The Benefits of Being Neutral

The Benefits of Being Neutral

Many tour players play straight ball flights, many play draws, many play fades, and many play combinations of each on all of the top tours around the world.  This being said, the movements seen with their clubs from halfway down to halfway through in their downswings are often quite similar.  The reason is because the swing paths of the vast majority of tour professionals are close to “neutral”.  Even with many playing fades and draws, their fades and draws are often slight, and their swing paths are often still “neutral”.

A neutral path brings many benefits towards one’s ball striking.  A neutral path will minimize players misses in terms of direction, and will enable players to easily create different types of ball flights.  A neutral path allows for players to create straight shots, fades, or draws at will.  It allows for players to create different trajectories and heights for different types of shot curvatures.  It enables players to base many of their shots during play on the ball flights best suited for situations.  Therefore, they can better take advantage of the many different tee shots and pin locations encountered during play.

Players with swing paths which are are farther from neutral and more outside-to inside or inside-to-outside through impact have much greater difficultly creating certain shapes, trajectories, and heights with golf shots.  These players have more difficulty taking full advantage of many tee shots and pin locations encountered during play, and often have to take safer and less aggressive lines, which may decrease chances for scoring.

When players have neutral swing paths, their misses are often closer to targets than misses of players who are not neutral.  When a player’s swing path moves too far in one direction or the other through impact, they increase their chances for creating larger pulls, slices, hooks, and blocks.  These shots are more penalizing during play, and can lead to some big numbers on a scorecard.  Players with neutral paths have smaller chances for big misses, and their misses are often still in play.

How do players learn and develop neutral swing paths during their downswings?  Many do so by learning to create different types of ball flights.  For example, one of the ways in which some of the best golfers practice or have practiced, including Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan, is by constantly making sure they can easily shape shots in every direction and with numerous trajectories.  They know if they can easily create many ball flights, their swing paths are close to neutral.  Therefore, players can recognize if their swing paths are moving away from neutral by their inabilities to create certain ball flights.  Difficulty shaping a shot which starts left and curves right, will indicate a player is too far inside-to-outside through impact, assuming the player is right handed.  Difficulty shaping a shot which starts right and curves left indicates a player is too far outside-to-inside through impact.

This all being said, many players will have natural ball flights with some curvature, in fact a large number of tour professionals do, but just make sure curvature does not become too big.  Like mentioned above, swing paths which move substantially from neutral can lead to some penalizing misses and disadvantages when facing many on course situations.  This is why neutral paths are commonly seen among the best players in the world and throughout the history of game, and why I want you to have a swing path close to neutral.

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