It's hip to be square

KEVIN HAIME

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Average golfers just don't pay enough attention to the position of the club face during their swing.

Golfers are endlessly tinkering with body positions, looking for that secret key that will produce a more consistent and better game.

As much as they experiment with body and arm positions and motions, they tend to ignore the club face and where it's aiming.

To add a little perspective to the importance of club-face squareness, compare hitting a straight shot to trying to drive a car in a straight line. If the car's wheels aren't properly aligned and aimed, it doesn't matter if the rest of the car is finely tuned. It will never drive straight.

Likewise, if the leading edge of your club isn't aiming to your target, it doesn't matter how good the rest of your swing is.

As a teaching pro, I am always looking for a square club face, and not only at address, but throughout the backswing and downswing.

Most golfers get it right at address, although some beginners struggle. You can't be too careful when you place your club behind the ball. Make sure you're aiming the leading edge of your club directly at your target.

But where should the club be facing throughout your swing? Let's take a look at the top of your backswing.

The position where you set the club at the top of your backswing is vital to being able to return the club back to the ball on the right path with a square club face.

I refer to the top of backswing position as a second setup because if the club and the face are "set up" in the proper delivery position, you have a much better chance of hitting a straight shot.

A square club face at the top of your backswing should be parallel to your lead (left for a right-handed player) forearm. If the toe of the club head is pointing toward the ground, the club is open and will encourage a slice. If the club face is facing more toward the sky, the club is closed and will encourage a hook.)

Next time you're practising, check out the top of backswing position in a mirror to see if your club face is square, open or closed.

If you do see a problem, you might need some help from a pro to get your club in the proper position, but at least you'll have some idea why your ball is ending up where it does.

When it comes to hitting straight shots, it's hip to be square!


Photos