Don’t you hate it when the golf ball goes in the opposite direction than you want? Whether it’s a tee shot or an approach shot, seeing the golf ball move the wrong way is very frustrating.
For example, how many times have you been aiming left to play a fade (or slice) only to watch the ball start left and draw further left? Don’t worry, you’re not alone and it’s a common mistake with golfers – known as a double cross.
Keep reading to learn why these shots happen and how to fix it fast to avoid the big miss on the golf course.
Double Cross in Golf
So, what is a double cross in golf?
It’s when you attempt to hit one shot shape – let’s say a draw, but hit the opposite instead. For example, if you hit a draw you need to aim right of the target to account for the ball to drift right in the air.
But in this example instead of drawing you hit a push (which is okay if the ball draws) and instead it has a fade ball flight. Since you’re aimed right anticipating the draw, now you’re going to miss even further right as fade goes left to right.
Unfortunately, no matter how good your golf swing, this shot can still happen to the best of us. But we’ll address swing path and other issues to help you minimize the big miss.
- The dreaded double cross in golf is when you try to play a shot (let’s say a fade) but hit a draw instead.
- This can lead to some huge misses that make it difficult to score your best – not to mention can hurt your confidence.
- Double crosses happen for a lot of reasons which we’ll help you address today and strategies to overcome them.
Here are the biggest reasons double crosses happen in golf.
Not Understanding Ball Flight Laws (Swing Path 101)
Before we get into mechanical or equipment issues, it’s important to address ball flight laws. When you understand how the club face impacts the shot shape, it can help you out a ton.
The path and clubface at impact determine where the golf ball will start and whether it will go right, left, or straight in the air. The majority of the shot is determined by the clubface itself as impact.
If the club face is open, it will lead to a fade (or if it’s really open a slice). If it’s square, it will lead to a straight ball flight and if it’s closed will lead to a draw (or really closed a hook).
Some golf coaches estimate that 70% or more of the shot is determined by the club face, not the path. The path also plays a role but it’s not as important as you might think.
But when it comes to the path it’s still important to know how your swing path can lead to different shots. If you have an inside to outside swing, you’re more likely to hit it right of your target (a push shot). If you have a more outside to inside swing path (like most amateur golfers) you’re more likely to hit it left of your target (a pull).
However, a poor path can work out if the face is working in your favor. For example, if you hit a pushed shot but the face is slightly closed, the ball will draw back toward the target – aka a push draw.
Things go awry when the face is on the same line as the path – aka the double cross in golf. In this example if you were trying to hit a fade and aimed left but instead, hit a pull draw.
You’re already aimed left and now the ball is starting left (club path) and going further left from the shut club face. This is why understanding ball flight laws is so important to managing your misses on the golf course.
Issues at Setup
The second issue that leads to a ton of double cross is what you’re doing at setup position. Your setup – including grip, stance, and alignment – play a big role in the shot shape. Sometimes fixing your alignment or grip can fix a lot of issues.
For example, if you have a weak golf grip it’s pretty challenging to hit a lot of draws. It also leads to a lot of slices which plague most everyday golfers.
This is why most instructors try to get students into a neutral or strong grip position. With these grip styles, it’s much easier to square the face at impact and even hit a draw.
Poor alignment is another reason that double crosses can happen and why we encourage most golfers to use alignment sticks regularly in practice. I’ve also found that recording your swing during the round (with the help of a friend or tripod) on certain shots can help with alignment too.
I say this from experience as my alignment was great on the range but I hit some awful shots on the course. After watching a quick video I noticed that I had a closed stance on the course. This made my feet aim right and if I was trying to play a cut, could lead to some nasty double crosses.
Don’t forget that most of the golf swing comes from improving your setup more than anything else.
Another cause of the double cross is playing the wrong equipment that doesn’t match your swing (or desired shot shape). For example, if you’re like most golfers you probably want to hit a draw since a slice loses out on tons of distance. But occasionally you want to play a fade for more accuracy or to shape the shot that matches a left to right dogleg.
But if you’re playing equipment that helps reduce a slice – like a draw biased driver with offset – the equipment is working against you. In this case, draw bias drivers have a slightly shut face to help golfers hit it straighter and longer off the tee. Hitting a fade is harder with this club and will likely need to make some adjustments in your swing.
This is why it’s a good idea for more skilled players to switch to neutral clubs without any bias.
A neutral club makes it easier to shape shots in both directions and avoid the big miss. Beginners can benefit greatly from draw biased drivers but if you get more consistent, it might be time to switch.
The irons you play also have a big role in shot shaping. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger more forgiving the iron, the harder it is to shape shots. These cavity back, forgiving irons are made for forgiveness, not workability.
If you want to shape more shots, you’ll need to play a smaller set of irons. Typically, a set of muscle backs or blades if you’re a very consistent player. Smaller club heads make it easier to shape golf balls in either direction but aren’t nearly as forgiving.
How to Fix a Double Cross in Golf
Now that you know some of the biggest causes of a double cross in golf, let’s get into some strategies to easily fix it.
Commit to the Target
First things first, you need to commit to your target line. If you are losing golf balls on both sides of the course, not committing to the shot and target might be one of the biggest issues.
Professional golfers don’t “wing it” and hope for the best. They commit to their target line, shot shape, ball flight, and then go through their routine… which sets them up for success.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean they never hit a double cross but it greatly reduces the chances. Meanwhile, everyday golfers skip a routine and simply “hope for the best.”
Stick to One Shot Shape
One of the biggest mistakes that most golfers make that lead to a double cross is trying to play too many shots. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to hit a low draw on a hole and then a high fade on the next. But I’d argue this is the biggest reason why most golfers miss on both sides of the golf course.
If you watch the best players on TV it’s natural to think they hit both draws and fades (with some straight ones too). But this isn’t the truth – most professional golfers stick to one shot shape, regardless of the hole layout or the pin location.
A great example of this was Max Homa at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open. He was mic’d up with the announcers while playing the difficult uphill dog leg left par 5 13th hole at Torrey Pines. The announcers had said all day it’s a “draw hole” and asked Max about his shot shape.
He replied with something along the lines of, “I played my fade. I always hit a fade. My caddy lets me hit one draw a week.” The announcers were seemingly stunned but it’s proof that even the best golfers stick to one shot shape a majority of the time.
Hitting a lot of golf shots is fun but oftentimes not necessary to break 80 (or even break par).
Improve Your Wrist Action
Your wrists play a big role in your golf game and ability to hit shots in either direction. To see the ball curve left or right too often might be from improper wrist mechanics.
For example, early wrist rotation can lead to a draw that ends up on the left side of the hole for a right-handed golfer. This is why we suggest using a wrist trainer on the driving range (or even at home) to understand how they control the face.
One of our favorite tools is the Hanger training aid. It makes it easy to understand the power of club face control and the proper wrist angle in your golf swing.
Stay Loyal to Your Routine
The final tip to help you avoid the dreaded double cross is to develop and stick with your pre-shot routine. Too many golfers have no routine and wonder why they’re so inconsistent with shot shape.
A consistent routine can help you:
- Confirm the distance and club to hit your intended spot.
- Pick the best target – which could be on the left or right side of a fairway or green.
- Identify a clear picture of your target and focus on that as you walk up to the ball.
Plus, a good routine will help you avoid negative thinking and stay focused on the shot at hand. If you don’t have a full-shot routine, develop one asap – it will make a massive difference in your mental game.
The key is to practice your routine on the driving range so it becomes habitual as you stand over the golf ball. A good routine also entails a post shot process to help you get over bad shots fast.
FAQs About A Double Cross in Golf
Do you have more questions about the double cross in golf? If so, keep reading through our most frequently asked questions and answers now.
Why do I hit a snap hook?
If you’re missing a lot of shots left (due to a closed clubface) off the tee box it’s usually from overly active wrists. Some golfers refer to this as a “baseball swing” as you turn the wrists early which leads to a closed club face at impact.
Check out this guide to overcoming a hook golf shot that goes hard to the left (without visiting a swing instructor).
Should I play a draw or a fade?
Both shots have their own pros and cons. But my biggest tip to play the shot shape that is most natural to your golf swing.
This will make it easier to swing with confdience and hopefully minimize the number of double crossed golf shots. Check out this article to learn more about a fade vs. a draw in golf.
How do I swing faster in golf?
To get comfortable hitting bombs you need more clubhead speed. The easiest way to increase speed and generate enough power is with speed training. Check out our reviews of SuperSpeed Golf and The Stack System to see which one works best for you.
Paired with some lower body golf workouts, you’ll be able to swing faster and hit the ball longer with every club in the bag.
Double crosses are an unfortunate part of the game, even if you’re a scratch golfer or professional. While I’m confident all the tips above will help correct your issues, I think the best tip that has helped minimize my shot dispersion is playing one shot shape.
Whether I’m playing a right to left or left right hole, a back left pin or a front right pin, I always play a fade. It’s the shot that is most natural to me due to a slightly weak grip and outside to in swing plane.
When I tried to play draws and fades, I had more big misses than I count. This led to a lot of scrambling and way too many blow up holes. Because when I tried to play a draw it simply was not natural for me – this led to thinking about my golf swing vs. playing golf.
A draw was also harder to visualize as it wasn’t my natural shot shape. Plus I would get too mechanical which is never good either.
This is even more important with your driver as you can’t (or shouldn’t) change ball position to hit different types of shots. With irons, you can manipulate ball position to hit different shot shapes (back of stance draw, front of stance fade) but not with driver.
If you try to move the ball position with your driver it can lead to pop-ups and all kinds of big misses. Test it out the next time you’re on the course and hopefully you see a big difference.
Final Thoughts on Double Cross in Golf
No matter how good you get in this crazy game, a double cross can still happen – even for someone like Tiger Woods.
But when you learn more about clubface control and have the right equipment, it can make things a lot easier. Paired with a strong mental game and routine to develop trust, you shouldn’t hit them nearly as often.