Laid off or Cross Lined at the top of the backswing
By Jon Woodroffe, Master Professional at World of Golf London
These may be terms you have not heard in relation to the golf swing before. They refer to the direction that the shaft of your club is pointing when you reach the top of the backswing, in relation to the target that you are aiming to hit at. Before I go any further in this explanation though, I must emphasise that if you have this position wrong, the chances are the problem started earlier on in your set up or your takeaway, so check that first.
When looking from behind, the position at the top of the backswing should be as in picture 1. This is where the club shaft is parallel to the direction that the feet are pointing. In this situation, you almost cannot see the shaft of the club because the butt end of the shaft is the thickest part and it tapers in from there.
Picture 2 shows the common “Laid Off” position. This is where the shaft is pointing to the left of the target at the top, or behind you. Picture 3 is the “Cross-Lined” position, aiming to the right or over your head in front of you.
The reason this position is so influential on the shot is that the direction the shaft is pointing at the top of the backswing will tend to be the path the club swings down on. So the “Laid Off” will cause the swing to come down on an out to in swing path as in picture 4. The “Cross-Lined” position will tend to cause an in to out downswing as in picture 5. So if you get the correct square position at the top where the shaft is pointing parallel to the target the downswing should be an in to in, the desired swing path as in picture 6.
This is something best checked by getting someone to video your swing. You can check in a mirror, but do remember, the swing you pose in the mirror may be different to the one you do in reality, at speed. Video footage is the best evidence.