I would rather hit a push or a pull than a hook or a slice. Why? Pushes and pulls are easier to fix. The degree to which your golf swing needs to be corrected is usually less when dealing with a push or a pull.

Here’s what a push vs. pull is, why it happens, and how to fix it so your clubface at impact produces a straight shot every time.

Push vs Pull
  • A push shot goes to the right
  • A pull shot goes to the left
To fix either you must check and improve your alignment, grip, body rotation, and your release of the golf ball. More on that later.

What is a push in golf?

A push shot is a golf ball that goes to the right as soon as it comes off the clubface. The push is a straight golf shot, but it’s off-target. The push hits the golf ball to the right, just enough to miss your intended target.

To hit a golf ball straight, the face of the club must match the direction of the path. With a push, your club face is square to the path, but the face of the club is open to the target. Despite being off target, a push shot often feels solid and produces more distance than a slice would.

What is a pull in golf?

A pull is a golf ball that goes left of your target. Pulls don’t turn in the way a draw or a hook does; instead, they go directly left of the target right from impact. The pull is a common miss for a golfer, and sometimes it doesn’t take much to hit a slight pull shot.

With a pull, you will get plenty of distance because the clubface is slightly close to the target at impact. Amateur golfers sometimes notice a slightly lower ball flight when they pull a shot.

image of push vs pull- AEC Info

Are push and pull opposite?

Push and pull are opposite of each other. With a push, your clubface is open at impact; with a pull, your clubface is closed at impact.

The push goes directly right of your target; the pull goes directly left of your target.

How to fix a push

We know that a push happens when the clubface and the intended target don’t match. But there’s more to it than just that. You need more information on the potential causes to fix a push shot.

  • Check alignment first; if you are aiming to the right of your target, you will likely hit your golf ball that way. Ensure your left shoulder is not pointing too far right of the target and that your feet are parallel to the target line.
  • A weak grip can also cause a pushed shot; move your left hand (if you’re a right-handed golfer) slightly to the right on the club and let that right hand get a little more involved in the swing.
  • Use an alignment stick in the ground to ensure your swing path is more in-to-out. Many golfers get the club off the proper swing plane and path immediately after takeaway.
  • Don’t forget to release the golf club as you reach the impact position. Your forearms and wrists will rotate, and get the clubface square.

How to fix a pull

A pull happens when your clubface is closed to the target at impact. How does that happen? Very often, it can be caused by incorrect grip position, an over-the-top type swing, and improper lower body rotation; here are some ways to fix the pull.

  • Always start with alignment to ensure your golf club is not aimed too far to the left of the target at setup. If you have a closed stance, it could also cause a pull.
  • Ensure that your wrist position is flat at the top of your backswing. This wrist position is critical in maximizing clubhead speed through impact.
  • Look at your grip. If it is too strong, it can cause you to hit pull shots in golf. If you were trying to fix a slice and strengthen your grip, you might want to move to a more neutral position.
  • Make sure that from the top of the backswing, you are rotating your lower body, not just your upper body. An overactive upper body often causes the golfer to swing over the top, come across the ball and pull it a little.
  • As with any golf shot, having the proper ball position to start and a more stable and balanced swing is only going to help improve the clubface angle at impact.

image of push vs slice - AEC Info

How are push and slice different?

The push and slice are different because of how the path and clubface angle interact at impact. With a pushed golf shot, the golf ball goes straight to the right of the target, but it does not make a further turn to the right.

For this shot to happen, the clubface was open to the target but on a straight path. When a slice happens, the clubface is open to the target and path. This is what causes that extra turn to the right. Generally, a push is easier to fix than a slice.

image of push vs hook - AEC Info

How are pull and hook different?

The pull is a golf shot that goes directly left of the target. The hook travels straight and then turns to the left. The pull and hook are different in that the hook is certainly more of an extreme miss that will likely leave average golfers in a much more difficult position to recover from.

The pulled golf ball has a clubface that’s closed to the target at impact. However, the hooked golf shot has a clubface close to the target and path. Even if you make solid contact with a hook shot, you will still see the ball end up left or left.

Pull vs. Push – Which is Better?

Finally, the question you have in mind is, which is better, the pull or the push? You can go through the practice sessions of the best players in the world, and they will still hit a few pulls or pushes. Their mistakes may not be as extreme as ours, but their swings are more consistent and reliable.

There is no definitive answer on whether or not a push or a pull is better, but I can tell you this. The sooner you can learn to control the club head and get it square at impact, the easier the game of golf will be.

Pushes and pulls are common mistakes in a golf game, but you can fix them with the proper concepts and understanding in place. For more information be sure to check out the rest of AEC Info.