you have a directional problem it is a problem with the use of your hands. The ball goes where the face is pointed; so make sure it is pointed in the right direction at impact.