How To Stop Toe Strikes

In this video, PGA pro Alex Elliott offers some simple advice on how to stop toe strikes from affecting your game

A golf driver lined up with a ball and a tee
(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

Failing to hit the middle of the club consistently is one of the main reasons amateurs struggle compared to their professional counterparts. And if you are struggling with toe strikes in particular, PGA pro Alex Elliott has some simple and effective advice for you in the video and article below...

Tee-peg drill

One of the simplest ways to address the problem of toe strikes is to add this straightforward drill to your practice routine. When working on your driving stick a tee in the ground about an inch right of the ball as below. (This becomes left of the ball for left-handers.) Once you've done that, address the outside tee peg with the middle of your driver and then feel like you're hitting that tee when swinging.

A golf driver lined up with a ball and a tee

Set up as if trying to hit the outside tee

(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

Over time, this will enable you to find the centre of the club more often. A word of warning, however. With the ball now lined up out the heel, it's important not to overdo this drill. I always recommend splitting range sessions into sets of five. So, hit three shots doing this drill then remove the outside tee for the final two. Really focus on the sensation of a middle strike so you're able to repeat the movement required more consistently.

A driver hitting a golf ball

Over time, this drill should help you find the middle of the face more often

(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

If you can't see your strike location, it's worth spraying your driver with a foot spray or marking your balls with a sharpie every couple of shots. This will reveal your impact pattern and give you feedback as you work towards becoming more adept at finding the middle of the face. 

Swing path

If the drill above hasn't given you the desired remedy, it's worth getting someone to check your swing path. In particular, if your swing is too steep, it's likely causing you to cut across the ball. This glancing blow through impact will more often than not result in a toe strike, which is why this affliction is a symptom of the dreaded slice.

A steep golf swing with a driver

A steep swing is likely to lead to toe strikes

(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

During the takeaway in the golf swing, work on keeping the club low to the ground, which should help you shallow out your driver swing. Practice this move and then, as you swing for real, try to drive the club from inside to outside the target line through impact. Again, this will enable you to stop cutting across the golf ball.

E-Learning Tutorial - Shoot Lower Scores!

E-Learning Tutorial - Shoot Lower Scores!

Are you interested in making lasting improvements to your golf game? Shoot Lower Scores is an online course from Golf Monthly designed to help you find power in your swing and hole more putts as well as how to avoid falling foul of the more challenging rules of golf. Whether you want to brush up your knowledge or learn something new; this tutorial is perfect.

Lack of extension

One of the key moves is the release in the golf swing. In particular, how your wrists and arms work through impact has a bearing on the energy you're able to unleash where it matters most - impact. 

John Jacobs demonstrating a chicken wing golf swing

A bent left arm through impact can cause you to cut across the ball and hit it out the toe

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

However, if your lead arm slightly bent, you’ll be drawing the club across the ball (so it moves from outside to inside the target line) and the result will often be a toe strike. Focus on driving the club through so you have a full left arm extension in this phase of the swing and it could help cure your toe strikes.

Hip clearance

PGA pro John Jacobs demonstrating how to clear your hips in the golf swing properly

Clearing your hips as part of a proper downswing sequence is vital 

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Something you often hear said about Rory McIlroy is that he rotates his hips for more power through impact. It's one of the things tour players do that you don't so here's how to improve this part of your swing. 

From the top, feel like you move your hips slightly towards the target before you start to unwind in the downswing. (If singling out the hips is too difficult, focusing on shifting the lower body might be easier.) Make sure you do this as part of a proper downswing sequence and this will ensure your weight is over your left side through the hitting zone for more powerful, centred strikes.

Alex Elliott
Top 50 Coach

Location: Mottram Hall 

Alex spent a great deal of time learning the game from fellow northwest golfer, Andrew Murray, who was a European Tour regular from 1979 to 1995. He spent three years on the European Tour caddying for Andrew’s son, Tom, before taking his PGA qualifications. His passion for the game and personality in front of the camera has helped him to create a thriving social media platform on Instagram and YouTube, where he offers a whole host of tips and advice to help viewers shoot lower scores.

Most significant influences on your teaching:

Mike Bender's book, 'Build The Swing Of A Lifetime', which I read during my PGA qualifications. He uses so many different tools to help students deliver the club better when hitting the golf ball. Andrew Murray, too. He helped form the way I interact with golfers and simplified what can be a complex game for a club golfer.

Advice for practice: 

I like to get students to work in sets of five golf balls – three drills shots to two course shots. The drill shots have no consequence, but with the two course shots, I ask the student to create a green or fairway and go through a full routine.

Greatest success story:

One of my students hadn’t played golf for ten years - he'd lost his love for the game. After watching my online Instagram and YouTube content, he came for several golf lessons and has now joined a local golf club. Knowing I've helped get someone back into golf... you can't beat that.