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How to Fix Your Golf Swing: Use Opposites

Filling Up Your Toolbox

“Fix a golfer’s swing, and he might swing well for a day.  Teach a golfer to fix his own swing, and he will swing well forever.”  -Me

99% of popular golf instruction gives you quick tips.  “Keep your head down.”  “Tuck your elbow.”  “Bend your wrist.”  Some of these tips will work for some people, but none of them work for everyone, everyday.

In this new series, How to Fix Your Golf Swing, I’m not going to give you tips.  Instead, I’m going to fill your toolbox with ways to adjust your own swing as it changes day by day and year by year.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You want to learn ways to fix your swing on your own

You’re trying to make a big change to your golf swing

You’ve tried tweaking your swing but aren’t seeing results

Feel Can Fool You

I’ve written before about how feel is real (check it out HERE).  Here’s the other side of that coin: just because you feel something doesn’t mean it’s true.  For example, you might feel like you’re really closing the face through impact, but if the ball is shooting out the right, you’re not.

This conflict between feel and reality is the reason why many people have trouble making swing changes.  They feel like they’re doing something, but the reality is that they aren’t.  Video and launch monitors can help bridge this divide, but many golfers don’t have regular access to either one.  So what should you do?

Do the Opposite

The swing concept I want to offer to you in this lesson is so obvious and simplistic that people overlook its power: do the opposite.

If you tend to hit the ball on the heel of the club, make ten swings trying to hit the ball on the very edge of the toe.  You won’t be able to do it.  If you really go for the toe, you’ll probably hit the ball dead center.  This will teach you how much you need to exaggerate the feel to overcome your current problem.

This same concept works for nearly every swing problem.  If your shots start to the left, try starting the ball hard right (or vice versa).  If you hit fat shots, try to hit the ball with only the very bottom groove of the club.  Too thin?  Try to get into the turf half an inch behind the ball.

You can use this idea for changing your swing path and shot shape, too, but it’s a little trickier.  First diagnose if your problem is club face or club path (learn more about that HERE).  While you’re at it, make sure you understand gear effect (explained HERE).  If you’ve got all that down, you can work on fixing your slice by trying to hit hooks or the other way around.

Matt Saternus
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  1. This absolutely works!
    I tend to swing from the inside and can hit a big hook. My golf instructor told me to feel as though I am hitting a slice. Once I started doing that, my swing path was so much better and ball flight was neutralized.

  2. James Fulton

    My woods have a little slice. For some reason I hook my irons. Is it my hand position or am I not following through?

  3. John Roach

    have Made several positive changes to my swing. most recent and hardest to feel is forward press. any drills/tips

    • Matt Saternus


      To clarify: are you trying to get your hands more in front of the ball at impact? If so, why?


    • Mark Stutler

      I tend to hit my irons on the toe. The opposite would be to try to hit it on the heel. This is a terrifying proposition, as it brings a shank into play. Talk about golf Russian Roulette! Need your help, Matt.

      • Matt Saternus


        If you miss on the toe substantially, there’s virtually no way you’re going to hit the hosel. And if you do, you’ll have discovered the feel you need to get off the toe and you can just dial it down a bit.


  4. I’m very inconsistent hitting my drive, it has never been strongest part of game.
    I have try positioning the ball off the my left heel, & my hands & head behind the ball also.

    • Matt Saternus


      In what way is your driving inconsistent? Distance? Direction? Strike quality?
      What are you trying to accomplish with the ball and body position you’re describing?


      • Robert Savitsky

        Love your articles Matt but doesn’t keep your head down lead to a reverse pivot? Isn’t keep your head level and allowing it to swivel slightly back and through a better thought?

        • Matt Saternus


          I wouldn’t say that keeping your head down leads to a reverse pivot. I also wouldn’t say it’s a universally good idea. It all depends on the individual, what they need, and how they interpret what’s being said.


  5. cksurfdude

    Ben Hogan said something to the effect of… “Reverse every natural instinct and you may come close to a good golf swing.”

    As always, great info Matt .. thx!

  6. This really connects with me.

    It’s almost impossible for me to hit the ball on the toe of the club. Had a driver fitting recently, and the tech was floored at how consistently I was hitting the ball on the heel side of the club. We tried lining up with the ball literally on the toe. Barely worked the ball back towards the center. 100 balls, probably less than five in the sweet spot or toeside.

    The tech eventually said, “A new driver isn’t going to do much for you. Your swing path and angle look great. Somehow, you close the face at impact every time, and it’s killing you.”

    I need to focus in on this opposite thing primarily, I would guess, when practicing.

    Thanks Matt!

  7. Earl Carver

    Good info

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