Building off the first two tips of the week (first The Grip, then The Plane), I finished last week’s tip by mentioning that if you are an "over the top" person, you should seek professional help. Here you go – class is in session.
As mentioned last week, "over the top" refers to the club head traveling from the top of your swing down over the right shoulder and remaining in front of the body all the way through impact. The divot will be deep, and dug diagonally right to left. Why has this come to be?
1. At some point in your golf career, you swung on plane (most everyone does), but you were not able to square the club at impact so the ball moved left to right.
2. In order to have the ball rest in the center and not go way right, you compensated by starting the ball to the left, and allowing the ball to curve to the right to get near the intended target. This is done by unknowingly throwing the club high over the shoulder and steep down and across the impact zone.
That's okay…it's the natural progression of compensating for a poor swing mechanic. In fact, why don't we just define the act of playing golf as "continually compensating for a swing mechanic, whether good or bad." If it's a good mechanic, you refine it. If it's a bad mechanic, you change it, or at least change something to compensate for it.
So, reverse engineer the process that put you there in the first place. #1 is the grip, because that controls the face angle, which in turn hits the ball (see Tip of the Week #1). You should rotate the left hand grip to show 3 or more knuckles at address of the ball, also moving the right hand under the grip so that the thumb creases are parallel to each other. This may feel unnatural at first, but at impact, it will naturally rotate to the correct position squaring the face of the club, and that is more important.
When you square the face (or shut the face) at impact, your ball will have noticeably less slice spin on the ball, but it is not completely gone or alleviated yet. That is because your swing path is still "out to in,” and cuts across the ball like a ping pong paddle swiped across the table to make you look like fancy pants (just before your nephew skunks you 13-1). When you perfect closing the face (toe gets to the ball faster than the heel of the club), then you create straight pulls. Pulls are good news! Once you continuously hit left, your brain will tell you to swing "inside out" to get the ball back to center, dropping the club on a better swing plane to make that happen. Before you know it, you are on plane with a square club resulting in consistent, crisp, straighter shots.