What Is A Double Cross In Golf

Golf Double Cross Guide (What, Why & How)

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A double-cross in a movie is usually a plot twist where a character betrays another in the context of a heist or a group mission. While golf’s double cross doesn’t involve a betrayal or a heist, it is definitely a plot twist.

What is a golf double cross? A double cross in golf is when a player adjusts his aim to accommodate curving on one side, but it curves in the other direction. The shot is straight and feels like a success until it starts curving in the opposite direction, feeling like a betrayal.

In this article, you will find out why a double cross is called a double cross and what you can do to avoid hitting one. More importantly, you will also discover instances where top-tier players hit the dreaded shot and how it impacted their respective rounds.

But first, let’s look at possible explanations for the term and some all golf terms you should know.

What is a Golf Double Cross?

Why Is It Called A Double Cross In Golf

While there is no official explanation for the term, most golfers agree that the double cross is named after the feeling of betrayal inspired by the shot.

One lines up the shot factoring in a fade or a draw. The double cross feels like a successful shot until it starts going in the opposite direction.

Do Pros Hit Double Crosses In Golf?

Do Pros Hit Double Crosses In Golf

Pros usually do not hit double crosses in golf, but when they do, they blow their lead and can sometimes lose the round to multiple bogeys. A double cross can double the distance that a ball has to cover to reach its intended target, which can add as many as 4 shots to a hole.

Here are a few instances of pros hitting a double cross:

Jordan Spieth – 2016 Masters Tournament

Jordan Spieth ended up getting a double cross that he did not expect on his tee shot for the 12th hole.

The par-3 hole ended up becoming a bogey behemoth for Spieth, who shot 2 balls into the water, racked up a 7-stroke score, and lost his potential first spot in the tournament.

Dustin Johnson – 2020 BMW Championship

Dustin Johnson would be the last person one would expect to hit a double cross. That’s why it was shocking to see him hit one on the 16th hole…

Johnshon’s shot on the par-3 16th hole went into the rough instead of the green, which was the intended target on the right. Because of this shot, Johnson found himself out of contention for the Championship.

Tiger Woods – 2013 Open Championship

When Tiger Woods attempted to hit a fade to get around a tree, he ended up launching a ball toward the left, resulting in a double bogey. Though Woods didn’t with the 2013 Open, this shot wasn’t consequential in his T-6 position.

Still, you can see that a double cross is no joke.

Not only can it add to your score, but it can also sap your confidence. Golfers who hit a double cross shot when attempting a fade are unlikely to attempt one for a while.

To avoid letting double crosses affect your mental game, you must figure out why double crosses happen…

Why Does A Double Cross Happen?

Why Does A Double Cross Happen

A double cross happens because of a miscalculation or a poorly handled swing.

Usually, a golfer with a slice or a hook attempts to fix the unintentional curve by adjusting his target instead of fixing the cause of the slice or the hook. As a result, the ball goes further off the intended target.

Here are the top three causes of double cross shots in golf:

  • Trying to fix the alignment instead of the swing – If your swing is out of control, altering your alignment can compound to your shot’s inaccuracy. 
  • Trying to fix the swing instead of the alignment – If you slice or hook the ball because of how the club face meets the ball, and you simply change your swing and aim to offset your natural shot curve, you might end up shooting straight or an opposite curving shot. 
  • Changing your target mid-swing – If you’re indecisive about the path you want the ball to take, your swing will have contradicting elements that can produce a shot that goes takes the diametrically opposite path to the one you want.

How Do You Stop A Double Cross?

How Do You Stop A Double Cross

Once a ball curves in the opposite direction, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But you can stop a double cross before it happens by controlling your swing and being more decisive.

If you keep hitting double crosses consistently, you can follow a three-step formula to figure out its cause and fix it. Alternatively, you can use a golf coach or even ask your caddie (if he’s experienced) for advice.

The three-step formula for finding out why your ball flight shapes in the wrong direction is as follows:

Pinpoint Everything That’s Different

Most players hit double-crosses when they’re trying to take shots that are meant to offset their natural curve. If you pinpoint how you swing differently on your shots that double cross, you’ll pinpoint a few suspects. These could be your stance, swing path, and ball framing.

Isolate And Exclude The Points Of Difference, One At A Time

Repeat your swing but remove one element at a time. Try to swing while keeping everything the same besides your position. Then bring back your position and change your stance. After that, retain your initial position and stance but change your swing force. 

Keep everything the same with each attempt except for one factor. If you do this for all the potential suspects for your double cross, you will eventually figure out which factor impacts the ball flight the most.

Notice The Exclusion That Fixes Your Ball’s Flight Path The Most

You will take dozens of suboptimal shots while forcefully isolating and excluding potential causes of the dreaded double cross. In doing so, you will find one that eliminates unintended curvature or flips it. 

The factor that you exclude for that shot is the most likely for your double crosses. All that remains is to train your swing without that factor, be it poor stance, swing force, or position until you can use your new swing in real rounds.

The identify-isolate-exclude formula works for every golfer as it is designed to sniff out the situation-specific cause of a double cross. That said, finding out what you do differently for a particular swing is a tedious task.

If you’re unable to pinpoint anything different in your swing because you take shots spontaneously, you can take another path to fix your double cross.

How To Avoid A Double Cross?

How To Avoid A Double Cross

To avoid a double cross, you need to ensure that the clubface is square when it hits the ball and even after that up until the ball flies off. This makes your shot straighter and removes the need to compensate for an obligatory slice or hook.

To ensure square clubface contact, you have to position yourself properly, swing without early wrist rotation and keep your downswing consistent with your backswing. As long as you manage these factors, you will avoid unintentionally closing the clubface or opening it too much at the moment of impact.

  • Position – You have to position yourself where you don’t need to activate the clubface to put force behind your shot. 
  • Grip – Your grip must be firm enough to keep the club shaft relatively straight through impact. You must also avoid flicking it earlier in your backswing. 
  • Rigidity – You have to avoid being too rigid when trying to manage your grip and position to square the club face. Otherwise, you’ll end up making too many bogeys alongside your straight shots.

Final Thoughts on the Golf Double Cross

Final Thoughts

A double cross in golf is a misfire where a ball takes the opposite path of the one intended. More specifically, players line up a shot to fade or draw it and end up hitting the opposite.

By aiming for straight shots and controlling the club face and shaft consistency on impact, you can minimize double-crossing.