You’ve probably heard the term casting before. In fishing, it’s a necessary term. I’m not a huge fisherman, but done enough to know what it means. It’s the process of throwing the fishing pole, so that the lure flies out into the water. It’s what allows you to catch a fish. Without it, you’re just sitting in a boat holding a long stick.
In golf, though, it’s not a good thing. In golf, casting causes all sorts of problems in the golf swing. It’s also one of the most common issues that amateur golfers deal with.
A lot of the time, they don’t even know they’re doing it. It’s possible to hit a good shot while casting the golf club, but that requires perfect timing. Since perfection is rarely achieved in the game of golf, a player who casts often struggles with inconsistency as well as a few other issues that we’ll talk about more below.
If you’ve ever heard someone mention you might be casting the golf club or you’ve just been curious about whether it might be a swing flaw you have, then we’ll help you identify and correct it in this article.
What Is Casting The Golf Club?
The first thing we have to clarify is what is casting in golf. Casting occurs in the downswing, typically about halfway through the downswing, though it can occur earlier and later. It’s when the angle created by the lead arm (left arm for a right-handed golfer) and the golf club is increased too early. Typically, the best results occur when a player holds that angle as long as possible before coming into contact with the golf ball.
Why Is Casting Bad?
That angle, between the arm and golf club, is where power is stored up in order to be released into the golf ball at impact. If the angle is released too early, power is lost because it is used up before the club comes into contact with the ball. In order for you to hit the golf ball as far as possible, you need to maintain the angle until closer to the golf ball. Once that angle is released, it speeds up the club which translates to more distance.
If you release that angle too early, the power is used up and there is nothing left at impact for you to transfer into the golf ball.
Make sure to read our full article on an early release vs a late release in your swing.
Casting Changes the Angle of Attack
Next, casting the golf club early also changes the angle of attack of the golf club. Because the club is being released early, it bottoms out earlier than it should. This can result in inconsistent contact; either hitting it fat or hitting it thin. Both can happen depending on where the player’s weight is at impact and if they are standing up out of the shot.
Because the contact is inconsistent, backspin is also reduced. Since the quality of impact is often times poor, it reduces the amount of spin a player can get with their irons making the ball harder to control and stop on the green.
Casting Leads to Too Much Height
Finally, casting the golf club can also cause a higher ball flight, which also limits distance. Especially when hitting the driver, a cast can cause the ball to pop up or just go higher than normal because the club is coming up at the ball more than it should. Same thing with iron shots, if a player happens to make solid contact, the swing is traveling up at the ball and lifts the ball in the air higher. This higher ball flight results in a shorter shot than often doesn’t hold on greens well.
Why are you Casting the Club?
There are several reasons why a golfer may be casting the golf club. The first is the trail hand (right hand for a right-handed golfer) is a little too active. Often times a player will start their golf swing with too much wrist and hands and this can cause the golf swing to get very handsy and flip the club early before impact. When that hand gets active early it tends to stay too active throughout the rest of the swing. When it’s too active, it casts the club out too early in the downswing.
The next, and sort of similar, possible cause is that the same trail hand is too tight. When the hand is too tight, the muscles are firing too much. I often check the thumb and pointer finger on that trail hand because those are the muscles that cast the golf club the most.
Make sure to read our article on the pressure points in the golf grip.
Another reason why a player might cast the golf club is that they believe, maybe in the back of their mind, that they need to lift the ball and hit under it in order to get the ball in the air. This causes the hands to flip early and scoop at the ball, creating an upward attack angle into the golf ball. With the irons, this is not a good thing.
Finally, another reason why a golfer may cast the golf club is that they are leaning too much towards the target at the top of their backswing. This often results in a backswing that is too far past parallel. When the player starts their downswing, the lower body is ahead of the upper body, so to catch the upper body up to the lower, a cast occurs.
How To Stop Casting The Golf Club
In order to stop casting the golf club, the first thing you want to try doing is releasing the tension in your trail hand. Allowing for the front hand to hinge the golf club naturally and lead the way through to impact will help the club maintain its angle through the golf ball.
Focus on the front hand and wrist, making sure to maintain the wrist hinge for as long as possible during the downswing. Instead of forcing your hands to close down the face, think about “hitting” the ball with your trail hip. Have that part of your body lead the way towards impact and the face of the golf club to follow suit.
The Idea of Hitting Down
Next, you need to realize that hitting down and through the ball (with your irons) is actually what makes the ball go up in the air. Once you start hitting down and through the ball, making the bottom of your swing arc to be right in front of the ball, you’ll start to lag the club a bit more.
Finally, imagine you’re turning away from the target at the top of your backswing. Shift some of your weight onto the back foot. Avoid allowing any part of your upper body or weight to shift towards the target. You can also try stopping your backswing a bit shorter in order to keep the upper body and lower body more connected in the downswing.
Drills For Correcting Casting
Now let’s talk about some drills you can do to stop casting the golf club…
Remove Fingers Drill
Because a cast typically occurs in the pointer and thumb of the trail hand:
- In this drill we’re going to have you remove those two fingers only.
- Keep every other finger and both hands on the golf club.
- Then hit some small shots with the two fingers removed.
You’ll notice that it’s a lot harder to cast the golf club because you’ve removed the muscles that cause it. Work on closing down the face and hitting some straight shots like that, so that you can get the proper feel for when you put the fingers back on the club.
Golf Bag Drill
- In this drill, you’re going to put an item, like a golf bag, right behind you.
- Set it in a location where it’s just behind your club head in the takeaway.
- Then hit some golf balls (carefully!).
You’ll naturally want to avoid hitting the object and hold off the angle a bit more in order to keep it from hitting your golf bag. If you cast, you’ll hit the golf bag. That’s why we want to be careful that you don’t hurt yourself or that item.
Separate Hands Drill
- For this drill, you separate your two hands when hitting some short pitch shots.
- Separate them by about 4-6 inches.
Feel like you’re pulling back with your lower/tail hand in order to decrease the angle between your arm and golf club.
Upside Down Club Drill
- Another great drill is to flip the golf club over so you’re holding the head or neck of the club.
- Then just take some swings (without hitting a ball) and listen for the whooshing noise.
- Try moving the noise closer and closer to the impact area.
The closer you get the noise to an imaginary ball, the better you’ll be at holding off on that angle.
Backswing Turn Drill
Finally, in order to correct a lean towards the target:
- Put a club across your chest and hold it there with your arms crossed on your chest.
- Make your turn and imagine you’re turning away from an imaginary wall that’s just outside your front foot. You can even stand against a wall and do this one.
You want to keep your head fairly still, but feel as though the rest of your body is turned as far away from the wall as possible.
If you struggle with casting the golf club, I hope this article helped you better understand what’s going on and how you can fix it. If you can hold off on that angle until impact, you’ll definitely see better impact and more distance.