The most common cause of hitting off the toe is releasing the club early, the wrists unhinging and the right arm straightening too soon on the downswing. Players who do that hit a lot of fat shots, so they learn to yank the club upward either by standing up or bending their left elbow. The problem is, both moves pull the club toward the body, closer than it was at address, which causes contact off the toe.
The best way to improve your strikes is to practice hitting punch shots with a middle iron (right). The shorter backswing and firmer wrists will promote a hands-leading impact position with a straight left arm. This helps you maintain the radius of the swing so you bring the club to a fully extended impact position for center-face contact.
CHUCK COOK is ranked fifth on Golf Digest's list of America's 50 Greatest Teachers. He is based at Dallas National Golf Club.