In golf, there are a ton of careful considerations, mechanics, techniques, and positioning to keep in mind when aiming for a competitive game and a PB score on the green.
For seasoned pro’s down to amateurs, it’s essential to recognize the impact your clubface has on your game.
Face style determines the angle and direction of the ball at impact and plays a critical role in achieving your desired shot shape.
Understanding the different types of clubfaces and how they can affect ball flight is essential for any golfer looking to improve their game, and that’s what we’re here for we’re taking you through all things clubface and, specifically, how a closed clubface at impact affects your game.
What Is A Closed Clubface?
A closed clubface is what is often referred to as the positioning of the clubface at impact.
For right-handed golfers, you’re aiming to the left, and inversely, if you’re a lefty, you’re aiming right.
A closed clubface can be the result of your grip, swing path, or a combination of both:
For righties, you’ll be rotating your hands to the right (towards the target) on the grip.
This will cause the clubface to point to the left of the target at the address, and assuming your swing path is relatively straight, the clubface will be closed at impact.
For the most comfortable way of achieving a closed grip, start by placing your hands as you normally would while your left hand rotates to the right (clockwise); the “V” formed by the thumb and index finger—or Vardon grip—should point towards your right shoulder. This will rotate your clubface to the left and whack! You got yourself a closed clubface.
Closed Swing Path
To achieve a closed clubface at impact based on your swing path, you’ll need to create one more to the right than your clubface’s angle. Begin by taking a look at your stance:
Adjust your stance by aligning your shoulders more to the right of your target line. This will encourage your swing to come from more of the inside.
The result is a rightward swing path and a closed clubface at impact.
Another adjustment you can make is by swinging the club more around your body instead of up and down.
You can go about this technique by keeping your hands low and close to your body on the backswing.
Then, initiate the downswing with your lower body, which will promote a more rightward swing path to your point of impact.
How Does A Closed Clubface At Impact Affect Your Golf Game?
A closed clubface at impact will change a lot about the result of your swing; this isn’t necessarily a good thing. A closed clubface can be very hard to control based on inconsistent ball flight as well as a restricted bounce and loft height.
Generally, golfers who rely on a closed clubface at impact are prone to slicing or shanking the ball off to the right and swear by the elevated ball contact and a more even directional pull. With that in mind, a closed clubface at impact is highly discouraged among us seasoned golfers, instructors, and the pros.
|Limits the risk of hooking or shanking shots
|Restricts your ball’s bounce
|Better ball contact based on an inside-out swing path and a more solid stroke on the ball
|Impacts the initial direction of the ball toward your target line
|Unrepeatable accuracy; inconsistent
So What’s The Alternative?
For the best shot and most accurate results from the green to the fairway, golfers utilize a square or open clubface rather than keeping their clubface closed at impact.
A square clubface is where the clubface is perpendicular to the target line, or the line between the ball and your intended target.
When the clubface is square, the leading edge of the club is pointing straight at the target, and the face is not open or closed. A square clubface is considered an ideal position for hitting straight shots or shots with minimal curve.
Who Should Use A Square Clubface?
For golfers who are new to the game or for high-handicap players, a square position will help you execute the shot you’re aiming for with precision and consistency, all while making your way down the fairway linearly and out of the weeds.
- Accuracy; essential for hitting straight targets to the hole
- Consistency; stability in the loft and spin of your ball
- Variety; can be used in shots like swings, chips, pitches, or putts
- Shaping; missing the shaping, you’ll need for a draw or fade shot
- Distance; relative to your skill level, a square clubface may not produce maximum distance
An open clubface is when the leading edge of your face is pointing to the right of the target, and the clubface is more open than the target line.
Who Should Use An Open Clubface?
Golfers with a little more experience under their belt may intentionally use an open clubface to produce a fade or a slice shot, which can be useful for getting around obstacles or hitting a particular shot shape on the course.
However, an unintentionally open clubface—usually a result of a lack of experience—can lead to shots that miss the target to the right and result in lost distance and accuracy.
- Specificity; helps you hone in and create specific shot shapes to avoid obstacles
- Altitude; increased loft, which can add a couple of extra inches when trying to get over trees, water, etc.
- Spin Control; helps you control the spin of your ball, which in turn gives your ball a better chance of traveling farther by “rolling out”
- Skill based; requires a high level of skill and control to hit your intended target
- Limited versatility; really only suitable for fades or slices.
The Right Way & The Wrong Way
Since you’re now affluent in all things clubface, let’s break down some of the notable do’s and don’ts when it comes to setting up and executing your closed clubface at impact, as well as the noteworthy square and open clubfaces/
Closed Clubface At Impact
- Use intentionally; a closed clubface will slice the ball
- Keep your wrist firm; too much or too little pressure and your ball will slice too hard or result in uncomfortable torque in your arms and wrists
- Use your body; focus on your body’s rotation and the release on your swing rather than solely honing in on your hand and wrist placement
Square Clubface At Impact
- Neutral grip; not too tight and not too loosey-goosey
- Focus on your swing plane; you’ll be able to keep your face square as you aim for the straightest pathway to your target line
- Spine and hips; keep your hips hinged at the sockets while also dropped back. Your spine should be at an angle between 35-45°
Open Clubface At Impact
- Leading edge; point your leading edge and clubhead to the right of your target line
- Positioning your ball forward; with your ball slightly forward in your stance (towards your left foot), you’ll be able to make more solid contact with your ball of choice
- Hands to the right; To ensure you’re getting a solid strike and to prevent the ball from spinning excessively to the right, make sure your hands are in front of your ball at impact.
Closed Clubface At Impact
- Overuse your hands; causes the face to close too drastically at impact
- Hard swings will close the clubface at impact too excessively and cause your body to breakdown faster, making for an unsustainable, inaccurate performance
Square Clubface At Impact
- Over-manipulate the clubface; if you’re changing and maneuvering the clubface too much, your face may become closed
- Grip too tightly; may open up the clubface
Open Clubface At Impact
- Aiming right instead of left
- Not enough clubhead speed: Because an open clubface adds a lot of loft to your shot, it can lead to a loss in distance if you don’t generate enough clubhead speed on your swing.
How Do I Control My Clubface?
You can control your clubface based on the by-product of proper swing mechanics: a proper takeaway, neutral wrist positioning, optimal rotation in the downswing, and a forward-leaning shaft at impact.
If you’re able to control and be mindful of these 4 mechanics, you’ll have a greater sense of your clubface’s positioning and the result of your shot upon making contact with your ball.
Does A Strong Grip Close A Clubface?
Yes, a strong grip can close the clubface at impact. A strong grip means that your hands are rotated more to the right on the club grip, which causes the clubface to point more to the left of the target line. When the clubface is closed at the address, it will tend to stay closed through impact and promote a left-to-right ball flight (for right-handed golfers).
Does Increasing The Loft Open Or Close The Clubface At Impact?
Increasing the loft of your club can have different effects on the clubface angle at impact, depending on other factors such as swing path, face angle at impact, and grip.
In general, increasing the loft of a club will tend to close the clubface at impact.
This is because as the loft angle of the club increases, the face angle of the club will tend to point more to the left of the target at the address.
A closed clubface at impact will affect your shot mechanics and ultimately, where you’ll find it on the course after your swing.
Many golfers keep their clubface closed at impact in order to avoid shanking or hooking the ball while also improving their contact through solid impact.
That said, a closed face is highly discouraged among seasoned golfers due to reduced loft, bounce, and inconsistent ball direction, as well as accuracy.