What causes a golfer to 'block' their drive? What's a good drill to help correct this issue?
Why you block your drives out of bounds and how to stop doing it!
There’s not much more disheartening in golf than knowing the ball is going OB directly off the club face. The blocked shot can cause so many problems, but isn’t a relatively difficult shot to cure. Check my YouTube video out to find out WHY and HOW to stop blocking your shots.
Fixing the Block!
All golfers face hitting a block or push to right of target (right hand player) from time to time. The most common mistake is the club approaching the ball too far from the inside or under the plane.
This can be caused by clearing the hips too quickly or hanging back on the trail foot too long. The push can also become a quick hook if the hands “flip” the clubface closed prior to impact. The correction on the downswing is to make sure the right elbow is in front of the right hip joint when arms reach waist high. This allows the club to swing around the arc past impact in sync with body resulting in squaring the clubface. Rehearse downswing sequence to check position right elbow… also try hitting shots with right arm only holding the upper arm on chest with left hand.
The second most common cause of the block is losing posture through impact and raising the handle of the club preventing the hands from releasing and squaring the clubface at impact. Very similar to a “check swing” in baseball. To fix this, practice your pivot with head against door jamb to maintain posture in swing.
Another exercise that works well for either mistake is to start from a 3/4 backswing position, then swing the club slightly “outside in” or “low and left” after impact. Sometimes just watching the ball until right shoulder turns under chin is enough to keep you in posture through impact.
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Lots of Things Cause a Block
There are a quite a few things that could cause a block. Bottom line is the path is either too much in to out and/or the club face is open. The big question is which one and why.
There’s a huge difference between a block and a slice. Because most players have an outside in path they hold the clubface open to keep the ball from going left (right for a left hander) this causes the ball to start left and slice. Don’t confuse this as being a block.
A block typically comes from a player who is under the plane, the club coming from way too much inside. This player typically fights a hook, after hitting a lot of hooks they hold onto the release too long and with an inside path and now an open club face they get the block.
This inside path can be caused by a lot of things so for me to provide one drill or check point is tough. I’d lay two alignment sticks down, with the ball between them and have the player focus on trying to swing the club down that “track” and don’t be afraid to release the club face so it squares up.
One last easy thing to check is your eye alignment. Your eye line needs to be parallel to your target line just like your feet, knees, hips and shoulders. If you get your head cocked to the right (right handed golfer) then your eye line will be to the right and typically players swing where they are looking. Put a cap on and set up, then look at the bill of your cap–if the bill is parallel to the target line you’re fine. Or lay a mirror on the ground under your head and look down and see if your eyes are parallel.
A golfer can block their drives in any of the following 4 ways
In my opinion a golfer can block their drives in any of 1 of the following 4 ways or some combination of the following 4 ways.
1. Heel Strike
2. Open Face to Path
3. Right Club Path
4. Hit down on it- (combo with 1-3)
This is too hard to diagnose on your own so go see an instructor with a Trackman. If you are set on trying to fix this on your own do the following.
1. Spray the face with foot spray so you can tell if you are heeling it.
2. Strengthen Grip to help close the face.
3. Swing outside in
4. Stay behind the ball and try to hit up on it.
If you try those four things you might be able to see what was causing the issue in the first place and then focus on that.
Don't be afraid to release the club!
A fear of the duck-hook and a failure to release the club will result in the so-called block shot…Building confidence with your clubs in the range should eliminate this horrible shot…It’s seen on the PGA tour because of the high velocity swings that can produce the horrible duck-hook!
Open up and move that ball forward!
A blocked tee shot is usually a shot that comes from the fear of a hook. Those that have closed club face issues usually have an overly in to out path as well. If the face to path ratio is perfect, a nice draw is the result. All is good! If that ratio is off due to a overly closed face, here comes a quick hook! After a couple of those, here comes the block!
Usually, players who block tee shots tend to play the ball too far back in their stance. Also they tend to align way too closed. I suggest aiming much more open with the ball way more forward to experience a more neutral attack.
Not finishing your swing
Trying to steer the ball can prevent you from finishing the golf swing. If you make sure you have a full balanced finish with your hands behind your head at the finish and can hold your finish for a second or two you will not block nearly as much because your arms and hands will naturally rotate better and square the clubface plus promote a proper swing path.
Blocking your Driver sounds like a Face Control issue
Blocking your Driver sounds like a Face Control issue, so put a Tee in the ground, then put an Empty Water about a foot in front of the Tee. As you make a swing up and over the bottle make sure is closing over it. Then from there start to work on your Swing Direction. Not sure go see your local PGA Golf Pro.
Rotate Not Slide
Sliding the hips forward too early and before impact causes the lower body to get ahead of the upper body resulting in an open clubface at impact. Rotate and clear your hip back toward the heel of your lead foot without sliding them too far forward toward your target. Also remember to rotate your arms and forearms through impact. For right handed players, think of hitting a line drive to left field instead of right field (vice versa for lefties).
Stop Blocking Your Driver
The reason people block their driver is because they don’t release their hands or unhinge the club soon enough. Because the driver is the lightest club in the bag, it is the easiest one to hold on to. Players tend to over rotate their body through the shot and their bodies and never stop to release the club. An obvious example of this is when little kids swing and miss and spin around in circles the club never released. You have to stop your body to let the club unhinge. If you are able to unhinge the club you can rotate your hands which will close the club face which help keep the ball from fading or slicing.
Generally when you block a drive it is a result of a swing path that is going in to out and the clubface is square to that path.
If you want to keep the same in to out path you need to release the toe of the club a little bit so the clubface is more square to the target at impact.
Otherwise get a swing path that is more down the line with a clubface square to that path, which would be at the target.
A blocked shot is one that pushes to the right (for a right handed golfer). This happens when the low body is faster than the upper body on the downswing. The hips clear early and the arms are late, so the club swings too far right and impact is made with an open club face. This can be easily fixed with good tempo. Let the backswing stop at the top and keep the club in front of the body on the way down. The arms, the core muscles and the legs should all feel like they swing together, in sequence. Think tempo and you won’t get stuck!