Say Goodbye to Pulled Golf Shots

Dan Gold
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What is a Pulled Shot?

Not all golfers have the same definition of a pulled shot. But for the most part, a pulled shot is a shot that sails to the left of the target or it just disappears into the rough or the water.

There are several reasons why a golf shot may be pulled other than the mechanics of the swing. For instance, poor course conditions, unfavourable weather and distractions such as noise may result in a pulled shot.

In this article, I will focus on the technical aspects of a pulled shot. A pulled shot is usually caused by a maladjustment of the hands. When the hands get in the way of the swing, it usually results a pull.

If you take a look at some of the more famous golfers, you will notice that they have different types of grips. Even if they are holding the club the same way, their hands position on the club varies from player to player.

Let’s look at the various ways to hold the putter grip. You need to determine whether you are correctly holding the club or not. It’s all about controlling the hands in your golf swing.

What Causes a Pulled Shot?

For years, golfers have tried to master the golf swing. It’s a really complicated motion that involves dozens of moving parts, and making the perfect power and angle perfect while maintaining balance can be tricky.

And then sometimes, even if you have practiced the swing many times before, a simple thing can throw everything off. Maybe you are a bit tired; maybe you’re not in the mood that day, for some reason or other. The result is the same: your shot ends up looking like someone dragged it out of the water. And you may be wondering:

“Why is that happening? Why am I snapping my wrist?”

Well, the reasons why you pull your golf shots can be many:

Alignment (Are You Actually Hitting it Straight?)

Shot alignment is one of the most common mistakes golfers make on the golf course. It’s also a critical area of the game that is usually overlooked by golfers and their coaches.

It is easy to overlook alignment when you are golfing because you can only see the ball after you have hit it. The problem with this is that you see what has already happened rather than what is going to happen.

We are able to get information about our alignment before we make contact with the ball by using the alignment rods to check whether we are in fact set up correctly.

The alignment rods are used by placing them down the target line of your golf ball, and then lining up your body along the rods.

If you are standing comfortably sideways on the golf ball, you should be able to see the real horizon in the background.

Then hold a golf club out in front of you and put the crown of the club in line with the top of the alignment rod closest to you.

You should now be able to look over the golf ball and see a clearly defined straight line in front of you. If not, then you need to make an adjustment to your alignment.

There are various adjustment, such as shifting your hips, your feet, your eyes, or your shoulders, or any combination of them.

Too Strong of a Grip

A lot of golfers suffer bad shots due to simply holding the club too tightly. It is a natural thing to do when your blood is rushing, and you have tens of thousands of dollars on the line.

But try to relax a little when you’re gripping the club. It is fine to hold it firmly, but try to make your grip a little looser. It will definitely help you control the shot much better.

Make sure you’re not gripping the club too tightly, but don’t overdo, otherwise you’ll suffer a string of pulled shots.

Incorrect Ball Position

Most beginning players have the tendency to play their shots too far back in their stance. The farther back the ball is positioned, the greater the chance you’ll pull shots.

The reverse also holds true. If you play the ball too far forward in your stance, you’re drastically increasing your chances of pushing or pulling shots.

The first thing you want to do when your shots are pulling is check your ball position.

Over The Top Swing Motion

The on-top swing strategy is the most common approach to the golf swing. This technique involves re-positioning the arms, hands, and club to provide the golfer with a short, consistent swing. The on-top swing is best for players of all skill levels.

The best part about the on-top swing is that it is easy to learn.

The method has several variations, but all of them incorporate a similar technique. The golfer will rotate his arms almost as if he was shaking someone’s hand. When the player has acquired the correct grip, his palms should face up.

This position is called the top position. Hence the reason for the popular nickname. Because of this position, golfers using the on-top swing will have to set up on top of the golf ball. Most of the weight is on the back foot and the majority of the swing motion takes place at the top of the golf swing.

Many golfers tend to have the same type of setup from the on-top position. This will consist of having an open upper body and a closed lower body and hips.

This setup is the most beneficial to prevent the excessive use of the upper body during the golf swing. This is vital during the transition from the on-top to the downswing portion of the golf swing.

Setting up in this manner will help the player swing the club more efficiently.

How to Stop Pulling The Golf Ball

If you’re a golf beginner, there is one thing you’ll be needing a lot more than bucketloads of practice: knowledge.

You need the right knowledge. But it’s not just the knowledge of the game, but the right information about how to improve your game and avoid mistakes.

So today, I’m going to lay down one of the fundamentals of the game. I’ll show you how to hit the ball straight without having to do the difficult task of avoiding extra-curricular golf lessons and practice.

Like any good golfer, you have to build your stance in the right way. You should already know one of the most important parts of your golf stance: the width. There is a very specific reason as to why the width of your stance is important.

It’s because it’s one of the things that will help you align your clubface at the right angle. When the clubface is not parallel to the target line, it’s a sign that you are setting your body in a way that is unbalanced.

The result? You tend to pull the ball. That is, you pull the ball, sometimes way left.

Backswing or Downswing?

Poor muscle balance can lead to a pulled golf shot. The pull and the tuck are most commonly caused by muscles being imbalanced between the backswing and the downswing.

Actually, upward rotation of the pelvis is a common key swing flaw. The two key muscles that do that rotation are the psoas and the often-underactive gluteus max.

The problem is that people often twist upwards with the shoulder or lumbar spine instead of the pelvis to rotate the body and , which causes you to pull the shot.

For a person with a strong psoas muscle, the uphill hip is restricted and does not allow the pelvis to rotate efficiently during the swing.

People with weak gluteus muscles also cannot rotate their hips up correctly.

Here is a simple drill that will help you balance the muscles of your body.

Stand tall, put your left knee slightly bent and pull your right knee to your chest. Keep your both hands on your right knee.

Slowly rotate your pelvis to the right and then to the left and notice the difference in each direction.

Do the same thing with the left knee while holding your pelvis straight on each side.

Do it several times. Just learning how to notice the alignment of your spine is enough to improve muscle balance.

Pulled Golf Shot Drills

A pulled golf shot manifests itself in the form of a slice or a hook. Commonly attributed to an improper golf swing, a pulled shot can be caused by a combination of factors including; incorrect grip, failing to pivot or open the club and/or an rushed swing.

The key to correcting a pulled shot is proper diagnosis of the problem. One of the most effective pull shot drills is the drill where you stand with your feet together and your arms extended out to the side.

The pro with you will gently shift your weight to the right or left while you are in this position. If the weight shift is in your favor it means you are probably pulling the club while swinging forward.

The next step is to go to your regular set-up position with your feet together and your arms extended out to the side with your weight evenly distributed on both sides.

You should feel as if there is a force drawing your arms out to the side. This is a sign that you are likely to be pulling the club too much during a normal swing.

The idea is to swing in your normal set-up position and to aim for a spot at a distance of say, 20 yards.

The pro has the job of making sure that you don’t pull the club and that you stay loose throughout the drill.

Pool Noodle Over the Top Drill

When it comes to improving your swing plane, the bottom line is that you always want to learn to swing the lead arm more downward. I have found that the best drill for this purpose is the “pool noodle over the top drill.”

The purpose of this drill is twofold:

It allows you to see how deeply you are swinging under the ball.

It allows you to feel how deeply you are swinging under the ball.

In order to feel horizontal motion in your swing, you have to feel the downward motion of your swing arm throughout the swing.

Start by taking any object that’s wedge-shaped like a pool noodle. Hold it vertically over the golf ball.

Imagine that the clubface is squarely aligned with the pool noodle.

Now, make a full swing. Keep your target line fixed on the golf ball.

As you make your backswing, keep the pool noodle firmly in place over the ball.

Now, at the downswing, if the pool noodle doesn’t move, you do feel that arm really strongly flicking towards the target line.

If you’re still not getting the hang of it, try to do this drill with your eyes closed, so that you’re just feeling it.

Back Foot Drop Back for Pulled Shots

To consistently drive the golf ball off the tee with solid, consistent contact you need to pay attention to your setup and swing mechanics.

You set up in the proper posture with your weight and stance starting with your alignment and the shaft angled outside your lead thigh on the backswing.

Your setup is important as it is the foundation and alignment of your body that will affect the bar in your swing and hips and shoulders moving together.

The bar needs to be outside the legs and you will have a solid base on which to swing up and down to the ball clearly in view before you.

For the majority of golfers their lead foot turns out on the backswing and is not directly underneath the hip or in a powerful athletic position.

This foot position is not strong or powerful and leads to loss of power at the top of the swing and a pulling shot right or left.

One of the ways to overcome this problem is to set up with the left foot back to create the bar that connects the hips and shoulders where it needs to be.

You do not want to create a left or right shift in your stance that will take away power and make it more difficult to lay the club off at impact.

Set up correctly on the tee to help you hit the ball past your center of gravity to help you hit the ball with the proper bar and athletic stance to prevent pulling the shot left or right.

The Bottom Line

If you want to be a good golfer, you have to be a good putter! And if you want to be a great putter, you need to have excellent putting fundamentals.

The foundation of good putting is having a stable mental game. Starting the day mentally prepared and knowing that you have the right knowledge and a great game plan is your first step for success on the green.

The other main aspect of good putting is having proper putting mechanics. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to putting fundamentals, such as your stance, putting grip, tempo, alignment, ball position and more.

As with any golf fundamentals, practicing putting fundamentals will let you feel what it’s like when your putting is good and when it’s bad. When you know that, you can control it.

Once you’re able to practice your putting and create the sensation of a good swing, you can dial in on your putting stroke and add consistency to your game. This will allow you to avoid pulled golf shots and hit the same distance every time.