How To Open The Club Face In Golf

Not knowing how to open the club face in golf can catch players out. Here's how to do it with confidence

How to open the club face in golf swing
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

There are times during the course of a round when you will need to open the club face to create loft or deliver a fading ball flight. In this video and article, we are going to show you how to find the perfect grip for a controllable open club face. We'll then talk about when you might need to use the shot and finally, if you are leaving the face open through impact unintentionally, how to fix it.

To open the club face, if you are playing a flop shot for instance, follow these easy steps. A square club face sees the toe of the club pointing up to 12 o'clock on a clock face, before taking your grip gently rotate it to 1 o’clock (11 for left handers). Only once you have done that, grip the club correctly. Don’t overdo it.

From there, aim the club face at your target and then set you stance. You’ll find your feet are more open than normal. It is so important to not just turn your hands round to open the face (the video with this article shows exactly what to avoid here). All this will do is see them return to the position they naturally hang in and the face will be square again. So rotate the club to open the face, then place your hands on it with a neutral golf grip.

Open the face then add the hands in with a neutral grip. Don't just turn your hands

Open the face then add the hands in with a neutral grip, don't just turn your hands

(Image credit: Future)

When would I want to open the club face? 

Opening the face is important, particular for bunker shots. By doing this, you'll expose the bounce on your wedge and as long as you know how to use the bounce, you'll 'slide' the club face under the ball and pop it out on a cushion of sand. If you don’t do this you’ll just dig the leading edge into the sand. 

PGA pro Katie Dawkins hitting a bunker shot

Opening the face properly is vital when hitting bunker shots

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Secondly you’d want to open the face if you wanted to add a bit of loft onto a cheeky green-side shot. Given very little green to work you can limit the run on the ball by gently opening the face and playing the shot as normal.

You’d also open the face a bit if you wanted to encourage a fade or to work the ball around a dogleg or perhaps an obstacle blocking your route to the green. The key here is aim your body where you want the ball to start, then the club face a fraction right of where you want the ball to finish. Swing the golf club along your body line and trust your amendments. 

Does an open club face cause a slice?

If the club face is open to the path of your swing, you will create the sidespin that causes a slice. This usually happens if you are coming over the top at the start of the downswing. Matching up your club face to a neutral swing path is the key to hitting straight shots.

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth Golf Club she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.