How To Stop Toe Strikes

Swing Path

If you are suffering with toe strikes, your first check point should be your swing path. In particular to check if your swing is too steep and if you are cutting across the ball – these are two of the main causes behind toe strikes. If the club is moving from outside to inside the ball to target line, you’ll create a glancing blow through impact that’s likely to come from the toe of the club. If this is the issue for you, it is worth knowing that toe strikes and slices go hand-in-hand.  To help, keep the club low to the ground during the first phase of the swing – this should shallow out the plane helping the clubhead to work on a much better path. 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 help you to stop cutting across the ball. Get a friend to video your swing to see if it looks too steep and if you’re cutting across the ball. If so, these swing pointers should work.

swing path for toe strikes

The alignment stick pointing left shows the path of the club through impact for those players who are cutting across the ball

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Dynamic balance

Where your weight is positioned at address has a huge bearing on how the club works during the swing. If you are sat back on your heels at address, the momentum of the swing will cause the club to be pulled away from the ball. Without making any particular wrong moves, you’ll strike the ball from the toe all too often. To set your weight over the balls of your feet, stand upright, then lower your upper body over the ball by bending at the hips and finally, allow your knees to flex. Crucially, you do not want your bottom to move away from the ball as you set your posture. If you are in the right position – with your weight over the balls of your feet – there should be a spread hands with between your thigh and the butt end of the club at address. This is the perfect address position.

marked ball for toe strikes

If you need to identify if you are striking the ball from the toe of the club, you can spray the face of your driver with athlete’s foot spray and then hit some shots. Or you can put some marks on your golf balls as shown above. This will reveal your shot pattern and can actually help you get a feel for how to stop toe strikes.

How to stop cutting across the ball

bent left arm toe strikes

This image illustrates a bent left arm through impact. This can cause you to cut across the ball and hit toe strikes

Lack of extension

One of the key moves in the golf swing is the way you release the angles in your wrists through impact. This allows you to inject important energy at the key phase of the swing – the contact. However, a good release also requires your left arm to straighten as you make contact with the ball. If yours is 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 toe strikes

This images illustrates how the correct hip clearance through impact should look

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Hip clearance

It’s something you often hear said about Rory McIlroy… That is, how well he clears hips and the rotational speed this creates through impact. However, as players (and this is often a good player fault) search for better hip clearance, they actually spin out of the shot, causing the club to cut across the ball. Again, this creates an out-to-in swing path and a toe contact. So when it comes to how to stop toe strikes, make sure your hips move slightly towards the target at the start of the downswing before the turn. This will ensure your weight is over your left side through the contact for more powerful, centred strikes.