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It's the Club Face Stupid!

7/27/2013 9:01:57 AM

By Jim McLean - I hear amateur teachers grinding on Swing Path...THESE TEACHERS ARE WRONG!!!! 


http://www.golfdigest.com/images/instruction/2009-03/inar01_mclean.jpgI hear novice golfers and amateur teachers grinding on Swing Path as if swinging "inside out" will give them the strong draw they desire.  THESE TEACHERS ARE...WRONG!!!!

Anybody can change their swing path in 5 minutes.  Any teacher in the world can get this done. But golfers don't do it when they get on the course.  Why? Because controlling club face is an entirely different animal.

Do you know why golfers don't change club path on the course? It is because they don't understand and cannot control the club face. When you have a club face that is open, the golfer will always correct this by swinging over the top, or left.  Simple.

The open club face comes from numerous faults such as a weak grip, too much tension in the hands, rolling the face open in the backswing, cupping the left wrist, etc. This results in starting down with the shoulders and the infamous "outside in swing". A face that is open to the swing path will always slice the ball. That's swing theory 101.  An inside out swing with a club face that is just slightly more open than the path will hit the ball right every time (For a right hander). So if the golfer has any brain matter at all, he will aim left, put the ball more forward in his stance, and swing left so as to keep the ball on the golf course.

Of course he will slice forever with this concept.

The first thing he must understand is club face alignment. The face has to be closed to whatever path he swings on in order to draw or hook the ball. Controlling the club face is a high level achievement. Only the better golfer will get this done most of the time. The stroke pattern you employ depends largely on your ability to square the club face.  A square club face that is square to your target, plus with a slight inside plane line, will produce a draw (assuming center contact)...a big assumption, by the way!

The inside plane line can be described as an inside attack track or simply an inside path.
THE FACE DRAWS THE BALL NOT THE PATH
Wake up and smell the coffee.

Once you learn club face control it is much easier to adjust to the inside attack track plane. The golfer must educate his hands to first control the club face and club head. Two separate items.

Face first!!

JM

Next up: What controls the club face
Read: THE EIGHT STEP SWING...(you can get it in my golf shop)





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  Comments

  8/4/2013 1:00:53 PM
PlayersCoachUSA 


Agreed 
There is nothing in this blog article by Jim to warrant all the bashing. If any of you had common sense, you would see that he did not say anything that goes against Trackman data. The only part that I disagree with is that "club face control" or Trackman "path pushers" neither are wrong. In fact, both are correct. You can't hit a push cut or a pull fade without the correct club face impact direction and correct swing path in relation to the club face impact direction. Both are equally important.....that is a fact.

PGA TOTY: If Jim is so extinct as you say, why does he keep producing some of the best junior players in the world to reach the PGA & LPGA....over any other top 10 coach in the world? Just take a look at the most recent Boys' & Girls' USGA junior championship. He and his team of professional coaches had more players in the field than anyone.....and they all played very well.

Mar: Read it again. He is not saying that Trackman uses are wrong.....after all, Mr. McLean and his team all use Trackman when needed. All he is saying is that without club face control, it does not matter what your swing path is. He is essentially stating what he believes......that you must have club face control prior to having swing path control. I agree.....after all, it does not matter what the path is if the club face is incorrect based on the type of shot you are trying to hit.

Teacher of the Wrong: Where does Mr. McLean say something wrong here? he does understand that a square club face at impact, with a slightly inside to outside swing path right of the club face direction produces a draw. He does not say that it will end up in the middle of the green. He is simply stating that as a fact. The truth is that maybe, just maybe....he may not believe in curvature? Did you ever think of that? Maybe he believes that the club face and swing path should match up straight at impact.......so that straight shots are hit.
  8/4/2013 12:58:07 PM
PlayersCoachUSA 


Agreed 
There is nothing in this blog article by Jim to warrant all the bashing. If any of you had common sense, you would see that he did not say anything that goes against Trackman data. The only part that I disagree with is that "club face control" or Trackman "path pushers" neither are wrong. In fact, both are correct. You can't hit a push cut or a pull fade without the correct club face impact direction and correct swing path in relation to the club face impact direction. Both are equally important.....that is a fact.

PGA TOTY: If Jim is so extinct as you say, why does he keep producing some of the best junior players in the world to reach the PGA & LPGA....over any other top 10 coach in the world? Just take a look at the most recent Boys' & Girls' USGA junior championship. He and his team of professional coaches had more players in the field than anyone.....and they all played very well.

Mar: Read it again. He is not saying that Trackman uses are wrong.....after all, Mr. McLean and his team all use Trackman when needed. All he is saying is that without club face control, it does not matter what your swing path is. He is essentially stating what he believes......that you must have club face control prior to having swing path control. I agree.....after all, it does not matter what the path is if the club face is incorrect based on the type of shot you are trying to hit.

Teacher of the Wrong: Where does Mr. McLean say something wrong here? he does understand that a square club face at impact, with a slightly inside to outside swing path right of the club face direction produces a draw. He does not say that it will end up in the middle of the green. He is simply stating that as a fact. The truth is that maybe, just maybe....he may not believe in curvature? Did you ever think of that? Maybe he believes that the club face and swing path should match up straight at impact.......so that straight shots are hit. I don't di
  7/30/2013 6:34:18 AM
Paul 


Clubface v Clubpath 
A thought provoking article from Mr McLean. Who could argue with the relative importance of controlling the clubface over swing path. This is self-evident given that the clubface angle is much more sensitive to change than the clubpath. The clubface angle has the most influence on the horizontal direction of the shot, by a factor of approx 4:1 compared to the clubpath. It also has the most influence on the shape of a curve by the same factor.

The notion that the clubface starts the shot and the clubpath curves it, is, I'm afraid, a myth perpetrated by many teachers. As Jeff alluded to, it is the angular divergence btw clubpath and clubface which produces the curve.

Clubpath and swing path are terms often used interchangeably which is unfortunate as they are two different entities. The swing path, also commonly known as horizontal swing direction, describes the horizontal direction of the clubhead at the bottom of the swing arc, whilst the clubpath is the horizontal direction of clubhead at impact. The swing path controls the clubpath.
  7/29/2013 7:51:28 PM
PGA TOTY 


Really? 
I was about to write a long rebuttal explaining why the author should do more research before spouting off with incorrect and downright insulting (to his fellow PGA Teaching Professionals) claims, but then I realized it was written by Jim McLean... then I laughed... Dinosaurs always spout off before they go extinct, very sad :-(
  7/29/2013 7:46:30 PM
Carlos Danger 


Some kind of golf pro 
Jim. Really. I think your coffee needs a little wake up. Stop holding on to the past failed methods. Come clean, man up and recognize that path creates spin while face creates initial direction. If your still holding on to the false methods and facts you might want to teach tennis and try and revive that sport.
  7/29/2013 4:13:19 PM
brad 


what? 
is this a joke?
  7/28/2013 10:37:15 PM
Jeff 


New Comment 
Yes Mark those people saying path dictates curve are WRONG! Path in relation to clubface dictates curve. If the path and the face are aligned then there will be no curve! So the difference between where the path is going at impact and where the clubface is pointing at impact is what creates curve! Maybe a better way to say it is that those people are either misinterpreting or even more so, miscommunicating it!
  7/28/2013 9:48:16 PM
mark 


Ball Flight 
Mr McLean, There is a growing number of people using launch monitors and more specifically trackman monitors these days that will insist that you are wrong. They will tell you they can demonstrate conclusively on the Trackman that the face angle will dictate the balls starting line, and path dictates the balls curve. You are flat out saying these people are wrong and I am wondering on what basis you are doing so. You don't address the trackman data issue in the piece so I am wondering if you would do so as a follow up. Thanks in advance.

Mark in Cleveland Oh.
  7/28/2013 8:42:14 PM
Fernando Sas.Arelauquen Head Pro. 


Obvious and always forgotten. 
How important is to educatr the hands!!!
  7/28/2013 8:35:31 PM
Teacher of the Wrong 


Hmmm... 
Jim - I'm sure you're aware, but a square face (to the target that is) coupled with an inside-to-outside club path (not sure what an inside plane line or an inside attack track plane is) will produce a draw that finishes LEFT of the target every time. I suspect your students might not want that miss either.
If you are going to claim others are wrong please be certain to get it right yourself!
BTW - How many faders of the golf ball have you taught that have an inside-to-outside club path? Not many I'm sure. I do know, however, that we have both taught many faders that with either an open, square and closed club face (relative to the target) at impact. Makes you think no...?

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