Matching club face and path

Dan McCracken – NYC

Some golfers slice, some golfers hook, and others may push or pull the ball.  Some golfers may even suffer from all four of those directional misses. Regardless of what your miss is, all golfers miss their target at times.  The first step to correcting these misses is understanding why they happened. To find these answers, it’s best to get yourself in a simulator and start charting your club face and club path numbers.  These data points tell the story of why your ball flew where it did, so let’s dig in.

Perhaps the best place to start is with this fact that you are not going to hit the ball perfectly straight consistently.  Almost every golf ball struck will have some degree of curvature to it, certainly some more than others.  So with that said, I believe the best players own their curvature so that they can consistently shape their golf ball towards their intended target.  

The data point I like to look at first is the club face angle.  Where the club face is pointing at the moment of impact is the primary controller of the ball’s starting direction.  So if your club face is open you’ll almost always push the ball, and if it’s closed you’ll almost always pull the ball.  Regardless of what you do, it’s only a bad thing if it curves away from your target (or a better way to phrase it for the more advanced player, over-curving your target).  When it comes to which way your ball is curving, we now need to take a look at club path.

The club path angle refers to the direction the club head is moving at the moment of impact.  Golfers tend to swing either inside-out or outside-in. For a right handed golfer, inside-out would mean swinging more to the right which would generally create a hook or draw bias.  Golfers who fade or slice the ball generally swing outside-in, for the right handed golfer this is swinging more to the left. So to figure out how to curve the ball the way we want to, we need to look at the relationship between club face and club path.

The ball flights I generally like to help create with most students would be push-draws or pull-fades.  So if your ball is going to curve to the left, I want it to start to the right and vice versa. The relationship I like to see is about a 2:,1 path to face.  So if your path is 4 degrees inside-out, I want your club face 2 degrees open. Same goes for the other side of the spectrum. The bigger that match-up gets, say 10 inside-out and 5 open, the more curvature you’ll see, but it should still end up pretty close to your target.  To be able to apply your natural ball flight to as many situations as possible, I usually like to see less curvature than more.

There are many variables that go into changing your club face and club path.  You can look at grip, club face alignment, body alignments, ball position, dynamic posture, pressure shift in the feet, take away, hand path, arm structure and many more things.  If you find yourself lost or overwhelmed, that’s what our 5i Golf Pro’s are here for. However if you choose to walk the road alone, remember that face angle controls starting direction.  If your path is left of the face angle, the ball will curve right and vice versa. This knowledge is the starting point to make real change in your ball flight.

You can book a lesson with Dan in NYC by clicking here.

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Weekend Warmup

Weekend Warmup

The Weekend Warmup is a series of fun, ladies-only clinics held on Friday nights at Five Iron Golf’s Baltimore, Chicago, New York (Flatiron) and Philadelphia locations. Tickets include an hour and a half group lesson, two free drinks, and a bunch of new friends to play golf with or hit the town with!

Grueter Golf x Five Iron

Grueter Golf (GG) is on a mission to encourage more women to enter the golf world by creating lighthearted golf content and organizing beginner-friendly outings & female-driven, golf-centric social events for golfers of all skill levels. Whether the event is ladies-only or coed, the vibe is friendly and encourages all attendees to appreciate the game in a fun, non-competitive setting. 

Five Iron Golf is GG’s “home club,” where we take lessons, throw parties, and meet up with friends for a round of golf (or a round of drinks) any time of year. Being a golf nut in the middle of Manhattan is hard– the winters are long and cold, and it’s often tough to make it out to an outdoor golf course. Five Iron’s casual setting and convenient locations make it the ideal setting for beginner golfers and pros alike. 


The Grueter Golf Ladies Club

We want our girls to be golfing 24/7, so members of the Grueter Golf Ladies Club receive exclusive discounts at Five Iron Golf. Perks include 20% discount on all sim rentals, beverages and lessons as well as the opportunity to play on Grueter Golf’s league team every season. 

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Sip & Swing

Five Iron’s Women’s Golf Clinic

Whether you’ve never picked up a golf club or you’re an avid player, join us to work on your game while enjoying an open bar, food and giveaways! We’ll warm up with some beverages and instruction from PGA professionals who are ready to help you learn and improve your game.

Don’t have golf clubs? No problem. We have complimentary sets at each of our locations for right-handed and left-handed players.

Upcoming Events: 

  • Sunday, April 5 – 5-7 pm 
  • Friday, June 12 – 6-8pm  
  • Thursday, August 20 – 6-8pm 
  • Sunday, October 18 – 5-7pm 
  • Sunday, December 6 – 5-7pm
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Ball Position

Matt Brady – Chicago

Ball position is considered a fundamental for many instructors, including myself. But, there are conflicting schools of thought. Let’s clear the air and see which one works for you and why. I was taught as a kid that wedges through 7 iron are played in the middle of your stance, 6 iron through 3 wood is played a ball or two more towards our left foot and the driver is played just inside your left foot or left knee. Other instructors emphasize more of a singular ball position in line with your left ear or the logo on a golf shirt. There are benefits to doing either method. The first method is the variable ball position. Benefits would, this can help ensure more of a downward strike into the ball in the middle of your stance using shorter irons which could help create better and cleaner contact. On the other hand a stable ball position means its a constant in your swing and requires less thinking with one less variable to be conscious of. This could help if you’re still in the learning phase. Now my favorite method or way of thinking was made famous by Jack Nicklaus and republished in Golf Digest in 2010. He thinks about keeping the ball position just left of center with the only adjustment being the width of his stance. It may look like he’s playing the ball in different spots but it’s only because his feet are closer together for short irons and progressively wider as the club he’s using gets longer. These are three very distinct methods of ball position, all have pros and cons. I would encourage any new player or even scratch golfers to play around with these and see what you have the most success with. After all, it’s your golf game, your swing, and your puzzle to put together.

You can book a lesson with Matt in Chicago by clicking here.

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Connection and Efficiency in the golf swing

Matt Brady – Chicago

Connection and Efficiency are hot button words when it comes to the golf swing. If you’ve ever taken a golf lesson or spent time browsing youtube videos, odds are you’ve heard one, if not both mentioned before. Lets define what these mean in very general terms then dive into how they apply to the golf swing.  

Connection is defined as a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else, easy to understand right? In the golf swing this is most often referenced in the relationship between the players arms and their body. Meaning that for most players we would like to see the arms establish and maintain connection throughout the swing from static setup positions to the backswing and through the contact point with the golf ball. There are minor exceptions to this rule, but not as much as you might think. The player that comes to mind is Justin Thomas, he has very high hands at the top of his swing and it looks like his arms come away from his body and they do just a bit. But, one of his first moves to the downswing is to reconnect his arms to his body and maintain that connection through the hitting zone. So, the question begs itself, how do you get better connection through the swing? There are lots of ways and things you can focus on, whether it be the right elbow tucked into your rib cage at address and keeping it close to your body back and through the swing, or feeling your left arm across your chest at the top of the swing. The answer is, whatever helps you get the repeatable ball flight that you want is the correct way to do it. 

The second part of this post is about efficiency, its defined as, achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource. This points us back to the first part of the post. Connection and efficiency, for my money, are very similar when it comes to the swing itself,and you cannot have one without the other. Yes, they can be referring to different portions of the golf swing, but start with the connection piece mentioned above and I hope this helps clear up any fuzzy thoughts you had about these. Lets keep it simple and find more fairways.

You can book a lesson with Matt in Chicago by clicking here.

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Tuning Up Your Tempo

Dan McCracken – NYC

Tuning Up Your Tempo 

Everyone wants a good tempo to their golf swing, but what are you doing to improve yours?  When it comes to playing good golf consistently, I would make the case that your tempo/timing is as important as your swing mechanics, maybe more.  Proper swing mechanics allows a golfer to generate their desired ball flight. Once a golfer is capable of hitting a good shot, the focus then shifts to the ability to repeat that good shot.  When it comes to putting something on repeat, it’s all about timing. If a golfer can improve the consistency of their timing, they can improve the consistency of their ball flight.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “swing smooth” before.  I’m sure you’ve also been told to not rush the club back in the takeaway.  What you might be surprised to hear is that most people suffer from swinging the club back too slow.  Yes, when I see students struggle with tempo it is almost always a result of them swinging the club back much too slowly.  Allow me to explain. Club head speed creates ball speed and distance. The faster we swing the club, the farther we can hit the ball.  In most full swing golf shots, the player is looking to generate a considerable amount of club speed. So if you focus on taking the club back slowly, this puts all the speed generation responsibility on your downswing.  When this happens we create an inefficient tempo. Generally this is the culprit when a golfer mentions they felt rushed or quick during a swing.  A golfer who needs to work overtime to build speed in the downswing will almost always lose control over their arm and wrist structure.  This is how poor tempo can result in poor technique.

The phrase I like to use with students is this: “Free up the backswing.  There is no need to rush, but we want momentum built with our backswing. If we can build some momentum, this will allow us to transition smoothly and control our body through the ball.”  If you’re waiting until you get to the top of your backswing to crank up the speed, you’re most likely in trouble. Controlling your change of direction from backswing to downswing is vital to quality ball striking.  If you are working to create force at this moment, you’ve most likely lost control.

For a long time, working on your tempo meant experimenting somewhat aimlessly with different feelings.  Now, with the help of technology like Blast Motion Golf, we can measure and quantify our tempo. Tempo is the ratio of your backswing time to your downswing time.  By placing these sensors on the best players in the world, Blast Motion learned the average tempo for a professional golfer is somewhere between 2:1 and 3:1 depending on whether they are holding a wedge or putter vs. a driver.  As we see people struggle with their tempo, that ratio usually grows 4:1 and above. Slower backswings resulting in worse shots.  

What we can take away from all this is that we are trying to achieve a balanced and efficient tempo.  If you plan on swinging down fast, don’t swing back slowly. Also, in your search for consistency allow your timing to take center stage.  Consistent tempo generally leads to consistent technique, this does not always prove true the other way around. Whatever comes the most naturally to you will always almost be the easiest thing to repeat.  So own your tempo, keep your transition smooth and have fun out there.

You can book a lesson with Dan in NYC by clicking here.

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The Five Iron Membership

Anyone and everyone can walk into a 5i and (availability permitting) be hitting balls in minutes; there are no membership requirements. That being said, we created what we like to call a “too-good-to-be-true” membership package giving players unlimited hitting time during our Off-Peak hours and discounts on other Five Iron offerings. Five Iron’s NYC Director of Membership Jeff Ferris has been with us since its inception and is largely to thank for growing our membership into what is now the Five Iron community. Our members play in our leagues, rep our swag on the course, and bring their company events to us. The membership allowed us to build something that others have come to love as a sanctuary and a reprieve from their busy day has been incredibly important to our growth so we caught up with Jeff to discuss what makes the 5i membership so unique.


Can you tell us about the 5i membership?

While membership is not required to enjoy all that Five Iron Golf has to offer… It is the first indication that you share our familial motivation, dedication, and appreciation for this silly and perplexing game. Our goal is to provide an inclusive urban golf experience that allows all walks of life the opportunity to “master” golf. As a Five Iron Golf Member, you are entitled to the following: Membership Perks


Does it benefit players of certain levels more than others? 

We are confident that golfers of every level can benefit from a Five Iron membership. Whether you intend to learn the basics, are seeking private instruction, want immediate data-driven feedback, or just a moment to escape the stressors of city living, Five Iron is there for you.


What are some memories that stick with you from your years of managing memberships? 

There are too many priceless memories to name. It’s the random introductions that magically evolve into friendships and on-course foursomes, the trials and tribulations of everyone’s pursuit of perfection, the excitement of a career round or individual achievement, the competitiveness, the ongoing inside jokes, the unexpected post-swing profanity, the non-golf networking, the HOLE-IN-ONES, the 6AM money matches, the laughs, the “I need a lesson NOW,” the Five Iron loyalty, the utter love of the game, our team’s dedication, and the fact that it’s all happening in the middle of Manhattan!


Is there anything that makes the Five Iron membership special to you? 

I whole-heartedly believe that our shared struggles are what bring us back day to day. Life in NYC will inevitably train you to persevere. And nothing is more inspiring to me than a packed house at 6AM in the middle of winter. This is a testament to the dedication that golf demands. This sport can provide a lifetime of emotion (fear, confidence, elation, disappointment, anger, and humor) in just 18 holes. Real or simulated, we are all searching for our next best shot.


Has managing the 5i membership taught you anything? 

Be a friend first. We all started somewhere and this game will drive you mad if you “go it alone.”


What can you say about the 5i members? 


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