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Lower scores start with controlling your ball better

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When it comes to playing golf, you are only as good as your skill level, and your skill level is determined by how well you control your golf ball.

If you learn to control your golf ball, you will lower your scores.

But first, you must understand what influences the golf ball.

There are five impact factors: the direction the clubface is pointing at impact or clubface angle, the path or direction the clubhead is moving at impact, the angle the clubhead moves in relation to the ground (also known as angle of attack), where on the clubface your ball is contacted and clubhead speed.

Those five factors influence everything about the flight of your golf ball, where it starts and how it flies from there. In learning to improve your ball control, focus on improving your clubface angle and path first.

The clubface tells the ball where to go. The ball will basically take off at a right angle to where the clubface is pointing.

If your clubface is pointing left of the target, the ball will initially fly to the left of the target. If your clubface is facing to the right of the target at impact, your ball will start to the right.

The path of the club in relation to the clubface will determine the spin. If your golf ball curves from left to right, the path of your club is moving more left than where your clubface is pointing. A right-to-left curve indicates a path moving more to the right than where the face is pointing.

If you tend to slice your golf ball, your path is swinging more to the left than where your clubface is pointing.

Most slicers have grips that are too weak. The hands are turned too much counter-clockwise on the club, leaving the clubface open and causing compensating moves such as an over-the-top, out-to-in downswing.

If you slice the ball, the first step is to fix the face.

Check to make sure you have a good grip. The line or “v” formed by your thumb and forefinger of the left hand should point toward the right side of the body. Your grip is too weak if that line points toward your left eye or further left.

You should be able to look down and see at least two knuckles on the back of your left hand.

Once your grip and clubface are in good shape, now it's time to work on the path.

Place a headcover or another obstacle outside of and behind the ball forcing you to make more of an inside approach with your downswing. The combination of the better clubface angle and path should help to improve your ball flight.

If you hook the ball, your initial approach should be to improve your path. Some hookers have a grip that is too strong but most have a path issue that needs fixed.

You can improve your path by placing an obstacle inside and behind the ball and avoiding the obstacle as you swing.

You can also do the opposite and feel as if you are swinging over-the-top and too much to the left after impact.

Sometimes in golf, you have to feel like you are moving a mile to get an inch. Feeling like you are swinging out-to-in may just bring your swing path back to neutral.

Whether you slice or hook the ball, improving your clubface and path is the first step in improving your ball flight.

Take an online lesson from Ed Oldham.