Missing Golf Shots Left - How To Cure It and Hit It Straight

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Published: February 18, 2014

missing golf shots left

When golfers begin learning the rotary swing, the most common miss is one that starts left and tends to go further left.

If you have performed all the other fundamentals correctly, then this is almost always caused by the arms releasing too early in the downswing. There are two causes of this, either the body has stopped rotating or the arms were overly active. Let’s talk about what happens when the body stops rotating first.

In the Rotary Golf Swing, the spine is acting like an axis for the body and arms to rotate around. Because they arms and club are furthest away from the axis, they, of course, move the fastest.

This, in turn, makes them more difficult to control through impact. In order for the body to maintain control of the club, the lead arm must remain connected to the chest through impact. But when the body stops its rotation, the arms will be flung past due to centrifugal force.

This causes the arms to outrace the body and the club face to close prematurely. It is critical for the body in the one plane swing to always be rotating and it should never stop until the ball is long gone. This allows the body to remain in control of the club longer and avoid the arms whipping out too early.

However, it is important to note that the arms WILL release away from the body shortly after impact. It is critical to ALLOW the arms to release for maximum speed and power. This will happen in perfect time naturally if the arms remain passive.

The other common cause for misses to the left is when the arms try and dominate the swing. This fault often goes hand and hand with the first one, but not always.

If a golfer has good rotation to the left, but then activates his arms too early by trying to apply clubhead speed with the arms, the arms will often be thrown over the top of the swing plane causing the ball to be pulled to the left.

It is critical for the arms to stay more passive in the early stages of the downswing so that the slower moving body can be in control of the golf club. The arms will release naturally at the right time in the swing with no conscious effort on the golfers part if they stay more passive.

Notice in the photo above that Chuck Quinton has rotated his body aggressively through the shot and is "swinging left" but the ball has come out perfectly straight and on line with the target. This is the ideal feeling of the Rotary Swing.


Checkpoints for Practice

  • Swinging down hard with the arms causes them to release, shutting the club face & causing a miss to the left
  • To correct the problem, work on keeping the arms passive through impact
  • The shoulders rotate through, while the arms lag behind the body - when done correctly, it should feel effortless

Video Transcription: Missing Shots Left

One of the most common misses in golfers learning the one plane swing is pulls or misses to the left. This is a very, very common cause. I see it all the time, every day that I teach. It's a very, very simple thing to fix, but you just have to understand what's causing this.

When you swing to the back of the one plane swing, when everything's on plane as you look down the line here, if you start to go hard with the arms - if you start to swing down with the arms rather than letting the arms stay passive and letting the body drive the arms through the shot - your arms will start to release out over the plane and the club head will get thrown too far outside.

Miss to the leftSwinging down hard with the arms causes a miss to the left

The arms will start to release, the club head will rotate shut, and you'll miss and pull everything to the left.

The trick of this is, all you need to do is when you get to the top of the swing, is keep these arms passive through impact and get these shoulders rotating through, but let the arms lag behind the body rather than releasing hard with the arms.

If I show you what the release looks like with the bad shot, you'll see from the top of the swing that I'll go very hard with my arms. I'll demonstrate that, and I'll miss the shot to the left.

That shot, I missed about 20 yards left. All I did there from the top was I swung very hard with my arms, and tried to generate power with my arms.

Proper Rotary SwingThe arms stay passive in a proper Rotary Swing

The proper golf swing, in a one plane swing, the proper motion of the arms is simply for them to stay passive and relaxed. They don't require any effort. This golf swing should feel very, very effortless when you use your body correctly.

All I want to do, to do this properly, is simply let my arms stay a little bit more passive through impact - or throughout the swing - and let the body release through impact. That should look like this.

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