The Pulled Golf Shot: What’s The Cause and How To Fix It

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There are a lot of problems that golfers can run into on a consistent basis. Sometimes our putter just doesn’t work, other times we keep hitting the top of the ball with our irons, and often times our driver seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to accuracy.

The pulled golf shot is a little different because it seems like everything else is right about your golf swing except for the direction the ball starts. In this article we will discuss why so many golfers pull the ball and some different ways to fix it. 

A Pulled Golf Shot Described

What Is a Pulled Golf Shot?

The pulled golf shot, also known as the “yank” or the “tug”, can be one of the most annoying things to happen to your golf swing. A pulled shot is not just a shot that ends up left of your target.

There are a variety of reasons that your shot could end up going left of the target whether you drew the ball too much or did not fade it quite enough. The problem with the pulled shot is that the ball starts left of the target, in a direction that you did not think you were aiming.

It is like everything else went right except for the direction of your shot. There is generally very little spin, the distance is usually there, and the shot is normally straight. It is just not straight towards your target. 

What Causes a Pull?

If you boil it down to a single sentence, a pull happens because the club face is closed at impact. That is the easy part. The difficult part is figuring out why the club face is coming to a closed position at impact. In general your club face is closed at impact for 2 main reasons:

  1. Over The Top – you have too steep of a swing plane, causing everything to be closed at impact, which leads to the banana slice
  2. Over Rotating The Club Face – you have an excessive amount of club rotation in the downswing

Your first instinct will be to tinker with your swing, but I suggest reading a little further in this tutorial to find out some of the possible easy fixes before you mess with your swing too much.

3 Types of Pulled Golf Shots

In each of the 3 types of pulled shots, the ball starts left. The pull/fade is the least bad of the shots, but you never want to pull the golf ball consistently.

1. Pull Fade/Slice. A pull fade/slice is when the ball starts left and then moves back toward athe right. You may be thinking that this is what you want your ball to do, but the problem is when you pull the ball just to fade it back towards the target, you lose a lot of distance and accuracy. This is by far the most common swing flaw for most beginners!

2. Pull Straight. The ball starts left and continues to stay straight on that path with very little movement

3. Pull Draw/Hook. The ball starts left, and then either draws or hooks further left with a lot of spin and usually quite a bit of roll.

What Do I Need To Fix A Pulled Golf Shot?

The following section includes what you’ll need as well as step-by-step instructions for curing your pull.

Here’s The Things You’ll Need

Grab Your 7 Iron

It is an easier iron to hit but still easy to pull while you can get quite a bit of distance and ball movement out of it as well.

Alignment Sticks

These things are the Swiss army knife of training aids and will help you learn where you are pointing and where the ball is starting off after impact. They can also be strategically placed to help with your swing path and speed. If you do not have alignment sticks you can use another club to act in their place.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Check Your Equipment

If your shaft is too flexible or not flexible enough, you can pull the ball. Also, if your clubs are too short and make you reach or too long and force you to put the ball too far forward in your stance, you have the wrong clubs. I would suggest getting fitted for clubs and allow the golf pro to tell you which clubs fit best with your height, power, and swing.

2. Check Your Grip

If your grip is too strong for your swing, you may just have to move to a more neutral grip. Simply rotate your hands backward on the club until the “V” shape between your thumb and index finger are pointing straight down or slightly backward. A strong grip helps players who slice the ball or who desire to draw the ball, but it can also cause your club face to be closed at impact.

3. Check Your Aim

Make sure you are not just hitting the ball straight and aiming to the left of the target. This is where the alignment sticks come into play. Alignment sticks (or a golf club pointed in the right direction) can show you the natural direction the ball should be taking based on where you are aiming. If you are aiming left, you may not actually be pulling the ball, you may just be hitting a good shot aimed in the wrong direction. Here is a good visual example of how to use alignment sticks:

4. Check Your Stance

If the ball is too forward in your stance or too close to your body it could cause a “pulling” problem. If your stance is too closed, meaning your front foot is too far forward, it can also cause your club face to close at impact. A good stance allows for a controlled and athletic swing, but a poor stance forces you to reach or adjust your swing when the ball is too close or too far away.

5. Swing Plane

If it is your swing that is causing you to pull the ball, then you are probably coming from too far over the top on your shots. Starting your takeaway wide and using an inside-out swing will almost certainly cure your case of the pulls. When golfers come too far over the top, they regularly pull the ball.

Key Swing Fix

Work On Your Takeaway/Backswing

Your first move when you start the swing, your takeaway, usually dictates how your downswing will go. Many golfers, when they are struggling with their golf game, immediately try to fix what is wrong at the top of their swing or during their downswing.

Your takeaway is actually one of the best indicators of how strong your downswing will be. Start the club slowly, don’t rush into mistakes. Keep the club wide during your takeaway so that you will be able to come through with an inside-out swing.

2 Key Check Points On Your Takeaway and Backswing

1. Club Shaft Parallel To Ground

As mentioned above, the takeaway is very important since it sets up your entire backswing.  Your club shaft should be parallel with the ground and in line with your foot line and your hands should be just to the right of your right thigh (for right handed golfers).

At this point the butt of your club should be perpendicular to your target line. If it’s pointing too far to the right of your target line, that means you basically sucked the club too far inside.  This by far is the most common mistake most golfers make.

As a result of taking it too far inside you have to over compensate by taking the club over the top to make decent contact with the ball.

In addition, the toe of your club should be pointing straight up or even be slightly closed.  If the clubface is totally closed and the leading edge is parallel to the ground, you’re most likely going to have a very closed clubface at impact.

2. Left Arm Parallel To Ground

The next key check point is when you’ve halfway completed your backswing and your left arm (for right handed golfers) is parallel to the ground.

The main thing work looking for here is that the butt of the club is pointing directly to your target line or slightly inside of it (closer to your foot line).

A common flaw here for most golfers struggling with a pull is that the butt of the club is pointing outside of the target line (meaning you too took the club back on too flat of a swing plane).

As a result, an over the top downswing is needed to make solid contact with the ball.

Here’s a video by Athletic Motion Golf going over the checkpoint for the left arm parallel to the ground:

Final Thought On The Pulled Golf

When you constantly pull the ball on the golf course, golf is almost not fun. It is really frustrating because it seems like everything else is going right (correctly) in your swing but you keep going to the left. It is especially difficult because it is not always easy to understand or to see why the ball keeps going in that direction.  As usual, we always suggest working with a swing coach to help you diagnose and treat the faults in your swing.

We hope that this tutorial has helped you with your pull and that your golf game will be back to normal soon.

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and family and comment on the link below. Our goal is to help keep golf fun and exciting, and when your ball continually goes left fun is harder to be had. Help your friends out by sharing this article and then send us a picture of how you have used some of the tips in this article to cure the pulled golf shot.

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