How To Avoid The Blow Up Round

Fix your game, mid-round and avoid a big number
Make practice swings on a sidehill lie with the ball above your feet. This flattens your swing and takes away your slice.

It probably has happened to all of you at one time or another. You’re in the middle of an otherwise solid round of golf when suddenly it all heads south, and no matter what you try, nothing can get your game back on track. It’s a frustrating experience, and one that’s sometimes made worse by trying to right the ship.

While a good post-round practice session is what’s really needed, there are some mid-round quick fixes that can temporarily rescue your game (although I emphasize that these fixes aren’t meant to be permanent). From shanking to chunking, I’ve passed on four of my favorite mid-round quick fixes that will stop the bleeding, boost your confidence and get you back in the game. The next time you find yourself in the middle of a blowup round, apply some of these band-aids and finish strong. Photography By Warren Keating

Fix Your Slice
If you start hitting a big banana slice mid-round, your clubface is open at impact and the angle of your downswing is probably very steep.

The only way to cure it is to flatten your swing and square your clubface at impact. This means you have to rotate your hands and arms over one another through the swing. A simple way to do this is to make a few practice swings on a sidehill lie with the ball above your feet. This flattens and rounds off your swing, making it easier to square your clubface at impact. Feel your right hand and arm rolling over your left, squaring and closing the clubface through impact.

Stop Chunking It
If you find yourself hitting it fat (hitting behind the ball and taking a big divot) or drop-kicking it (hitting behind the ball without much of a divot and then having your clubhead skip into the ball), you’re not adequately transferring weight from your back foot to your front foot in the downswing. To fix this mid-round, place a headcover about six inches behind where your ball would be and take a few practice swings. Having this obstacle behind the ball forces you to avoid hitting it and, therefore, to swing through the ball and transfer your weight to your front foot. Doing this allows the club tobottom out at the correct point so you make solid contact that compresses the ball.

A shank happens when your hands are too far outside or inside the target line. Get them back on-plane with this clubless drill. Have your hands brush your pants.

No More Shanks!
A shank occurs when the ball makes contact with the club’s heel. This can happen two ways: by either coming over the top or by getting stuck. In both cases, your hands are too far away from your body at impact. To stop shanking (and to keep your hands close to your body), try to brush your hands against your pants as you make your downswing. Here, I’m trying to get my hands to swing down close to my body (like my hands are dropping into my right pocket) so I’m in a good position to strike the shot with a center hit. Do this and you can say adios to the shanks.

Steve Dahlby, PGA, teaches at the Golf Club Scottsdale and Forest Highlands. To learn more, visit

Back On Track
The path on which your putterhead travels influences the direction your ball rolls. Although not always the case, a putter that goes from outside the target line to inside it makes the ball go left; a path that moves from inside the target line to outside it makes the ball go right. Most good putters have a path that starts inside the target line on the backswing, squares at impact and moves back to the inside on the followthrough. If you struggle to find this path while playing, go to an area of the fringe that has a slight arc and place the toe of your putter against it, make some swings and trace it with your putterhead. Doing this controls your swing path and encourages a proper release.

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