Across the Line

Swing Error – Illustrated Guide

This swing error is visible at the top of the golf swing. It involves bringing the club too far out during the backswing to a position where it crosses the target line. This can result in an over the top swing on the way down and ultimately to slices, pulls and even shanks.

Review the tips below to better understand why you might be going across the line and for help on how to rid this swing error from your golf game.

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What Does it Mean to be Across the Line?

Crossing the Target Line

The shaft of the club will point right of the target when across the lineIn order to define what across the line means we must first establish what ‘the line’ exactly is. And you do that by looking at the typical golf setup position.

The line between the ball and the intended target is your target line and any line parallel to that is also ‘the line’ we are referring to. So if you are positioned correctly and square to the target, your feet form a line that is parallel to the target line and this line is also ‘the line’ used here.

Now bring your club up all the way to the top of the swing and take note of where your club shaft is pointing. If it is pointing straight ahead, then it is also on line with the target since that line is parallel to the target line (i.e., between the ball and the target). 

If the shaft of your club points to the right of the target then that means your club crossed over the target line and this is what an across the line swing is. We’ll look at how to correct this swing error below.

What Causes an Across the Line Swing?

Over Swing and/or Failing to Keep Left Arm Straight

Over-swinging and failing to keep left arm straight can lead to an across the line swingThis swing error is usually associated with and often the result of two other swing errors.

First of all, a golfer with an over swing will almost surely feature an across the line position at the top of his swing. This is relatively easy to understand since the backswing simply is longer than it should be and as a result we see the shaft of the club going across the line.

Otherwise, a golfer with a particularly wristy, handsy swing can also suffer from this swing error. Indeed, a golfer that strays away from your typical proper golf backswing might raise his right shoulder too high, pushing his club across. Finally, a golfer that fails to keep his left arm straight during the backswing might also see the club go over the line.

Problems Associated with Going Across the Line?

Can Lead to Over the Top Swing Error

Over the Top swing errorThe reason you want to avoid going across the line at the top is that it can lead to further swing errors, and ultimately to bad golf shots.

Primarily, pushing your club over the line will likely result in an over the top swing. In this swing error, the club travels on an outside-in path and can result in pull shots and slices, among others.

How to Fix Going Across the Line?

In order to fix this swing error we must first make sure that no mistakes were made leading up to the top of the swing position. Review these checkpoints to make sure you are bringing the club up along the correct swing path.


During the takeaway when the club shaft is parallel to the ground your club should point straight ahead (not to the right)During the takeaway, make sure that you are using a one-piece takeaway. Features of this proper takeaway include taking your club back square, taking it neither inside nor outside.

In order to make sure you are beginning your swing correctly, check that your shoulders are mainly responsible for bringing your club back and that when the shaft is parallel to the ground the grip end is pointing straight ahead.

Halfway Back

At the backswing halfway back position your hands should be in the middle of your chest and your club shaft should point towards the ballAt the halfway stage of the backswing, when your left arm is parallel to the ground make sure that your hands – holding the grip of the club – are positioned straight back from the target.

Or in other words, you will want your body to shield your hands from the target in this position. So if you were to place a camera or mirror behind you your hands would be in the middle of your chest.

Top of the Swing

Across the Line Swing ErrorFinally, continue on to the top of the swing and make sure to stop before your club crosses over. If you have followed the previous steps and refrain from overswinging or bending your left arm you should now be able to avoid going across the line.

Note that the club does not necessarily need to point straight at the target. Indeed, if your swing is a little shorter than it is normal for your club to be pointing slightly to the sky and to the left of the target.

Related Swing Error

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