Unfortunately, like most people during winter, I have not been out on the course as much as I would like to be. I live in Vancouver and the courses are open all year so I really have no excuse other than it’s a little bit colder than I would like. We just have to get over it and go play.
However, the weather has not prevented me from getting to the range frequently and working on a few things. One thing I was trying to work on (and I am sure this is the same for many of you) is ensuring my swing is either on plane or a slight “in to out” swing path.
Once you have achieved the correct “in to out” path, there are a few thing to watch out for. They are the dreaded blocked, pushed, or pushed sliced shots. These are shots that immediately start right (assuming your are right handed) of your target and stay straight right of your target without fading (this is a block or push), and there are shots that start right of your target and slice even further right of your target (push slice). These shot errors are an indication that your swing is on a correct(ish) inside-out path, but the clubface has not closed enough.
In doing a bit of research into this problem I have come across a few common errors leading to these shots.
Blocked Shot Ball Position
Starting with the most straightforward. Make sure that your ball position is correct. For instance, with the driver, the ball should be in line with your front heel, this should give you plenty of time for your wrists to square the clubface at impact. If the ball is further back in your stance, it may not allow enough time for the clubface to reach square at impact, leading blocked and/or push sliced shots (1).
Blocked Shot Hip Slide
Another common causes of these shots is an excessive hip slide during the down swing. While a proper lateral hip bump is a great power move, overdoing it can cause issues with your swing. If there is an excess slide in your hips, the club can drop too low and come too far from the inside, leading to a swing path that is too much inside to out, thus the blocked and push sliced shots. One suggested fix for this issue is to ensure you are rotating through the hips sufficiently instead of an excess later move. Simple narrow your stance to about 1 foot wide and hit some shots at less than max (ie. 75%). If your hips slide too much you will fall over :-). (2)
Blocked Shot Knuckles/Palm Down
Finally the most complex issue related to blocked and push sliced shots I found was ensuring the once your hands reach about hip level on your down swing, the knuckles of your left hand palm of your right hand should begin to turn towards the ground without affecting your wrist hinge our swing path. If you are having trouble visualizing this, I have posted a link to a video here. Ultimately, this move starts to square the clubface to your target line as you move your hands in the manner outlined above (3).
I hope you find the above information useful and helpful. But, what I find often enough is that we are all very different and what works for one person does not work for everyone. So, tinker and experiment with some common fixes for you shot errors until you find what works. For me, none of the above faults really made much of a difference in what I was seeing with my shots, but what does make a difference is ensuring I do not have too long of a back swing. I have to stop my backswing when the club reaches parallel to the ground at the absolute latest or all hell breaks loose!
The Barefoot Golfer