3 Ways to Hit a Straight Shot

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Many in the game of golf believe there is only one way to hit a straight shot. This is far from true. 

When club path & impact location vary, a multitude of resulting ball flight options present themselves. Let’s discuss the 3 combinations which help produce a straight ball. 

*Face is measured where the ball is contacted. Not in the center. Toe=Open. Heel=Closed.

A). Method 1. Path 0. Face 0. Center Contact. This would obviously be the preferred method and leaves little guess work surrounding where the golf ball will finish. This will produce the shot traveling the furthest distance.

B). Method 2. Path right/in to out. Face closed. Heel impact. Remember, the face is only closed because the ball is being contacted on the heel. The center of the face on this particular shot is assumed to be square to the target line. Out of the 3 methods, this will produce the ball traveling the least distance. All things equal.

C). Method 3. Path left/out to in. Face open. Toe impact. The face is open only because the ball is being contacted on the toe. The center of the face is assumed to be square to the target. Out of the 3 methods, this will produce the ball traveling the second farthest of the three. All things being equal. 

A word on the big miss with off center hits. If you take a look at method 2 and 3 and reversed the contact point, thus as a result reversing the face angle (face angle changes as you move the contact point from toe to heel) but kept path the same, it would produce the big misses.  Path left and heel impact produces (assuming center of face is 0) a slice, while path right and toe impact produces the big hook. The miss left I see with a lot of tour player’s is a path slightly right with a slight toe impact. This miss will often be diagnosed by the commentators and even sometimes by the player as a double cross. However, when looking closely at the contact point you see a slight toe impact. Based on the ball flight being a hook finishing left of target, it’s fair to theorize the path of the golf club is right. The biggest determinant in the variations of ball flight for any one tour player, on any given day, is not path or face but contact point on the clubface. 

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher the past 14 years, just voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State for the fifth year in a row. Sackett is Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. Scott can be reached by email at scott@scottsackett.com.