How to handle a closed clubface golf club
I am always amazed at how resilient humans are making adjustments so quickly. Let’s face it, we can hit virtual any golf club (assuming it the same handed). But we hit some clubs (much) better than others. I have said this a million times, but the reason why we make these adjustments is that we are result-orientated. When a golf club does not fit the natural tendencies of the golfer’s swing, they will manufacturer a certain swing in order to get the ball to go in the direction that want it to travel, albeit not on a consistent basis.
One example I want to discuss is the use of closed faced clubs. If the majority of golfers have one tendency, it is to push, fade or even slice the ball off of the tee with their driver. Conventional wisdom suggests that a more closed clubface will result into the ball starting out further left (for a right-handed golfer) to help compensate for ill-desired ball flight. This is why so many drivers on the market are manufacturer with a slightly closed face angle.
Swing robots are designed to have a repeatable swing, path and speed with the ball teed at a predetermined height and ball position after the initial set up is made. If everything remained the same, the ball would travel further left the more the face angled was closed. While swing robots are great for obtaining data in a very controlled environment, it does not factor in the human element. In working with real golfers using the Dynacraft Prophet ICT driver, you will get a quick lesson in not everything may go according to Hoyle. The beauty of this driver is that it is adjustable for face angle and lie angle, yet everything else remains the same leaving out all the unwanted variables as possible. Therefore we can see what changes each individual golfer makes when we only change one parameter.
Take a look at the diagram below representing the head on view of a golfer’s set up at address. In the first drawing labeled example A, the triangle that forms the shoulders are level to the ground. The red dotted line represents the golfer line of sight looking down on the ball. The solid red arrow points the clubface looking square to the target.
In example B, the only change is the clubface has a more closed faced at address. The golfer sees that the clubface is now pointing left of the target. If the golfer was to take their normal swing and trust the position of the club face the ball may start to travel left. OR…the golfer will now make some changes because visually it doesn’t fit their eye.
In example C, the golfer compensates by pushing their hands forward therefore opening the clubface at address. By doing so, the clubface now appears more squared to the target. Why even adjust? It is natural a person may try to aim at their final target even though their ball flight is generally not straight. In addition, the shoulders may tilt with the shoulder closest to the target being slightly higher than the other possibly causes the player to swing more inside/out than they normally would. In most cases, the golfer is not even aware they are doing this negating the potential benefit of the clubface being closed to compensate for their slice.
Example D is yet another possibility the golfer may do in order to visualize that the club is pointed toward their target. That is the clubhead is positioned back further in the stance rather than pressing the hands forward as in example C. In order to focus on the ball the head might be rotated back slightly. One byproduct of moving the club back in the stance as the player may end up hitting with a descending angle of attack and the club may be further de-lofted resulting into low ball flight. Ironically they may slice the ball even more than before with a clubhead that was less closed faced.
A professional golfer is highly skilled. They are able to hit clubs that may not be right for them and make the ball in the direction that want. Using the Dynacraft Prophet ICT as an example, the pro could literally place the adapter inside the head in any of the eight possible positions and within a handful of shots eventually figure out how to hit the ball straight and most likely at a specific height. The average golfer is not so fortunate. You might hear that a professional golfer may like an open faced driver at address because “it looks good to his eyes”. They want to avoid any manipulation at address so they can just trust their natural swing.
By changing how something looks can very easily change how someone may set up and ultimately swing the golf club. After all this part of custom fitting; making the clubs suit the player’s natural swing rather than the player adjusting to the club. Just because a right-handed golfer swings a more closed clubface, it does not necessarily mean that see the ball travelling more to the left. Only by experimenting are you able to see first hand how face angle can affect your set up and eventually the ball’s direction and height. But if you do slice the ball, a more closed clubface may be just the cure, therefore trust the club and try not to make any adjustments.
Now, what do you do when you have a closed faced club in your hands?