The Forward Press Golf Swing: Pros, Cons, and When to Use
Written by Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8

Late golf legend Sam Snead said that a swing is all about rhythm and if you can achieve that, you can become a good player. He believed that the forward press golf swing had a positive impact on our swing arc because it delivers a consistent angle of attack.

In this guide, I will take you through the pros and cons of the forward press and explain when you should employ it in your game.

If you have tried the Forward Press, and it didn’t work out, learn more about the inside-out or flat golf swings.

 

What is The Forward Press Golf Swing?

Mark Crossfield describes a forward press golf swing as setting up, pushing the club handle towards your front foot, and swinging. This setup reduces the loft of your club and encourages you to strike the ball with a slightly closed, aiming to optimize your distance and shape.

 

While that sounds phenomenal, it requires precise mechanics, movement of the wrists, and a good tempo. Without those elements, you may battle to get the club shaft aiming along the target line when it is parallel to the ground. That creates an open clubface at impact and many sliced shots.

 

Pros of The Forward Press Golf Swing

Rhythm

According to Sam Snead, a little rhythm will help you hit beautiful golf shots. He found that the forward press setup helped trigger all kinds of smoothness on your backswing and downswing. Achieving this fluidity in your swing will alleviate any nerves or anxiety you have before each shot.

Ball Striking

If you can achieve a rhythmic golf swing, you will enjoy far better control of the club, enabling you to guide it to the proper impact position. By that, I mean getting it square if you intend to hit a straight shot or slightly closed for minimal draw.

Consistently getting your clubface into the correct position results in cleaner strikes, accelerated ball speed, and a controlled flight. It also keeps your ball on the target line for superior accuracy.

Launch

Pressing your hands ahead of the golf ball reduces the loft of your golf club, promoting less spin and a lower launch. That is ideal for players who generate excess spin on each strike. As well as those who play in the gale-force wind. 

Furthermore, it is beneficial to setup this way if you are playing a punch shot and wish to keep the ball under the tree branches at your local golf course.

Plus, if you want to keep a short game shot low to run the ball up to the hole, you can reduce the loft of your wedges by employing the forward press swing.

Distance

By reducing the loft of your club, you reduce spin rpm to help you maximize your distance. The lower launch means that when your ball lands, it stands more chance of rolling further than a higher lofted, spinning club.

Shot Shape

Hitting a minor draw has the tendency to improve our control over our golf ball. Knowing how your ball will fly enables you to compensate for the shape and repeat your setup. That provides optimal consistency on every shot.

The forward press setup helps you start your club on a path that will keep the face closed at impact to prompt a draw.

 

Cons of The Forward Press Golf Swing

Wrist Movement

While the pros of this swing are helpful, they all fall apart when you do not pay careful attention to the action of the hands. If you do not adjust your wrists on your downswing, your clubface will remain open through impact, prompting side spin that causes a slice

To prevent that from happening, you need to thrust your right wrist forward on the downswing to bring the clubface back to the position it was at address. Failure to do this leads to inconsistent ball striking and inaccurate results.

Conversely, if you rotate your wrists excessively, you may close the clubface more than necessary and hook your strike.

Setup

Much forward press can cause a golfer to feel awkward, causing them to adjust their posture and change the club path. 

Often players feel like they can’t square the face up at impact. So, instead of repositioning their wrists and rotating the shoulders and hips, the back out of the shot. That causes them to come up on the ball before impact and hit fat shots.

Slice

The forward press drill can cause amateurs to slice shots because of an open clubface at impact. If you do not get your wrists and hands working to bring the club on plane, the clubface may stay open through impact.

 

When It Typically Makes The Most Sense to Use This Swing

Punch Shots

As amateurs, we spend less time on the fairway than we would like, which is why you should spend your practice sessions conducting shot recovery drills. One option is the punch shot, which saves me every round. When you are in the woods and need a low flying ball to avoid the treetops, a forward press swing can help you get out.

Closing your clubface and reducing the loft will generate a low flying stroke to keep your ball out of trouble. 

The punch shot is also handy to play in windy conditions, where high flying balls get held up, causing a loss of distance. As experienced by Ping Tour Player Louis Oosthuizen growing up.

Extra Club

If you are in a position where you do not have sufficient club, you can employ the forward press swing to help you reduce the spin and increase roll. The beauty of this approach is that you enjoy extra roll because of a lack of spin. The downside is that you do not produce sufficient shot-stopping power on approach shots.

Take a practice swing or two before executing because this setup can cause you to lose your rhythm, chunk your shots and take huge divots out of the greenkeeper’s hard work.

Draw Shape

The final scenario where the forward press golf swing is handy is to hit a draw. If your hand position lies ahead of the ball before takeaway, it helps you register where the clubface should be at impact. If you execute the plane correctly and close the face, you will induce a controlled draw.

 

Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8