Push Shot in Golf (Causes and Fixes)

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You are mid way through your round that day and you are standing on a tee box with your driver in hand.

You step up to the ball and make what feels like a good swing, but oh no!  You can’t believe your eyes.

The shot goes flying right and out of bounds.

You feel disgusted, let down, and devastated that you just hit it out of bounds when you had a quality round going.

Your self talks ruins the rest of your round and your overall day because you can’t get away from the negative experience. You head to the range after the round or the next day to try to figure out what caused this round destroying shot.

Push Shot in Golf

What caused this shot and what can you do to fix it?  Or even avoid it all together in these situations.  The push shot in golf, especially with the driver, seems to come out of nowhere for some golfers.

You might also have this similar situation standing with an 8 iron in hand from around 150 yards.  You hit one way right in the bunkers, the trees or even out of bounds.

What Causes The Push Shot in Golf?

The push shot or the shot that starts right and stays right is a combination of an open clubface at impact and a swing path too far to the right.  Both the face and the path are well right of the target line, resulting in a shot that starts right and ends up right.

To better understand this and to find your fix, a working understanding of the ball flight laws is essential.  So let’s go over some basics and show some scenarios and what the ball would do.

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The push shot on this tee shot would leave you in a hazard right or a lost ball!

Ball Flight Law – Brief Overview

Generally speaking, the following is true of the ball flight laws.

  • The ball will start in the relative direction of the clubface is facing at impact.
  • The ball will then curve away from the swing path.

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Let’s look at the following scenarios.

  • A clubface that is 7 degrees open and a path that is 7 degrees right.  The end result is a push shot that starts right and stays right.
  • A clubface that is 7 degrees open and a path that is 12 degrees right.  The end result is a push overdraw.  The ball will start well to the right and possibly draw all the way back past the target line. (notice that the ball started on the clubface angle and curved away from the swing path)
  • A clubface that is 2 degrees open and a path that is 4 degrees right.  THe end result is a push draw that many of the best golfers play.  It is a quality looking shot with a controllable amount of draw. (notice that the ball started on the clubface angle and curved away from the swing path)
  • A clubface that is 4 degrees closed and a path that is 8 degrees left.  The end result is a pull slice that many high amateurs play.  It often results in the golfer losing plenty of distance.
  • A clubrace that is 4 degree open with a swing path that is 2 degrees to the right.  The end result is a push fade that a golfer like Lee Trevino became one of the ball time greats playing.  Jack Nicklaus and many great drivers of the ball often aim slightly left and hit a push fade.

I provide all of these scenarios to help you better understand the relationship between the clubface and the swing path.  The bottom line…if your face is way open and your path is far to the right, you are going to hit a shot that starts right and pretty much stays out there.  If there is a slight difference in the clubface and the swing path the ball might slightly draw or fade.

How To Fix A Push Shot in Golf?

The golfer needs to ensure that the clubface is not completely open with a path that is too far to the right.  Ideally, the golfer will have a club face that is 1-3 degrees to the right or open and a swing path that is 2-4 degrees to the right.  

DId you know that the hardest shot to hit in golf is the perfectly square clubface with the perfectly square swing path.  A slight adjustment either way and the ball is actually curving away from the target.

We want to hit a shot that curves towards the target whether we hit a draw or a fade. We want to start the ball right or left and have it curve towards the target.  We just can’t have the the shot that starts way right (push or block) or the shot that starts way left (pull)

Without seeing the specifics of someone’s swing, in general, the causes and fixes to the push are somewhat common.

  • Ensure you aren’t getting stuck or dumped under, which causes a path way to the right.
  • Have a feeling of swinging left if your getting stuck under the shot.
  • Check out this Tom Watson “secret” if you often struggle from the big push right.

Below is a drill that I believe can help golfers of all ability level, whether a golfer is hitting a major push or a major pull.  

The best golfers are ultimately able to control or master three fundamentals:

  • Low Point Control: The best golfers can hit the ball solid 99% of the time, while the worst golfers might only hit the ball solid 25%-50% of the time.
  • Target Line and Curve Control: The best golfers can consistently start their ball on line with a predictable shot pattern.  For example a push draw, a push fade or even a pull fade.
  • Speed: The best golfers have enough speed or distance to play the course

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Some holes require your to keep the ball in play. Check out our stock shot drill below to learn how to control your club face!

Best Drill To Straighten Clubface and Swing Path

Stock Shot Drill

  • At the driving range, set up an alignment stick about 6-8 yards in front of you, straight down your target line.
  • If you have a second alignment stick, set the stick 3-4 feet right of the first stick (for a draw) or left of the first stick (for a fade).
  • Complete your initial assessment see how many times out of 10 you can start the ball to the right or left of your target.  Pick one side and measure your game at this point.
  • The goal is to eventually get 7 out of 10 shots to start to the correct side and draw back towards the target.

Most golfers can practice this drill the rest of their golf journey.  It brings the golf more back to neutral and builds confidence to establish a shot pattern!

If a golfer works on this drill regularly they will soon master the 1 of the 3 key fundamentals in golf.  

Complete post on the Stock Shot

To work on the first fundamental, check out the Low Point Control Drill.

The Low Point Control Drill

  • Take some yard paint and paint a 1-2 yard long line.
  • Setup with 55% of your weight on your front side.
  • Try to hit the target side of the line and see how many times out of 10 you can do this successfully!
  • Repeat this drill every day for a month, tracking your progress and your ability to to this successfully in trials of ten.
  • You may need to start with half swing and progress to full swings.

If you are struggling, put more weight forward and work on keep your head still to help control the low point in the swing.

A golf simulator setup to practice 365 days a year with instant feedback on every shot is a true game changer. See below for more details!

Final Thoughts: Work on Controlling the Clubface

The best golfers know where the ball is going.  They are able to select their target line and the shape shot they want to play and hit this successful a high percentage of the time.  Working on the stock shot drill can be your go to swing drill when pracicing your game.

When you can pair this with a golf launch monitor and get instant feedback on inform;ation such as the following, you are in great shape:

  • Launch Angle
  • Spin Rate
  • Spin Axis
  • Ball Speed
  • Carry and Total Distance

I highly recommend the SkyTrak, check current pricing here!

The shot tracer feature with the Skytrak is amazing for eliminating the big push to the right and to be able to visualize the shot you just hit!

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About four years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

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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