What Is Face Angle in Golf? And Why It’s Crucial

A golfer sets up a neutral face angle with their driver.

There are a lot of terminologies to learn when it comes to the game of golf. While there are a lot of terms you can get away with not knowing, “face angle” is one that you should have a good understanding of.

So, what is face angle in golf?

Face angle measures the face of the golf club in relation to being neutral or square when it makes contact with the golf ball. The face angle can be square, open, or closed. A neutral face angle is more likely to go straight, while open and closed angles can lead to slices and hooks respectively.

Face angle is an important concept to understand because it can help you fix your swing and give you the knowledge to hit different shots. Throughout this article, we’ll cover how square, open, and closed face angles affect the golf ball at impact, how to fix your face angle, and much more.

Why Is Face Angle Important in Golf?

The face angle is important because it has a direct impact on the type of spin put on a golf ball. An open face angle will often lead to a slice or push miss in relation to the target. A closed face angle will often lead to a hook or pull miss on a golf shot.

How Do You Measure Your Face Angle?

Most clubs default to having a square face angle as the standard option from the manufacturer. Many adjustable clubs offer the ability to move the face angle. The face angle is measured in degrees in relation to neutral. Adjustable clubs will offer a few degrees both open and closed to accommodate different players who have a common miss off of the clubface.

A player’s face angle at impact during a swing can be measured at most club fitting facilities. Players who sign up to receive a fitting will receive their swing statistics, which includes their most frequent clubface angle at impact with the ball when swinging.

What Is an Open Face in Golf?

An open face occurs when the clubface does not turn over through the golf ball at impact. The face will be measured in degrees to the right of the target for a right-handed player. This is reversed for a left-handed player, who would measure an open face in degrees left of the target.

An open clubface will lead to one of two misses. The player can keep the clubface consistently open through impact and hit the ball on a straight path to the right of their target. This is referred to as a push, but can also be called a block. The other miss occurs when a player makes impact with an open clubface but then turns their hands through the ball after impact, causing a slice.

Does an Open Face Cause a Slice?

The short answer is not always. An open face can cause a slice if the clubface cuts across the ball at impact, causing a left to right spin on the ball for a right-handed golfer. The face does have to be open at impact in order to cause a slice – a closed clubface that does not cut across the ball at impact will lead to a pull, which will be covered further later on.

An open clubface is one aspect of the swing that can lead to a slice. If a player is trying to diagnose the cause of their slice, the clubface angle is an area worth examining, but won’t necessarily fix the issue on its own. The club path, swing tempo, and other factors also come into play.

Why Is My Clubface Open at Impact?

An instructor helps a young golfer with her swing.

There are a couple of reasons why a clubface could be open at impact. The first area to look at is if the clubface is already open upon addressing the ball. It’s important to address the ball with a square face to avoid needing to compensate for this setup error.

Players’ swing path can also cause the clubface to be open at impact. If a player takes the club outside on the backswing, pushing the club away from their body, it creates a downswing that cuts across the golf ball unless the player makes a mid-swing adjustment. Unless a player flips their wrist through at impact, the face will not rotate enough to prevent a slice.

The action that a player takes with their wrists in a swing can also cause issues at impact with the clubface. Teachers often tell golfers to swing using the larger muscles in their bodies to increase consistency. When a swing relies on wrist action, the player can lag at impact if their timing is off, causing the face to make contact with the ball while in an open position.

What Is a Closed Face in Golf?

A closed face occurs when the club rotates too far through impact, or when the clubface is hooded. The term “hooded clubface” comes from the implication that the clubface is covering the top of the ball. The club doesn’t literally have to obstruct the view of the ball; the phrase is an analogy and the ball seems to be covered by the club in contrast to the view of an open face.

When the face of the club is closed, it will lead to one of two outcomes. If the clubface is rotating too quickly through the ball, it will cause a right to left spin on the ball for a right-handed player. This counterclockwise rotation will lead to a hook, especially when the clubface.

The other miss that can be caused by a closed clubface is a pull, which occurs when the face rotates the proper amount through the ball, but is hooded at impact. The rate of rotation on the clubface or a swing path going from the inside out to the right of the target can both cause a hook. However, when the clubface rotates a normal amount of degrees on a straight path, a pull will occur.

Does a Closed Clubface Cause a Hook?

A closed clubface certainly can contribute to a hook but is not the only reason that a player can create spin on the ball that results in a hook. A square clubface can still cause a hook if the player is taking the club from an inside position on the backswing and firing it out through the ball on a swing path to the right of the target for a right-handed player.

Players looking to diagnose the cause of their hook should first make sure that their clubface isn’t closed upon addressing the ball. This starts the swing off with an issue that will need to be compensated for by making adjustments mid-swing. Adjusting the swing leads to inconsistencies during a round by making the swinging motionless repeatable.

Next, players should make sure that their swing path isn’t too flat. A flat swing that goes around a player’s back instead of up towards their shoulder on the backswing relies on a lot of timing to ensure the clubface makes it back to square and rotates through the ball. This rotation often causes action in the wrists, which can lead to a flipping motion of the club through the ball.

Why Is My Clubface Closed at Impact?

A golfer holds their swing after teeing off on a hole.

There are a number of reasons why your clubface could be closed when making impact with the ball. The most frequent culprit for golfers is a breakdown in their wrist action while coming into the ball on the downswing. This can be amplified by setup and swing path, or can just occur as a result of the player’s follow-through.

When trying to address face position, it is easiest to begin by making sure that the club is square at the initial setup over the golf ball. Players who begin with the clubface closed at address can carry that face angle throughout the swing.

A player should also make sure that their swing isn’t too flat, or inside out. A flat swing can be easily described as one that takes the club on a low backswing that wraps around the player’s back.

Most standard descriptions of the swing path advise that the club should be closer to the player’s back shoulder instead of rotating around the player as an Olympic thrower rotates before release.

It should be noted that these are not universal fixes. Some players naturally have a swing path that is flatter. Other players address the ball with a closed face to compensate for a push. The only real universal tip for face angle at impact is to make sure that the swing is in proper tempo, meaning the player doesn’t rush and cause the club to drastically lag the movement of the torso.

How Do I Fix My Face Angle?

We have covered a few adjustments players can make in order to help issues with face angle. Additionally, working with a PGA Professional can really make a world of difference in the swing. The extra set of eyes analyzing your swing will help, and a trained professional can tell you what is causing your face angle and what you can do to adjust.

Solutions can range anywhere from an equipment issue to a practice regiment. If your clubs have technical setups that are feeding into your swing faults, making an equipment adjustment can make a world of difference. Drills can help players with the kick point in the swing and help the club release properly with the correct amount of lag on the downswing.

Every player has their own unique challenges in their swing. The face angle is a highly impacted statistic, meaning that many factors lead to the final result that appears when a player is doing swing analysis. Consult a professional, work diligently on the range, and then apply the guidance you receive to your on-course play. Most importantly, be patient and forgiving with yourself.

What Is a Square Face in Golf?

The holy grail for hitting line drive bullets straight at the pin, a square face occurs when the clubface runs directly parallel with the imaginary line from the golf ball to the player’s feet. The square clubface is pointed straight to the target through impact.

It’s worth noting that even the best players in the world do not hit the ball with a square face every single swing. Most higher-tier golfers actually play their shot to accommodate a slightly open or closed face angle. This is why you hear announcers on golf coverage on television state that a player prefers to hit a draw or fade as their normal ball flight.

Ideally, players try to make impact with the ball as squarely as possible, learn what their usual tendency is, and play a swing that accommodates the fact that they are human and not a Callaway swing robot with programmed perfection. Whatever keeps the ball in play and as predictable as possible will get the job done. Don’t get stuck on perfection!

Steven G.

My name is Steven and I love everything sports! I created this website to share my passion with all of you. Enjoy!

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