The Double Cross in Golf: What It Is, Causes & How to Fix It
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

Updated on December 12, 2023

In layman’s terms, a double-cross occurs when your golf ball travels in the opposite direction you were aiming.

For example, a tree sits in your line to the green, and the only shot you have is to induce a fade. As a right-handed golfer, you aim to the left of your target, preparing for the left to right-hand shape, but it doesn’t come. Instead, it develops a draw shape and hooks away from your target.

You were aiming left of your target, and you hooked your shot. That means that you are now well beyond the left side of the fairway.

I unfortunately endured a double-cross in my last round. My tee shot ended behind a shrub on a par 5, leaving me with the option of hitting a lofted club over the shrub and laying up or fading a fairway wood. Naturally, I opted for the latter option.

I aimed my feet to the left of the target, positioned my open clubface behind the ball, and initiated my backswing. However, my rotation slowed before impact, causing my hands to take the lead and closing my clubface at impact. That led to a snap hook 20-yards in the wrong direction.

A more common scenario for higher handicap players is that you set up for your ball to shape from the left to the right side of the fairway, but you snap hook it left. Since you were aiming left to account for a slice or fade shape, the result is far worse than if you aimed directly at your target.


Causes of a Double Cross

You Have Poor Rotation Speed

Like I described with my experience with the double-cross, it is often caused by lower rotation speed. That leads to your hands moving ahead of the ball and prompts your clubface to close.

As a result, your ball hooks uncontrollably to the left hand side of the course, putting you on the back foot for the remainder of the hole.

It is vital to turn your hips through impact for optimal power and accuracy. Read more about how much hip turn is best for your golf swing in our detailed guide. Understanding these elements will lead to distance and accuracy consistency.

You’re Struggling to Shift Your Weight Forward

Those who consistently slice their shots will notice that you often lose your balance at impact and fall back. That is because you struggle to shift your weight forward and leave your body and clubface open at impact.

On the contrary, if your golf shots draw excessively, you may shift your weight too early on your downswing. That closes your body and clubface, causing your ball to hook.

Your Ball Isn’t Positioned Correctly

Where you position your ball in your stance can impact the direction it curves. Mark Blackburn from Titleist explains that it is best to place the ball slightly back if you wish to prompt a draw. That position helps you close the angle of your clubface at impact to initiate a right to left curve:

Conversely, Blackburn recommends placing the ball front center in your stance when attempting to fade the ball.

If you place the ball in the incorrect position of your stance, it is difficult to get your clubface to the angle it needs to be at impact. Therefore, you may slice the ball when you had hoped to draw it.

Your Swing Path Is Off

Besides slow hips and the incorrect ball position, your swing path can also cause your golf ball to travel to the opposite side of the course. For example, if your golf swing moves inside-out, you are more likely to prompt a draw than a slice or fade.

Contrarily, an outside-in swing is most likely to produce shots that fade or slice. The bottom line is if you aim right of the target intending to draw the ball but swing outside-in, your ball may slice or fade away from the pin.

In addition, if you set up for a fade by aiming left of your target, but then you produce an inside-out swing, you may hook your ball.

You can learn more about different swings and the types of shots they produce by reading our informative guide.

Your Clubface Is Overly Open or Closed at Impact

While your swing, rotation, and ball position may all impact the final result of your shot, your clubface at impact has the final say. When you leave your face open at contact, it results in left to right sidespin, which leads to a slice or a fade.

Inversely, a closed clubface at impact causes increased right to left sidespin, encouraging a draw or hook.

You’re Trying to Swing Too Hard

When golfers swing rapidly and try to smoke their ball, it generally ends in a bad shot. From past experience, I hit double-crosses when I attempted to swing faster than Kyle Berkshire. My advice to the average player is to take it easy and don’t force it.


4 Tips to Fix a Double Cross

1. Rotate Through Impact

The first area you need to work on to eradicate a double-cross from your swing is rotation. Putting the brakes on hip rotation before impact causes your hands to lead the clubhead. That often prompts a closed clubface position and causes you to hook your shot.

Golf coach Alistair Davies provides a simple drill to improve your rotation. Pick up a golf ball and imagine that it is a stone you are trying to skip across a lake. Rotate your body, and release the ball. You will notice how that motion increased your power and accuracy:

Once you have practiced that motion three to five times, take three practice swings. Focus on rotating your hips through impact to propel your clubface along the intended line. As a result, you increase your chance of executing your intended shot shape with added power.

2. Correct Your Weight Position

You can practice inducing a fade by placing your weight on your back foot at address. Once you are over the ball, lift up your front foot, and maintain the weight on your trail leg. That position prompts you to keep your body open through impact, leading to a fade.

Take a few half swings and feel how this position enables you to keep the clubface open at impact, causing your ball to fade.

On the opposing end, lift up your back foot and reposition the mass on your lead leg to prepare for a draw.

Overall, these drills help improve your muscle memory to consistently execute fade and draw shots and avoid the double-cross.

You can learn the best setup for your golf game by reading about employing a proper stance.

3. Correct Your Swing Path

When your club veers off the intended swing path, it is a mission to get your clubface into position at impact. Failure to achieve the desired clubface angle at impact sends the ball traveling in the unintended direction.

When you prepare to strike a draw, you should swing in and out to give yourself the best chance of closing your face at impact.

Instead of repeating myself, you can learn how to execute an inside-out swing by studying my review here. Instead, let me help you with pulling off a fade to put you in the fairway.

A fade or slice is prompted by an open clubface at impact that generates left-to-right sidespin for right-handers. For starters, widen your stance and position the ball in the front center of it. Next, take your club back and out away from your body, then follow an inside path on your downswing.

This angle causes your clubface to cut across the ball and generate sidespin with an open face, resulting in a fade.

4. Fix The Position of Your Clubface at Impact

The angle of your clubface when it strikes the ball determines which direction the ball will travel. By implementing the above steps into your swings, you should see improved ball striking and the position of your clubface at impact.

A drill that I find handy is breaking up your backswing into three parts to ensure that your club is on plane the entire way. Once you hit the top of your backswing, pause for a moment and commence your downswing.

If your club remains off plane after this drill, you need to take it in baby steps. Take a half swing, pause, and focus on swinging inside for a fade and outside for a draw. Familiarizing yourself with the club’s position at that point of the swing helps you improve your consistency and avoid double cross shots in golf.


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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