Golf Shots Going to the Left But Straight: Faults and Fixes

Quick tips for when your shots fly left of the target on a straight line

Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros in 1994
'It went that-a-way.'. Stephen Munday/Getty Images

Are you hitting lots of golf shots that start out left of the target and continue flying left, on a straight line, until they land left of your intended landing area? If you are right-handed, you are pulling the ball or pulling the shot; if you are left-handed, you are pushing the ball or pushing the shot.

Below, golf instructor Roger Gunn gives us a checklist of possible causes for these types of mishits, but the faults and fixes differ depending on the golfer's handedness.

Right-Handed Golfer Hitting it Left But on Straight Line is Hitting a Pull

A right-hander whose ball starts to the left and flies left with no additional curve left (a straight shot to the left of the intended target) is hitting a pull. The divot, if there is one, will match the ball's direction.

Here is Roger Gunn's checklist for a right-handed golfer hitting a pull:

  • Grip: Not normally a factor.
  • Set-up: Watch out for aiming too far left, or your shoulders might be pointing too far left.
  • Ball Position: The ball might be too far forward (toward the front foot) in your stance. This causes you to catch the ball when the club is swinging back to the left.
  • Backswing: The club is likely being pushed outside the target line on the way back. The club should track a gentle arc on the way back. The club should be over your shoulder at the top, nor over your head.
  • Downswing: Your arms might be pushing away from the body at the transition into the downswing. Keep your arms in so that they pass close to your right pants pocket on the approach to impact. Make sure your head doesn't move toward the target until after impact.

    Left-Handed Golfer Hitting it Left But on Straight Line is Hitting a Push

    A left-hander whose shots start to the left of the target line and continue flying left, on a straight line (not curving left), is hitting a push. Again, the divot, if there is one, will match the ball's direction.

    Here is Roger Gunn's checklist for a left-handed golfer hitting a push:

    • Grip: The grip is not normally a factor with a push.
    • Set-up: Make sure you aren't aiming too far to the left of the target line, or that your shoulders are aligned too far to the left.
    • Ball Position: You might have the ball too far back in the stance. This causes you to make contact when the club is still swinging to left field.
    • Backswing: You could be taking the club back too far inside, pulling the club away from the target line. The club should track a gentle arc on the way back, not a rapid arc to the inside of the target line.
    • Downswing: The club might be swinging too much to left field at impact. Your left shoulder could be dropping too soon and/or your hips might be sliding toward the target, preventing the club from swinging back around to the right. Make sure your head doesn't move to the left in the downswing.

    Just keep in mind that the video is discussing a push shot from the perspective of a right-hander, so lefties will need to reverse the directional elements that are mentioned.