The 3 Ways to Manage Your Face

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Did you know that the club face and where it is aligned at impact determines the balls initial starting direction? In fact, the face is the single biggest influencer in starting direction and also affects the curve of your golf shot. It seems as if controlling the club face is fairly important.

The reality is there are 3 ways to use the club face throughout the golf swing in order to get the ball started at the target with minimal curve. None of these are the only way to do it because history shows us that Tour players have been successful using all three. The key is finding what best works for you as an individual.

Option #1 - Horizontal Hinging. A perfect example of someone who rolled the face open into the toe up position during the backswing was Ray Floyd, who by the way is a Hall of Famer. This is actually referred to as a horizontal hinging motion. The more the face opens going back the more it has to close going through in order to square it up. See Picture #1.

Option #2 - Vertical Hinging. On the total opposite side of the spectrum, we have vertical hinging. This is where the face goes back closed - with the face pointing down to the ground during the takeaway - see picture #2. When the face goes back this closed it better work the opposite direction coming down and through impact. This is opposite of the horizontal hinging motion and is more of a shut to open way of managing the face. Again, the face only has to be square at impact in order to start the ball online. World’s number #1 Dustin Johnson is close to a vertical hinger.

Option #3 - Angled Hinging. Finally, there is angled hinging. This is how the majority of good players manage their club face throughout the swing.  Angled hinging has the face parallel to the spine at position #1 - see picture #3. Most accomplished players manage the face this way with a lot of success. The reason is simply…because there is less hand rotation going on, and in golf less is generally more.

So remember, when someone tells you that the face has to look a certain way…tell them that is hog wash. Look to those in the Hall of Fame. All three hinging motions are represented. You just have to find the one that works best for you.

John Stahlschmidt, PGA is the Director of Instruction at the JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ.  To comment or to schedule a lesson, visit