Using Lines of Flight to Improve Your Golf Swing

By Teresa Justine Kelly

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Many beginning golfers slice their tee shots, forcing the ball that starts out on the left of the target to swerve dramatically to the right. Some golfers hook their shots to the left, which is when the ball begins its path to the right of the target, then moves right-to-left through the air. Other faults when trying to drive a ball straight off the tee are a pulled shot, which is one that starts out left of the target because of an out-to-in swing path, and a pushed shot, a shot that starts right of the target and continues right. Correcting these faults by understanding the lines of flight can improve your game. Once you discover how and why your ball is traveling in a certain direction, you can straighten out your shots and lower your golf score.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
  1. Stand square to the target at address, with your shoulders and feet in parallel alignment, making sure the club face is also square to the target. The ball should be positioned just inside your left heel, for right-handed golfers.
  2. Keep the shaft of the club parallel to your target on your backswing. This will ensure that your swing is on plane.
  3. Bring your club into the downswing, using controlled tempo and rhythm. The downswing should mirror the backswing.
  4. Rotate your forearms through impact to promote an aggressive release of the club.
  5. Finish in balance, with 90 percent of your weight on your front foot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Analyze all your shots in terms of which direction the ball starts and how the ball curves. This will give you an idea whether there are faults in your swing and how to correct them. Always check your aim and make sure your club face is square at impact, meaning the club head is directly positioned behind the ball and your target at impact. An opened or closed club face at impact will force the ball to curve right or left.
  • Slices and hooks are caused by having your swing off plane, poor alignment and fast tempo. Always check that you are parallel to your target at address. An open stance---feet, hips and shoulders aimed to the left---will cause a sliced shot to the right. A closed stance---feet, hips and shoulders aimed to the right---will cause a hooked shot to the left. Also check your distance from the ball at address. Standing too close to the ball will cause you to pull the shot, which means the shot starts left and stays left.

About the Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.