The effects of toe contact

by: B. J. Hathaway


Do you often find wear spots on the toe of your golf clubs? If so, this article will explain what happens to the club face at impact and the most likely cause of those nasty toe hits.

First let’s look at what happens at impact. Because the center of gravity in your golf club is exactly there (in the center), when the golf ball is struck on the toe the face will twist open causing the ball to start right of where you were aiming. This is due to the reaction of the club face in response to the center of gravity moving forward as the ball is struck. The center of the club keeps moving forward and the resistance of the ball at contact means the face must respond to where the center of the club is traveling. The following photo will make this more clear.

toe hit


As you can see, at the moment of contact the ball was struck on the toe, the face responds by twisting open. With longer clubs that have a deeper center of gravity (like hybrids and woods), the toe contact creates gear effect and can impart a spin in the opposite direction. When the face twists open or to the right, gear effect creates an spin in the opposite direction, or to the left for a right handed player. This is why toe hits with a driver can hook more than center face hits.

Typically the culprit in this off center contact is swing path. The player who hit this shot had a swing direction too much to the left (over the top) which pulled the club face across the ball causing the toe hit. If you struggle with toe hits try the following drill on the range.

Place two golf tees in the ground about 2-3 inches apart (facing you) so that one tee is further away from you than the other. Address the inside tee and make practice swings until you can hit the outside tee. This will help you learn to swing more from the inside on the down swing and flatten your swing plane through impact.

Watch the VIDEO HERE!