Starting the backswing properly

Al McCormick

Q: I started golf at 50, so I'm way behind my peers. I'm now 70 and with many lessons, a 10 handicap. I can't seem to be able to stop starting my swing at the top with my arms coming over the top outside in. I either pull or slice when I do this. HELP! Thanks.

A: Al, The first thing a good teacher will do if you are a slicer is to look closely at your grip, quite possibly the number one cause of producing an open clubface and a slice. When a player slices his means of protection from hitting the ball off the course to the right is to swing to the left... coming "over the top" by throwing his right side too early and cutting across the ball to give it the slice spinning action. If it was a weak grip in the left hand and your professional corrects it then you will start hitting the ball to the left, because of your former faulty swing path. Now you must learn to trust that you can swing from the inside without the ball going to your right.

Another consideration is that if you have a good grip currently you could be taking the club back too far on the inside during the backswing which encourages you to loop at the top of the backswing and come over the top of the correct swing plane going forward, outside to in. The way to change this is to practice taking the club outside on the backswing so that it will want to self-correct and drop to the inside on the forward swing.