My Golf Instructor
Sign up for the Ask Maria Featured Question of the Day
By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy.

Question on Diagnosing Problems:

I am a right handed golfer. When I hit a drive my ball starts out straight but then fades off to the right and I am losing some distance. What do I need to do to correct this?
--Curtis H. from Amarillo, TX

Hi Curtis. Thanks for writing

Direction is always a combination of path and face angle at impact. If your ball is starting straight (without seeing your swing) it's safe to assume that your path is probably pretty good, but that your face is slightly open at impact. The other possibility though is that your path is slightly across and the face is open. Combined they could make the ball start slightly left or possibly straight and then the ball drops to the right.

Your divots will give you the best read on your path. The next time you play study them and see if they are pointing down your target line or to the right or left.

In the meantime I would focus on trying to get the face more square at impact. It could be open for a variety of reasons and among them are:

1) Weak grip
2) Cupped wrists and open face at the top
3) Blocking through impact with the body or arms

I would go down the list and check your grip first. Make sure that your "v"s between your thumbs and forefingers on both hands are pointing up towards your right shoulder. That may mean that you need to crank your forearms over to the right at address.

Next, go to the top of your swing and without standing up simply turn your head to look at your hands and make sure that the back of your left hand is in line or flat with your forearm.

The last thing I would do is work on drills to make sure you are staying behind the ball (not sliding in front of it before impact) and turning your body properly while also releasing your forearms.

These drills may help:

Roll Down Drill
Rear Foot Only Drill

You can find them here:


Other Related Tips on Diagnosing Problems
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
- Golf Questions
Golf instruction made simple
Golf Overview
Overall Game
- Getting Started
- Equipment
- Golf Fitness
- Junior Golf
- Mental Game
- Practice
- Rules of Golf
Short Game
- Bunkers
- Chipping
- Pitching
- Putting
Full Swing
- Pre-Swing Fundamentals
- Shot Making
- Diagnosing Problems
- Driving
- Hybrids and Woods
- Irons
Playing Golf
Ball Striking
- Fitness (78)
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
- Driving (68)
- Putting (127)
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
- Lack of Distance (108)
- Putting Accuracy (72)
Swing Plane
- Blocking (50)
- Inside Out (56)
- Outside In (59)
- Over the Top (49)
- Pulling (54)
- Pushing (66)
- Releasing Early (47)
The Swing
- Grip (65)
- Alignment (55)
- Balance (50)
- Ball Position (80)
- Posture (77)
- Setup (117)
Swing Plane
- Backswing (84)
- Controlling Trajectory (47)
- Divot (48)
- Downswing (67)
- Impact (103)
- On Plane (85)
- Path (84)
- Power (71)
- Shaft Plane (63)
- Swing Plane (112)
- Weight Shift (79)