Carl's Indoor Golf Tips Featuring Mike Sullivan

Carl’s Place has partnered with multiple experts to bring you golf coaching tips to use in your indoor golf simulator. Click here to learn more about the coaches.

CP Indoor Golf Tips

One of the top reasons people invest in a home golf simulator or visit a commercial indoor golf location is to improve their game. Whether they are wanting to learn how to stop slicing a driver or strike the ball better with their irons and wedges, having access to a golf simulator and its capabilities can significantly help. 

We reached out to some expert coaches, who also happen to be golf simulator aficionados, to get their valuable insights and tips to enhance all of our golf games.

Carl's Indoor Golf Tips With Mike Sullivan


What data should you prioritize in a golf simulator? Looking at all the numbers can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what numbers to worry about to start.

Many golfers will default to checking carry and total distance, ball and club head speed, and spin rates. Yes, those are important stats, but the director of the Mike Sullivan Golf School has a few other ideas.

“All these data points are good to have, but in order to do something about distance, spin and club head speed, there are some other things we probably want to look at first,” Mike Sullivan said. 

Why does a golf ball fly the way it does? There are five contributing factors, or the five ball flight laws: 

  • Club Head Speed

  • Centeredness of Contact

  • Club Path

  • Club Face to Path

  • Angle of Attack

The latter three are the most important data points to pay attention to in a golf simulator, Mike says. He added that those three are the most commonly checked and monitored in his golf lessons because if one of them is amiss, it affects the rest and the final product of your swing and ball flight will be off.

All three need to be in top shape to become a high-level golfer.

We will help you understand the data you should be focusing on, how it affects your game and where those numbers should be. If you’re more of a visual and audio learner, watch the video below. 


Club path is the direction the club head is moving as it contacts the ball. Typically, for a right-handed golfer, if the path is moving to the right, or inside-out, that means it’s more prone to a closed face and hitting a draw/hook base on the spin it will put on the ball.

If the path is moving to the left, or outside in, the club head is likely to be open and the golf ball will fade or slice more based on the spin. 

Ideally, good golfers will have a club path within 2 degrees either way of their target, Mike said. 


Club face to path is defined as the angle of the club head based on the club path as it strikes the ball. 

Examples using both club path and face to path for right-handed golfers:

  • If your club path and face to path number are exactly 0 degrees, your ball should go perfectly straight. 

  • If your club path is 0 degrees but your face to path is a little open (positive number), the ball will land to the right. If the face to path is closed (negative number), the ball would land to the left.

  • If your face to path is exactly 0 degrees, the club head will determine the path: a club path to the right (inside-out) will push the ball to the right, but a club path to the left (outside-in) will pull the ball to the left. 

Again, being within 2 degrees either way of 0 is a good goal to shoot for with your face to path numbers, Sullivan said. He added that face to path would be his priority out of these three data points, but it can also change from shot to shot. 


Angle of attack is defined as which way the club is moving vertically when the ball is struck. 

If your angle of attack is negative, that means you struck the ball as the club head was still moving down. This is what can lead to making a divot after you hit the ball, which is ideal. 

When your angle of attack is positive, that means that the club head was moving upward as it contacted the ball. 

Mike said that your angle of attack can affect club path, which in turn can affect your club face compared to the club path. All three of these data points work together.

“When you start chasing trying to fix one of these things, you can end up messing up another,” Mike said.

Ideally, angle of attack for a wedge shot should be down around 4-5 degrees, and as you work your way out to longer clubs, that number will get closer to 0. That’s because the longer distanced clubs have longer shafts and cause the swing to be shallower. 


In golf, your angle of attack is so important that we wanted to be sure to expand on it. 

“A lot of people don’t understand how important it is to make sure you’re hitting down on the ball appropriately to help you not only make solid contact, but also hit the ball where you want it to go,” Sullivan said. 

To improve your angle of attack and hit down on the ball more, Sullivan gives three quick tips:

  • Move the ball back in your stance.

  • Have your hands more out in front when impacting the ball.

  • Shift more weight forward to your front foot while impacting the ball.

However, Sullivan talked us through some other ways to look at improving your angle of attack.

Having a launch monitor that can provide data on not only angle of attack, but club path and face angle to path is important. What you’ll be looking for is a slightly left club path, which helps you hit down on the ball, and a face-to-path number close to 0 degrees or slightly closed. 

Sullivan suggests using a gap wedge to get some short practice shots in. Start with basically a half swing to nail your data numbers down and get the feel for that slight left club path and downward angle of attack. Keep in mind that you want your wedges to have more downward angle of attack and the longer the club gets, the less downward you’ll be able to swing and impact the ball. 

If you tend to have a more inside-out swing, also known as a shallower swing plane, you will likely have a smaller angle of attack. Rotating the swing plane so that the club path is more left than right is key. 

Take a look at Sullivan’s video for a more visual representation of these ideas. 

Carl's Indoor Golf Tips With Mike Sullivan



Now, if the numbers are a bit overwhelming at times, many golf simulator softwares have the option to take the data completely off the screen so you’re solely focused on the shot in front of you. Carl’s next indoor golf tip to practice golf at home in your simulator is to literally simulate how you would play on the course.

“Don’t just hit and drag a ball over like you might do at a driving range,” Sullivan said. “Go through your routine.”

Or if you don’t have a routine, start by creating one. 

A pre-shot routine Sullivan suggested included the following steps:

  • Start by standing behind the ball. 

  • Pick out a spot in front of your ball, but near your ball, as an aiming point. On a golf course, that might be a leaf, broken tee, or some other object that is in line with your target. For this exercise, Sullivan actually places a tee in front of his ball.

  • As you start approaching your ball, start picturing what you’re expecting the ball to do as it flies towards your target. “When I go to hit my shot, my swing thought is going to be envisioning the ball flying to the hole,” Sullivan said.

  • When you go to address your ball, make sure that your club face is squared up with the object/aiming point you picked out earlier. 

  • After your first shot, try to feel and/or see what you can improve (try Carl’s Swing Cameras if you need a visual). For Sullivan, he hit the ball long and left and knew his club face was closed.

  • Go through your routine again, but this time, add in a practice swing that tries to correct any issues in the first swing. For Sullivan, he made sure he could feel his club face coming through a little open to help correct his common mistake. 

“The nice thing about the simulator is you get this immersive, fairly realistic golf experience, and you have the opportunity to make the most of it,” Sullivan said. “I’m not going to freak out over a bad shot or act like I won The Masters over a good shot.”

Just keep working on repeating good golf swing mechanics to become a more consistent golfer. 

Carl's Indoor Golf Tips With Mike Sullivan



How you grip a golf club can affect many different areas of your game, including your ball flight and distance. If you're struggling with a slice or if you have lost distance on your clubs, try these tips to get back to where you want to be.

A common cause of a slice is an open club face. The first thing Scott Hogan suggests to look at is how you're gripping the club. Many slicers have a "weak grip." For right-handed players, that means the right hand is too far over the top on the grip where the "V" between your thumb and index finger at address might be pointing too far toward your left shoulder. Essentially, you'll want to rotate that hand back behind the club handle instead of on top of it.

You'll notice a club face is open at the top of the swing if the face is pointing out in front of the golfer. If the club face points toward the ceiling or sky, that means the club face is closed.

One way to fix this grip issue for righties is to hold the club out in front of you in the fingers of your left hand, parallel to the ground and with the handle pointing toward your target/impact screen. make sure the back of your left hand that is holding the club is facing the ceiling/sky along with the club face.

Twist the club so the club face is now slightly pointing away from the golfer and fully grip the club. Then grip the club with your right hand. Once you address the ball, the club face might feel and look extremely closed - it might feel a bit weird and take some getting-used-to, but that is OK.

Initially, you might begin pulling or hooking shots more, but after time practicing the new grip and making slight adjustments to your setup and swing path, your shots will straighten out. 


Build My Simulator




Mike is the Director of Instruction at the Mike Sullivan Golf School in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has more than 20 years of golf teaching experience, was the director of the Golf Advantage School in Houston, is a Titleist Certified Clubfitter and a graduate of The Golf Academy of the South.

If you live in the Raleigh, N.C., area, check out Mike’s in-person private lesson offerings, adult and junior golf school or ladies beginner golf series. If you’re not in the Raleigh area, Mike offers online lessons


Scott is a PGA certified professional with more than three decades of experience in golf. With his deep passion for golf, Scott Hogan has honed his expertise under world-class instructors. He's empowered countless golfers to conquer their slice and reach their on-course goals.

Scott offers both in-person and online coaching out of the Chicago, Illinois area. 


Search articles by tag: