How do I correct a left-to-right swing?

Ryan Keller (15) of Ohio writes…
I would like to know how to correct a left to right swing off my drives. On all of my drives the ball will swing left to right in the air. Also how could I improve distance on all my shots, like with irons and drivers. I’ve had this problem for a year and throughout the whole school golf season but I’ve been able to adjust to it thought. Thanks a lot!!

Scott Robbins:
Once you get the left to right fixed, you will gain distance because the left to right comes from a glancing blow that you impart on the ball and when you stop hitting with a glancing blow, a more solidly hit shot goes further.
To star trying to correct that, start trying to swing the club to the right on your downswing and follow through. That path will change the way the club comes into the ball. It will come from behind the ball more and not hit the outside of the ball. Concentrate on hitting the back and side of the ball that is closer to you. I call that the inside corner of the ball. When you start hitting it there, you will begin hitting it straighter and farther.
A good drill is to tee up three balls a little more than the length of your clubhead apart. Then try and hit the middle ball only. You will probably hit one or both of the other balls at first. Junior Golf Tips

Can’t hit driver like 3-wood.

Jason Villeneuve (15) of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada writes…
I find that I can’t hit drivers very well! But when I use my 3-wood as a driver it seems I can hit it like most would hit a driver. Is there any plausible explanation why I do this?

Scott Robbins:
Yes!! The three wood has more loft which allows you to keep the ball in the air longer. Secondly, it sounds like the shaft in your 3 wood fits your swing better than the one in your driver. That makes it easier to square the clubhead with your 3 wood so you hit more solid and better shots. Junior Golf Tips

Hitting to the right but not a slice.

Jeremy Seiler of Rock Falls, WI writes…
I have a problem with hitting to the right when I use my driver, and it isn’t a slice. That might sound weird but the ball goes straighter than an arrow. With my short irons I don’t really have this problem. So, my question for you, is, how can I fix the problem that I am having?

Scott Robbins:
You have what we call a “push.” A push is a shot that flies to the right with little to no curve. A push is caused usually by too much of an “inside to out” downswing where the club gets to the ball after your body does.
The best way to try and cure that is twofold. Try and slow your body down coming through and speed up your arms. Secondly, as you are coming through, try and have the back of your left hand brush your left knee (all this assuming you play right handed). This will get your arms and body working together and the club moving more towards target on the follow through.
The problem could also be equipment related. Be sure the shaft in your driver 1) matches what is in your irons and 2) is stiff enough. Too limber a shaft in any club will cause the clubhead to lag behind your hands and produce a push.
Good luck with these suggestions. If this doesn’t work, seek your local PGA professional for suggestions on your swing and equipment. There is never a need to apologize for wanting to improve your golf game or anything in your life. Good Luck! Junior Golf Tips

Cannot keep my balance.

Derek Hicks of Ottawa, Canada writes…
I cannot keep my balance when using my woods on the “T”. I fall back or spin around on the ball. It doesn’t seem to happen with my irons either on the “T” or in the fairway.

Scott Robbins:
Golf is an athletic game and your are correct to be concerned about your balance. It is very important. The golf swing in its simplest form is the combination of weight shift, rotation and the proper sequence of motion. Many times when I see a student having difficulty with their balance, especially with long irons and woods, it is usually a problem of trying to use the arms too much to hit the ball “hard.” This causes you to swing the club out of sequence and usually across your body producing either a pull, pull hook or pull slice and usually contact the ball on the toe of the club.
A good drill to learn the proper sequence, without the ball, is to stand next to a wall with the wall on your left (assuming you are a right handed player). Extend your left arm until your fingertips touch the wall. Put your left arm behind your back and take your right arm and try and touch the wall with your right fingertips without leaning towards the wall. First try by swinging your right arm only (no body movement that would get your body to face the wall) as hard as you can to try and touch the wall. You will probably miss the wall and knock yourself out of balance. After you prove to yourself that swinging your arms out of sequence with your body will knock you off balance and not even reach the wall, then you are ready to properly do this exercise.
With your left arm behind your back. Turn your stomach towards the wall as your right knee touches your left Knee (which has not moved) and your right foot is up on the toe of your shoe and turned towards the wall. At this time you should be able to put the palm of your right hand flush against the wall while you are standing straight and balanced over your left foot. Keep doing this until i becomes second nature. Find some pictures of tour professionals at finish (Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan, Tom Kite, etc. and try and be sure your finish position looks like theirs.)
As you move into winter in Canada, find a Canadian PGA Professional who can suggest some drills to work on in your home to improve your technique Junior Golf Tips

How can I cure slice?

Brad Lynch of Essexville,MI asks…
How can I correct my slice of the driver?

Scott Robbins:
There are many causes to a slice. However the first and foremost is that the clubface is open to the target at impact. So the first place to look is your grip. Are the hands working together or opposing each other? Do the V’s between the forefingers and the thumbs both point to the right shoulder or does the left “v” point at the right shoulder and the right “v” point at your chin? (Either is acceptable for the right hand player.)
Secondly check and see where the ball is starting. If it is starting to the left of target and then slicing badly, then the path into the ball is from outside to in. Correct this by checking your posture and alignment and after those are correct, work on swinging the club away from your body instead of across your body.
A correct path around and away from your body combined with a square clubface at impact will stop that slice. If you can find a PGA Professional close by, have him/her check out your golf swing and listen to and heed the corrective instruction that he/she will give you. The late great Harvey Penick said that once a student started hooking the golf ball, that was when they could really learn to play golf. Junior Golf Tips

How can I achieve more distance off of tee?

Aditya Govindaraj of Madras, India writes…
I have a lack of distance off the tee, despite hitting the ball crisply. How can I achieve more distance off the tee ?

Scott Robbins:
The ball flight laws that deal with distance are centerness of the hit and speed. Since you say you hit the ball crisply, then you need to concentrate on speed. Speed comes from the momentum the club generates in the swing. The farther the clubhead can travel, the more momentum it can generate. The measurement of momentum is called speed. Therefore, you can experiment with different ways to create more momentum.
Equipment wise, experiment with longer drivers and different loft trying to find the right combination of carry and roll to help increase your total length off the tee. Increasing the width and size of your swing arc (the circle the clubhead makes around your body in the swing) is the best way to do this. Once you have made the swing as wide as long as you can, then you can attempt to increase the rate or tempo that your body moves through the hitting area. However, studies have shown that there is not much a golfer can do to increase his/her clubhead speed significantly.
However, yours will. As you grow, your arms and legs will get longer and that will help increase the size of your arc.
Wanting to increase distance, though can come with less accuracy. As you attempt to hit the ball further, you may lose accuracy through mishits on the clubface. Therefore, experiment with hitting the ball further or do as all of us did as we played through our growing years. Play with the distance you hit it now, concentrate on accuracy and your short game because as you grow and your distance naturally increase, your scores will drop quickly. Junior Golf Tips

Trouble with hooking and pulling my five wood.

Justin Miller of Cabin John, Maryland, USA writes…
I’m having trouble with hooking and pulling my five wood it is an oversize head but I don’t think that is the problem. Could you please help me with hitting it straight. (Its a new club titanium) head.

Scott Robbins:
Hooking comes from the clubface being closed (looking left) at impact (if you play right-handed). A pull comes from a path of the club from across your body or from outside to inside your target line. Check how your hands are on the club and how the club looks when it is sitting behind the ball. If either is looking too far left, you will probably hook the shot.
If your path is from the outside your divots will look to the left of your target. Check your alignment and how you are swinging the club into the ball. Not seeing your new club, I do not know if this applies to you.
Many junior players want new and bigger clubs. However, sometimes the club is too big and heavy and the only way they can swing it is lift and chop with their arms. It creates habits that are very hard to break. If the club feels even a little heavy, it is probably way too heavy. Get a PGA Professional to check it out for you if you can. If not, check the weight and how you swing it by using one of your old clubs and see if you see a significant difference in your divots, path and ball flight. Junior Golf Tips

How to get more yards off the tee?

Harrison (13) of Great Falls, SC writes…
I would like to know a few tips on how to get more yards off the tee?

Scott Robbins:
More distance at your age comes from a couple of main sources. First is your physical makeup. Some guys will grow faster than others. And the age you are and for the next couple of years as your body matures you will feel real different on some days and soon, without knowing it you will be gaining yards everywhere in your game.
Until then, to hit the ball farther (and this will hold true when you are full grown) work on your golf swing to ensure good solid contact with the golf ball. I used to work for a golf professional that played college golf with Ben Crenshaw. He said that when Ben hit a ball it had a completely different sound than anybody else’s because he hit it so solid.
Secondly, have a qualified PGA Professional club fitter ensure that you have the right combination of shaft material, flex, length and loft that is best for you to square the clubface with your golf swing. That too will change as your swing improves and you grow. Good Luck.