Posts Tagged ‘impact position’
It is important to understand that the angle of the clubface will influence a golfers’ ability to get into a proper impact position. Athletic instinct will always compensate in order to position the face squarely (or as squarely as possible!) at contact. Thus, a square clubface will allow any golfer to naturally assume a world class impact!
There are three good check points that occur prior to impact to observe the position of the clubface. As these check points get closer to impact they tend to have a greater effect not only on the impact position, but also the outcome of the shot. Here they are:
- Here the face is looking more towards the sky than is optimal
Ideally the clubface should be vertical to slightly tilted down here with the clubhead covering the hands.
- In this situation the clubhead has lagged a little behind the hands and arms with a slight draggy start to the swing
-The arms are moving in and close to the body as the handle stays inside the clubhead
At the top of the backswing:
- Also notice the cupping in the back of the left wrist
- The left wrist position is quite flat and may even become bowed
- The weight will invariably stay back as the golfer tries to position the body to aid in squaring the face
-There must be a loss of body angles through the hit in an attempt to deter the face from flipping closed
-Practice hitting high, cut up 8-iron shots that travel 50 yards to overcome this fault
Here are two important tidbits to remember when it comes to your clubface: The grip is the primary determinant of clubface angle and a Swingyde (mention keyword RICE for a discount) is a helpful teaching aid when working to improve your clubface position
Additional articles regarding the clubface:
Impact is the most important part of the golf swing! The ball spends an average of 1/2000 of second on the face of the club, yet it is during this time that it receives it’s all-important travel itinerary. How high; how far; what curvature; spin rate; and ultimately what destination is all determined in that fraction of a second.
The above picture is an ideal impact position.
The weight is comforably on the front foot
The handle is leading the clubhead into the ball and the clubhead is travelling slightly down for a ball-first, divot-second strike
The head is over the ball with the weight in front of the ball leading to body curve
There are only three errors a golfer can make at impact and here they are:
In this example the head has worked back behind the ball too much and the weight remains on the back foot. This golfer scoops the ball off the turf and tends to hit weak, high fades and slices with the occasional pulled shot. Should a divot occur it is most often before the ball is impacted. This is a typical what I would call ”weekend warrior” swing.
In this example the golfer has found a way t0 “squeeze” the ball and actually strike it fairly well, however, due to the upper body being positioned in front of the ball, direction is a major challenge. Divots are quite deep and this golfers’ tendencies will be to hit pull draws with the occasional push or flare. There is not enough body curve in this mid-level impact position.
This impact position is invariably the demise of the better golfer. Here the golfer has found a way to attack the ball from the inside while still delivering a downward blow to the ball, yet there is too much of a good thing. The head hangs back while the hips drive to the target, dropping the clubhead too far to the inside and encouraging the hands to flip through impact. This golfer will tend to play well with good timing, but should things get nervy they will hit blocks and quick, sweeping hooks.
Analyze your shot pattern on the golf course and start to get an idea as to which of the above categories you fall into. Get in front of a mirror and work towards improving or tempering certain elements of your impact position. As you do this remember feel is very seldom real when it comes to golf. Create the correct look in the mirror and then absorb what that ‘look’ feels like and take that out to your next practice session.
There are many ways to swing a golf club, but only one way to hit a golf ball correctly.
The whole idea behind my philosophy is the above statement. When looking at the top players of all time, there are no two golfers that swing the club the same way, however they all manage to impact and strike the ball in a similar fashion. How is it possible that Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd and Nancy Lopez can make the ball get to the target the same way that Ben Hogan, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods do? The only answer can be impact. A position where the weight is well on the front foot, the handle leads the clubhead into the ball while the head remains over or slightly behind the ball.
Today I will identify a few key factors that facilitate a sound impact position. Swing the club any way you want, but obey these few simple points, because the vast majority of the greatest golfers follow them.
Almost every champion golfer has a grip that favors the strong end of the spectrum vs. the weaker side. I can only find one legendary golfer that utilized a weak grip and that would be Ben Hogan – all the others were strong, with a few being neutral. A strong grip encourages the hands to lead the clubhead into the strike – an integral part of a proper strike on the ball.
At address it is important for the head to be centered between the feet. This will leave the spine relatively verticle and the shoulders fairly level. Stance width should favor narrow over wide and the ball should never be too far forward. Keep in mind this set-up is in place to allow the golfer to get into a proper impact position as simply as possible.
There are two important points to note in the pivot motion: the plane upon which the shoulders pivot and whether or not the body stays within the 84 degree line. The plus here is that the better the shoulder pivot, the less likely the body is to move laterally (sway) and get across the 84 degree line.
In the shoulder pivot, the lead shoulder must move down and then across vs. simply turning across and behind the ball.
As the body winds to the top and just before transition begins, the back side of the body should be flush up against the 84 degree line. This loads the energy in the swing efficiently and prepares the body to glide effortlessly into a sound impact position. If you do happen to break the line with your hips or upper body here, you will be challenged to get to the proper impact position.
Notice how all of the above factors are in place to facilitate the body being able to get to impact in an efficient manner. This is the secret to all of golf’s greatest players’ swings: they all had different swings, but everything they did allowed them to get into the proper position to deliver the club onto the ball correctly. You would do well to incorporate a few of these elements into your swing.
One of the most important parts of a great impact is getting the hands in front of the clubhead or ball. This position encourages a delofted clubface and increased ball compression. Additionally, I have found that the hands appear to line up up with the lead thigh at impact for the vast majority of the top players in the game. There are a few factors that play a big role in your ability to get the hands forward at impact and compress the golf ball.
If you are tired of scooping at impact or a weak inconsistent strike then read on….. The primary factor is the quality of your grip. The weaker the grip the further back the hands tend to start at address and the further back they are required to be at impact. I don’t ever recall seeing a golfer with a weak grip (other than Ben Hogan) getting the hands far enough in front of the ball at impact. Think about it: if the grip is weak and the more forward the hands are, then the more open the face will be at impact. Take a look how many Tour golfers have grips that appear to be stronger vs. weaker and they all have forward shaft lean at impact. Essentially a weak grip necessitates that the hands be further back than they should at impact (they must be back in order to square the clubface), and the more back the hands are, the poorer the strike and the weaker the trajectory will tend to be.
If you are currently the owner of a weak, or even neutral, grip try this:
- As you prepare to take your grip, rotate the face 20-30 degrees closed
- Now take your regular grip
- At address make sure the face is square (this will rotate your hands and arms into a stronger position)
For some reason this method of strengthening your grip does not seem to be as uncomfortable as merely just rotating your hands on the club. Move the club instead. Give it a try.
A proper strong grip will enable you to lead the clubhead with the handle while maintaining a square clubface at impact and compress the ball – isn’t that what we’re after?
Here is a gallery containing almost 30 PGA Tour golfers from past and present. Take a look at where their hands are at impact:
Lee Westwood is an exceptional ball striker and a contender in almost every major championship.
The interesting part about Lee’s swing, which I regard as somewhat unique, is his impact position. Is that a chicken wing? Surely that cannot be good? Remember that the only factor that matters is the physics (forces and angles) that the golf club imparts on the ball.
Retief Goosen is the another premier golfer who gets into this impact position, although to a much lesser degree. In looking at the top picture notice that the handle of the club is positioned in line with the lead thigh. This is the key element. With the driver, the shaft should be vertical or leaning slightly forward, as in the Westwood image, but with irons there should be a few degrees of shaft lean. As a result the hands should once again be aligned with the lead thigh.
The moral of the story – get the club in a great position, relative to the ball, at impact and good things will happen – chicken wing and all.
Should your chicken wing not be quite as functional as the two players above here is a little help: