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Can a golfer control the club face after impact?

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Most networks that cover major golf tournaments have a high-speed camera that shows slow-motion replays of golfer’s swings — mainly impact — during the broadcast. It shows the clubface opening and closing after impact. At the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club last weekend, Johnny Miller insisted on NBC that the player is responsible for the closing and opening of the clubface through impact. This is simply not right.

The opening and closing is caused by the impact point on the face. A hit near the the toe opens the face and a hit near the heel closes it. I’m not sure why or how they feel the player is responsible.  This just cant be done.  The “no twist” point on the face has to be struck for the face to uh, not twist.  One way or the other. It matters not how strong the player is, you cannot hold the face square if there is an off center contact. Science tells us so.

This is a good lesson for everybody. When the ball is hit near the toe (for a right-handed golfer) the face opens but horizontal gear effect spins it back to the left.  A lot of  right to left hooks are hit this way.  When the ball is hit near the heel the face closes but gear effect spins it right.  A lot of left to right slices are hit this way. It is very difficult to draw it off the heel or fade it off the toe.  If you remember my last article, I discussed the idea of “Raising your golf IQ.”  This is precisely the type of information I was referring to.

We know that in order to draw the ball we need a path inside where the face is pointed at impact; and just the opposite for a fade. But here’s the catch.  When the path is coming from the inside out, it is easier to hit near the heel.  And when the path is ouside in it is easier to hit near the toe. Both of these impact points are the exact opposite of what we need for the that desried shot.  Tough game this golf!

A great idea is to spray a little Dr. Scholl’s foot spray on your club face. You will find out quite quickly where you are striking it on the face.  And you’ll find out why you may not be getting the shape of shot you want even if your face/path relationship is the desired one.

As always, feel free to send a swing video to my Facebook page and I will do my best to give you my feedback.

Click here for more discussion in the forums.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. jesse

    Dec 20, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Gees Guys! Lets see if we can figure this out, without too much grief. Lighten up.
    The ball is on the clubhead a very short period of time. It is all about “angles” The angle that the shaft brings the clubhead into the ball is key. However, if the clubhead is at the wrong angle to your target line (assuming the shaft angle is correct) the ball trajectory and sping dictates the direction. Simple as that sounds, anyone can figure it out with a ping pong paddle.

  2. tlmck

    Oct 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I can hit a heel hook and a toe slice just fine thank you.

  3. Ian

    Oct 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Have you listened to Johnny Miller?
    He’s wrong about 90% of the time. Dennis and
    Track man have got it right

  4. ChuckF.

    Oct 2, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Jacob, Pebo, and S Safran,
    Read the article first, then try to give your opinion. The article is clearly about off center hits and all youre wanting to do it try to prove Dennis wrong. You weren’t asked to write an article, Dennis was.

  5. Pebo

    Oct 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    1/10,000 or a second.

  6. dennis

    Sep 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    We are not assuming center contact; read the article. Upon centerdness of impact what you are trying to do CAN be done. The article states that upon NON CENTER impact what the player is trying to do is interrupted by the collision. It’s simple really.

  7. SSafran

    Sep 30, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Assuming center contact some players close the face much earlier after impact (like VJ Singh and Luke Donald) while others hold the club parallel to the target line longer (like Jim Furyk) and Hunter Mayhan).

    The guys who release right after impact must have more precise timing to be successful compared to guys who hold it square to the target line longer. I’ll take Johnny Miller all day long over Dennis Clark when it comes to understanding the golf swing.

    Sell the Trackmans. They’re confusing you. I’d pay 10X as much to have Johnny Miller look at my swing and give me advice than to have anybody else put me on a Trackman and tell me what I’m doing.

  8. JaxBeachNole

    Sep 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

    great stuff. I always feel like I am too hard on Miller, but that comment offends me as a golfer. Thanks DC.

  9. Pebo

    Sep 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    NO. Get on a trackman and learn the science.

    • dennis clark

      Sep 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      I own TWO Trackmans and teach on them every day.

  10. DCGolf

    Sep 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    The release point/type will not affect the twisting of the club on off center impact. Millers analysis claims the twisting of the club IMMEDIATELY after impact is caused by the player

  11. Jacob

    Sep 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Seriously? Do you not see the impact different release styles have on whether or not the face closes post impact? If the arms are driven straight and the wrists roll over, that will look a lot different immediately post impact than someone using more of a CP release.

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