How To Hit A Cut Shot In Golf


To play our best golf possible, we must be able to hit different shots.  We know that every golf course and every hole may call for a different shot.  The conditions alone on a golf course can make the course play completely different one day from the next.

Plus there is always the possibility of getting into the trees or difficult locations on any golf course.  Ideally, we would hit every shot down the middle and be able to have the perfect looking approach shot into every green. 

But if that were the case, golf wouldn’t be the wonderful challenge that it is.  Many of us love the game because of the physical and mental challenge presented to us each and every time we play.

There are days when it all comes together and there are days we need to scramble just to shoot somewhat of a respectable score for our skill level. 

Here at golfjourney365, we love the game of golf due to the challenges and the fun involved with hitting solid shots and shooting quality scores.  The ability to be outside on a quality golf course makes the game one of life’s greatest joys.

One of the areas we like to help people with is how to work the ball both ways.  Once you understand the ball flight laws, making the ball curve one direction or the other becomes more simple.  Just like anything in life, we must understand why something happens and then we can better replicate it.

Holding off your finish can be a key to hitting a cut. See below for complete details.

How To Hit A Cut Shot In Golf?

Simple answer, the club face must be pointed to the right of the swing path.  For example, if your club face is 5 degrees open to the target line and your swing path is 1 degree closed to the target line your ball will start right and cut hard to the right.

What Is A Cut Shot in Golf?

The cut shot is a shot that curves hard to the right for the right handed golfer.  For the left handed golfer it is a shot that will surve hard to the left.

Why Would Someone Want to Hit A Cut Shot in Golf?

There are several reasons.  These include:

  • Barriers such as trees or other obstacles.
  • The wind could make a cut shot necessary.

Now, how to make that happen and when to make it happen become vital.  Below we will take you through the following questions and by the end you will know how and when to hit the cut shot in golf.  

The questions include:
  • What are the ball flight laws?
  • What must my reading be to hit a cut shot?
  • When is the best time to hit a cut shot?
  • What adjustments do I need to make in my swing to hit a cut shot?

What Are The Ball Flight Laws?

Why? If you understand the ball flight laws you can start to become your own swing instructor and make corrections on the range or the course by reading the flight of your golf ball. 

Too often golfers turn to the video of their swing when everything you need to know can be read off of your ball flight. 

Did you know that your ball flight can tell you the following:

  • Where your club face was at impact.
  • If your swing path was left or right of the club face.

Once you know these two items you can hit the cut shot or even the hook on demand.  It gives you the ability to work the ball either way on call.  Now will it be perfect every time?  No, that is what we need to practice.

So let’s dive into the ball flight laws:

  • Generally speaking, the golf ball will start where the club face is aiming.
  • The golf ball will then curve away from the swing path.

There are two different lines that we must understand.  The target line and the start line.  The best golfers start the ball left or right of the target line and then curve the ball back towards the target.

In order to hit a cut shot, your club face needs to be to the right of the swing path.  The great the distance between the two the more the ball will curve.

Let’s go over some examples to help you better understand the ball flight laws.

Example A: 

Let’s say the club face is 1 degree closed to the target line and your swing path is 6 degrees closed.  What will the ball do?

Answer:

The ball will start left of the target line and then curve hard to the right.  Keep in mind this occurs because the face is open to the swing path.

Example B:

Let’s say the club face is 1 degree open to the target line and your swing path is 8 degrees closed.  What will the ball do?

Answer:

The ball will start just right of the target line and then curve hard to the right.  Keep in mind this occurs because the face is open to the swing.  It is also open to the target line, which is why it starts right of the target line.

Example C:

Let’s say the club face is 3 degrees open to the target line and your swing path is 1 degrees open.  What will the ball do?

Answer:

The ball will have a slight curve to the right on it. It won’t cut as hard as the previous examples because the gap between the face and the path are not as significant.

Key Takeaway:

The ball will curve more significantly to the right the bigger the gap is between the club face and the swing path.  If you are trying to hit a hard cutting shot, you will need to create that gap using your setup and your hands.

What Must My Reading Be To Hit A Cut Shot:

Many launch monitors will give you the numbers listed above.  I prefer my SkyTrak when practicing these shots in my home simulator or at the driving range.  If I were tying to hit a big cut shot, I would attempt to have a path of 5 degrees left and a face closer to just 1 degree left.  This would allow me to hit a slight pull cut shot.

There are two different types of cut shots.  The pull cut shot and the push cut.  The pull cut will start left of the target line and then curve hard right, while the push cut will start right of the target line and then curve hard to the right. 

Once again, it will curve more the larger the gap is between club face and swing path.

When Is The Best Time To Hit A Cut Shot?

There are two situations when we find ourselves hitting the cut shot most frequently.  The first is when we miss the fairway to one side of the other and a tree is a major obstacle. 

For example, if I miss the fairway to the right rough and want to try to get the ball close to the green, but there is a tree straight in my line.  I will aim slightly to the left and hit a slight pull cut that curves the ball around the tree and hopefully runs up by the green.

The second situation is when the wind is blowing really hard.  If I want to ride a left to right wind, I will start the ball left with some cut spin and let it ride the wind for extra distance.  This helps when the wind is slightly to your back, but still blowing from left to right.

Another chance to hit a cut shot is if the wind is blowing right to left and you want to put some cut spin on it to help keep the ball straight.  This could help on approach shot.  Understand that the wind in this situation will also knock the ball down slightly.

If you find yourself in the trees, you may need that cut shot!

What Adjustments Do I Need To Make In My Swing to Hit A Cut Shot?

There are several adjustments that a golfer needs to make to hit a cut shot.  The first adjustment is to aim far enough left.  Some might aim their feet and shoulder line at least 45 degrees left of the target line. 

From here if you keep the club face aimed straight down the target line you are set up properly.  Now you simply swing along your feet line to create an impact position where your swing path is left of your club face by a significant amount. 

Here are the three easy steps:
  • Aim left of the target line – Up to 45 degrees left.
  • Aim your clubface down the target line.
  • Swing along your feet line.

This is a rather simple approach.  There are other ways to hit a cut shot in golf.  These include manipulating the club face with the hands by holding off the release.  So instead of throwing your right hand through the shot, you can hold off the release of the club.

Final Thoughts

The ball flight laws above are the secret to being able to control the ball flight and the curve of the ball.  Being able to control your start line and the curve of the ball is the getting you on the right path to becoming a single digit handicap player. 

Overall, the ability to start the ball on a start line that you intended and then knowing what way the ball will curve is a game changer in your golf journey.

Here is a quick drill:

  • At the driving range or on your golf simulator, set up an alignment stick 6-10 yards in front of you.  
  • Now work on hitting 10 shots right of the target line and track how many times out of 10 you can do this.
  • Next, work on hitting 10 shots left of the target line and track how many times out of 10 you can do this.
  • The next level is to watch the curve of the ball and the goal is to make sure it doesn’t curve over the target line.

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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