It makes you want to take a golf glove across the face. The dreaded double cross is when you aim down one side with the intent of curving the shot back toward the target, but it curves the other way. Right in the lumberyard.
Like when a high-handicapper who plays a persistent slice aims a tee shot toward a creek or O.B. down the left side of a tight fairway, only to watch the ball start left and then curve farther left. Instant penalty.
Sound all too familiar? Most likely your body turn slowed down at impact, causing your arms to race past and the clubface to snap closed. Make sure your body keeps turning through, so it leads the arms, which keeps the clubface slightly open at impact for a fade.
Or maybe you set up for a draw and lose it the other way. Say there's a back-left pin, with water left. You aim 30 feet right, but at the last second, you fear a hook and try to hold the clubface open. With the club swinging in to out and the face open, that shot's going miles right. Make sure to swing more toward the target, keeping your grip pressure constant. You'll hit that nice draw you're expecting.
MENTAL NOTE: GOTTA TRUST IT
At the tour level, most double crosses come from players who usually hit a draw but are trying to fade one away from trouble. The issue is trust. A draw player's instrument panel goes haywire when a shot's starting line is left. When trust isn't present, tension is, and tension is a wannabe shotmaker's nightmare.
I tell players when they're out for a practice round to take a sleeve of new balls and try fading them off a water hazard on the left. Cutting shots at the range with no ramifications won't get the job done. You have to put something on the line to earn the right to hit this shot when it counts.—David Cook, Ph.D.
Jim McLean is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.