Stop Slicing, Pushing and Blocking Golf Shots

Blocked Golf ShotThis post about slicing and blocking in golf is in response to several requests related to a previous golf lesson video on my YouTube Channel about how to stop coming over the top. It is quite common to fix one problem in the golf swing like “coming over the top” on the downswing, and then start a new problem like blocking or pushing the golf ball.

These new missed shots may be straight pushes or even push slices. Blocking and pushing the golf ball stems from the change in clubface position when dropping the club farther inside. Basically the clubface is more open relative to the ball caused by dropping the club farther to the inside on the corrected, shallower downswing plane. When the shaft drops behind the player onto a flatter plane, it leaves the clubface facing upward toward the sky half way down.

If the player is not aware of or not expecting that change, it can be frustrating to watch every shot go right after supposedly getting on the ideal swing plane. The secret is to make the necessary adjustment in wrist and clubface action to deal with the new flatter plane.

A key checkpoint is the half-way position in the downswing once the hands are about waist high. It is imperative that the right palm is beginning to face down as the back of the left hand is also facing down toward the ground. This is part of the infamous pronation and supination referred to in descriptions of Ben Hogan’s downswing and impact positions.

Picture turning your watch face down toward the ground during the downswing, assuming you are a right handed golfer wearing a watch on the left arm. Another way to see it and feel it is to turn the knuckles of the left hand downward so they face the ground and are essentially out of view at the waist-high position coming down.

This move will square up the face quickly to deliver a solid blow at impact using the newly onplane swing. Just remember, when you turn the knuckles down, the shaft cannot be allowed to kick outside or you will be  over-the-top again on an outside/in swing path that may shank or pull the ball.

Watch the golf video lesson below to Get Hermanized and learn how to stop blocking and avoid the slice and push shot in golf. Enjoy … and post your comments.

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  1. I have spent the last 3 months with a horrible blocking problem. I started the year with a 10 index which will soon be 18-20 if I don’t turn things around. Two lessons and many, many buckets of balls later, I had 6 blocks in my last round. I’ve been so frustrated, I was ready to quit the game after playing regularly for the last 40 years. I read your tip about having the back of the hand face the ground and had to try it out. Just got back from the range after hitting 2 buckets of very solid shots with not 1 block. While my instructors gave me a lot of good advice regarding swing plane (I tend to be a little too much below plane), ball position (I played it too far right) and especially balance (too much on heals), the watch face down was never brought up. While I’ve yet to take it to the course, I’m actually excited about playing again, as I think you nailed it. Wish me luck!

  2. Excellent video Herman…I’ve use the mantra “Hinge & Roll” for quite some time when I would block shots…Most of the instructional videos I’ve watched seem to discount the idea of concentrating on the left wrist coming through, similar to a top spin shot in tennis, as too unreliable…Most instructional vids talk about getting closer to the ball or moving the hands back a bit on the release…I’ve had good success with concentrating on turning my left hand down and it’s great to hear an instructor offering that advice to any player who struggles with blocking the shot…Tony

  3. My standard miss is a push, and I think I came to the same conclusion. However instead of squaring up on the downswing I just close or hood the club a little on the takeaway and hold what I got. My halfway back position is probably a little more than 30* closed and goes against almost every instructional I’ve read (vertical or just slightly closed halfway back.) Am I grooving a bad habit? I’m not hooking at all.
    Thanks for your sensible, easy to understand videos.

    • Dustin Johnson has been pretty successful with a closed clubface in the backswing. I think you understand enough about what’s going on to be ok. The key is not to mix up your release style with what the neutral clubface guys are doing.

  4. Hi Mr.Herman ,

    I m Michael , having the block shot to the right consistently , doing this drill and the shot back straight and sometimes hook , wondering is there any timing issue regarding the clubface at impact . Flat wrist at impact and all the way through finish ? Do i need to change my swing path to play better ?


    • If you’ve got the wrist flat and still hitting shots offline look at the grip to be sure face is square at start of swing and ten look at swing path. sometimes if path is too much “in to out” you will hit straight pushes and occasional fades. If you try too hard to over-correct a path issue by closing the face at impact it might create the hooks you refer to. At the end of the day you have to process both face and path together and make sure they are both fairly neutral. Regards. – Herman

  5. Hi Herman,

    I just wanted to thank you. I watched your video about rolling over my knuckles to make sure my clubface closed through my swing. It totally helped. Massively. I had a great round at a track I don’t normally play. Just the small change helped me not only not block with my driver, but stay square with my irons and wedges too. So once again, I thank you

    Alan Handel

  6. Thanks Herman – love your instruction – very clear and helpful. I’m working on maintaining a flat top wrist throughout my swing – an earlier tip of yours. It’s great for clubface control and virtually eliminates slicing, You have now helped me with my occasional blocked shot. Thanks again. Peter

      • I’ve been hitting the ball on the heal all year. My issue always has been coming from too much on the inside and hitting some pushes and duck hooks.

        I’ve been trying to ‘hold off’ on irons, especially wedges, sort of like Zack Johnson in order to hit more fade type iron shots.

        Well, the shanks have started along with all heal shots. Your video makes it clear that my issue is not turning down my left hand with the right getting on top.

        The issue is that it seems that this results in closing the club face to where I’m just going to smother iron shots.

        Ironically, I’ve never hit better, controlled drivers ever.

        Thanks much for the great instruction.

        Jim Battinus

  7. Hello Herman,

    Thank you for the great lesson that you give. I do have a question though, I am really struggling with a hook. I do have a strong grip, meaning that you can see three to four knuckles on my left hand but I do get the right hand on top of the grip. I do have a takeaway that is a bit inside but you may stay differently if you saw it of course. Some of the things i have tried is shorting my backswing, gripping a little tighter with my left hand, and a bit more body rotation and leg drive. What are some ways in which I can learn to hit the ball a bit straight but not change my grip?

    Again Thank you

    p.s I am coming to Raleign for a wedding June 22 if you got any lesson times available.

    • Without changing the grip you must do things that keep your body basically outrunning the tendency for the face to close. you can do any or all of the following.
      1) more pronounced lateral shift in forward swing – watch Tom Lehman
      2) faster hip turn in downswing – basically spin the body fast enough to leave the club hanging open – David Duval, Zach Johnson, Paul Azinger
      3) tuck the right elbow more beneath the left arm thru impact – right arm still bent during the actual strike – Dustin Johnson

  8. I used to be a scratch golfer and uses to crush the driver. Not long,260 average or so, but exactly where I was aiming. It was either a small fade straight or a draw. I almost ways set up to hit the draw and if I missed like I said it would be a aright fade but was never far off where I was aiming. Not the worst problem to have. I’ve alway had a pretty flat swing, so one day a I felt I wanted a more upright swing in hopes to gain some distance along with the purchase of a new driver r11 tp. At first it was to bad but I started to notice a bit of a push/push fade which started to get worse and worse. On attempts to fix it, as I knew it had something to do with the squareness of the face I started coming over the top(not on purpose),2 years later and it’s ugly. 🙁 I’m shorting in the consistent 80’s and through a lot of frustration I’ve had to reevaluate my goals. It’s mostly the driver because as its teed up I fell like I’m undercutting it, high push fades. When I use other clubs I feel the gound and seem to be able to square it up easier.

    After seening this vid I feel excited to try the technique you suggested. I’m about to go to bed and I have butterflies I’m so excited to try this. I’m hoping this will be the swing thought I’ve neede all this time. I only with I sought this info sooner. I’ve taken pride on going at this game alone and accomplishing what success I have had. I’ll keep you posted. What you said was so simple and I’m not sure why I couldn’t figure it out. Anyways thanks for the tip and for liting the fire under me again.

  9. Hi Herman,
    I started using your videos last summer and my swing finally changed from over the top to an inside strike . Now I’m hooking or drawing the ball a little to much, is there an easy fix?

    • Ken, that’s what we usually like to see. In other words, make the proper corrections, start hooking the ball and then move to the next adjustment to counteract the hook. The thing you need to try to figure out is whether the shaft is leaning targetward at impact with the hands in front of the ball. If your divots are past the ball you are probably ok. If you are sweeping and the shots are too high, then you may be scooping at impact with the clubhead out past the hands. If this is happening it will close the face before contact and hook it. Therefore, start training to get the hands past the ball to delay the closing.

      If all that impact stuff is good — leaning shaft, good divot, good trajectory, etc. — then you want to look at getting more aggressive at shifting and clearing the hips & core to basically outrun the golf club a little more. This will change the timing of the face and get you back on track. Ultimately, I like to see all my players develop “great hands” with good clubface control and the ability to hook the ball; then teach them the body motions to match the hand action for piercing shots with only minimum draw or fade. Good luck. – Herman

  10. Hi Herman,

    I’m a big fan out your teachings and I could use your help. I am a 2 handicap and have always taken the club to far to the inside on the backswing but still played quite well. Anyway, I got into a funk recently and had a lesson here in Missouri and was told to take the club straighter back on backswing, which I know is more on plane, but since then, I am just hitting a lot of high blocks to right or high slice to right. Please help. Any suggestions??? Thank you so much.


    • BW, thanks for stopping by. The change you made will likely be a good idea long term. But for now you probably face one of two possibilities.

      1) You are taking it back straighter or even outside, and then because it feels weird you are re-routing like Furyk on downswing just enough to catch the ball a little more from the inside with the face slightly open. When the club lays back on the flatter downswing path, the face lays back more skyward and behaves as if it’s open. Since your old takeaway was inside, it’s not likely you made downswings that were more inside than the path you took going up, so you didn’t have this problem in the old swing.

      2) You are taking it back straight or slightly outside, and because you always were too far inside in the past, you have grooved an over-the-top move that now cuts across the ball. It’s possible the old swing took it back inside and then went just over-the-top enough to be on plane on the downswing. Sam Snead played this way. In other words you have a new backswing and the same old downswing, and they don’t fit. Better players like yourself who are over-the-top tend to instinctively react in mid-downswing by trying to tuck in the clubhead back inside just prior to impact. Now the hands are technically too far outside and the clubhead is too far inside. (looks like the old takeaway position but now on downswing) The tucking in move is what opens the face and causes high, weak, right result. A 20-handicapper comes over-the-top and makes no last ditch compensations so he still hits it solid but pulls it and/or hits a pull-cut.

      Hope this helps explain it. If you don’t get anywhere with it, get some good film and signup for one of my online lessons.


  11. Herman i have a natural draw, although recently with some of my drives i have been blocking them out right. They aren’t slicing but are just staying out there. So i was wondering if you could help fix my problem thanks.

    • Fraser, thanks for commenting. Your push/block can likely be corrected by altering your swing path slightly. You likely are flattening out and swinging too much “in to out” on your downswings with your clubface looking in the same direction as the path. Visualize finishing more around your body to the left on tee shots and see if it pulls your shots back on line. Good luck. – Herman

  12. Herman: Am enjoying the videos. Most of the videos, however, address the generic swing. Would you please address the swing plane differences and other relevant swing differences between the pitching wedge and the driver? Thanks.

    • Hi Herman,

      Enjoyed your videos. Your explanations are simple and, therefore, easy to understand. I live in Sydney Australia – what a great invention the internet is. My handicap ranges from 4 to 8, unfortunately.

      My problem in golf is that my hips are often too active (this often results in an “over the top swing”) and I lose the connect with the torso and and clubhead.

      I would like to ask about the downswing and follow through. I agree with your advice which mirrors the traditional approach in golf instruction. Of course timing and co-ordination in the golf swing are everything even with a text book swing.

      To assist with timing and co-ordination do you advise (1) dropping your arms simultaneously with the ‘bump’ on the downswing (2) having the torso, shoulders and hips on the same angle – i.e. pointing away from the target – when the hands are at hip height (3) having near level shoulders at impact – in contrast to a high left shoulder (4) generally having the hands opposite the sternum throughout the entire swing (5) having the torso and hips turn on the same plane past impact.

      At impact should the forward leg remain flexed and straighten only after the ball is on its way (perhaps I have a tendency to prematurely raise up during the swing)?

      Hope these questions make sense. Do you give video lessons?



      • 1) Yes … arms drop simultaneously with bump
        2) With hands at hip height – belt buckle is likely facing the ball, chest and shoulders still “closed” pointing behind ball
        3) Impact – I generally want a high left shoulder and low right
        4) For most players, yes, hands opposite sternum. However flexible player may outrun the hands in downswing with sternum out in front.
        5) Post-impact plane for torso/hips – Trailing hip tends to thrust upward in dynamic powerful swings and hips get very level while torso remains bent over to the side toward the ball. It’s not necessarily good for our bodies, but is how the best players in the world tend to hit.

        Hope this helps. Yes video lesson is available. Check this link:


  13. Great video’s Herman,

    I need some on getting more flexibility in back. I’m about 5’5 and can only get my hands about should height in back swing. Also when i try and hinge more my left arm tends to break down or bend more at elbow.

    • I assume you mean how to hit an intentional fade? There are a number of things you can do to influence it. But a simple start is to keep a little firmer grip pressure in left hand for a right-handed player. The release of the clubface will usually be delayed or a little less pronounce and can be enough to create a little movement in the flight. Additionally, modifying the setup is a simple way without changing the swing. Try aiming your stance and body lines left of target with clubface slightly open at address. Then swing along your stance line. Don’t get suckered in to swing toward the target or you will hit a push fade that finishes right of target.

  14. Hey Herman, in this video about blocking shots versus the video on casting, you reference that when your hands reach waist high, you should begin the release by rotating the left forearm. Yet in the casting video you demonstrate holding the rotation until your hands have passed your thigh. I know its not exact and the difference in time is fractional but you could please clarify.
    I am hooked on your videos!

    • Pete, thanks for watching and commenting. My initial answer would be these two videos are intended for separate audiences, and the decision for what to do is based more on your current ball flight and swing tendencies. It’s rare to need both of these cures at the same time. For instance if you are a caster, you need to hold things as long as possible, assuming it will initially be tough to change it at all. We want maximum exaggeration until we’re convinced you’re cured or at least have it managed. Once you can lag fairly well, you may find you hit more blocks or fades. At that point I really consider you a different player, and then it may be time to entertain the “knuckles down” move from the blocking video or some other technique to help you square the face in time. As your capability to close the face improves, we may go back and lag more and delay when you close it. For the most advanced players who can quickly close the face we’ll generally make these moves later (maybe after the hands pass the hip) and typically generate more swing speed. Of course then there’s Dustin Johnson who has it completely closed already at the top of his backswing and only has to drop his arms and clear his body. Good luck and stay in touch. – Herman

  15. Just came across your youtube lessons. Very impressive! The release video along with the Blocked shot one are definitely something I’m going to try this weekend. Would love to see a video on the backswing if there isn’t one already.
    Teaching is a gift and you’ve got it!

  16. I’ve been struggling with pushes all season. Well struck shots that miss the green have hurt my consistency in scoring. Searching for ideas or tips to try and this one sounds like one that I will give a try.

  17. Come to Ireland and give me a lesson will ya. I’m sick of taking lessons after which I ‘m still coming over the top. Spent a fortune, watched videos, read books. I’ll pay for your hotel.

  18. Great video. That simple lesson really helped me out.

    PS I had you replace a broken shaft last week and it feels great! Thanks for the good work.