How to Hit a Golf Ball Straight
Golf professionals will tell you that if they hit a straight shot it has been a mistake. Because a golf swing is essentially one large circle, the clubface must be traveling in a perfectly straight line on an arc to propel a golf ball straight down the fairway. During a swing, the clubface is in that position for scarcely a tiny fraction of a second.
Attempting to replicate that action with a golf club to build a consistent golf game is a hard task indeed. It is far easier to take advantage of that arc in the golf swing. That is why professional golfers curve the golf ball – either to the left or the right – with a shot that they can reliably repeat on the course. Every tour pro has always favored either a draw or a fade – except for one.
The Greatest Ball Striker of All Time
When Maurice Carrier penned a biography of Canadian golf professional Moe Norman, he called the book Always Straight. Norman’s swing was like no other. He stood as far as possible away from the ball and swung the club simply straight back and straight through. The result was a ball flight that went dead straight every time. Ken Venturi, 1964 U.S. Open champion and long-time television announcer, nicknamed Norman “Pipeline Moe.”
Norman, who died in 2004, won 55 tournaments and set 33 course records. Norman seldom brought his game south to the United States and failed to distinguish himself when he did. Feeling more comfortable on a smaller stage, Norman’s exploits seldom traveled outside of his native Canada. Golfers generally concede Norman to be the finest ball striker of all time. The story goes that if he was playing a course for the first time and was told a hole was “a driver and a wedge” he would hit the wedge off the tee and use the driver for his approach shot. Despite the unrivaled accuracy of his ball striking, Norman’s unorthodox single plane golf swing that delivered those straight shots is seldom copied.
What You Can Learn from Moe Norman’s Golf Swing
While golfers remain unwilling to go “Full Moe Norman” with their golf swings to hit dead straight shots, there are some tips players can try from studying his approach:
1) Hands, Not Fingers
The fingers of the hand are fast twitch muscles which many golfers fight from being too active in the golf swing. Instead of holding the club in the fingers, place the club in the palm of the hand before wrapping the fingers around the grip. This should help promote the quiet hands necessary to deliver the clubface square to the ball time after time.
2) Keep Both Feet on the Ground as Long as Possible
This tip is crucial because keeping both feet planted through the swing will help create a flat spot for the club to travel straight through the ball as long as possible.
3) Widen the Stance
The best way to get the feeling of having the club head traveling straight through the golf ball is to take a wide stance. This restricts the body turn and helps keep the clubface from turning over during the swing.
4) Play it Forward
When the goal is to create a long flat spot at the bottom of the swing to increase the chances of a straight shot, the golf ball should be played close to the left heel when addressing the golf ball. This is the typical position for the driver but try it on all the clubs through the bag.
Those Times When All Golfers Want to Hit a Straight Shot
On pitch shots and punch shots where the player is not taking a full swing, the straight shot is the preferred shot. The key to the success of these short shots is alignment. When playing a shot you expect to travel straight, you want to be aimed directly at the target. With over two decades of golf customization experience, Golfballs.com has pioneered a Tour-Proven golf ball alignment aid to take the guesswork out of setting up these critical scoring shots. A permanent line halfway around the golf ball provides the ultimate alignment to the target from the fairway and on the green. Golfballs.com’s exclusive AlignXL™ is available on all major brands and you can also add personalization within the alignment aid. Give it a try on your next dozen and never set up crooked again.