The Impact-Driven Golf Swing

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 (with irons) while the head remains over or slightly behind the ball.

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No More Slicing!

 

If you are like the vast majority of golfers and you tend towards slicing or "power fading" the golf ball and I told you that with one simple change you could straighten out your shots and get a fair bit longer at the same time it would sound too good to be true wouldn't it? The great news is that it IS true.

If your shots are constantly fading or slicing then your clubface must be aiding in getting the ball to curve this way.  The most important factor in determining the clubface angle is the grip and if you're a slicer/fader then there is a very good chance your grip is weak - no matter how it "feels"!  A weak grip leads to active/flippy hands  through the hit and this takes away from a golfers ability to trap or compress the golf ball. You know the feel and sound when you hit one just right....that's what we're after!

As you grip the club in your normal fashion rotate the face down/closed from vertical 30 degrees and then set up to the ball. Keep in mind that 30 degrees is equivalent to one hour on a clock so don't over do this.  Be sure that all you have changed is the club position.  Now the face will feel very closed at address, and you need to work towards getting (and keeping) the face square at address without altering your grip.

 
Essentially you are making a grip change as you move from a weak position to a stronger one. After a little practice you should start to feel that you can at least keep the ball straight and if all is going well you might even notice a little extra distance.  The biggest challenge you face as you execute this drill is to overcome the sense of discomfort in the hands and arms at address. Relax, hang on and know that discomfort at this point is a good thing - a positive change is occuring.
 

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Putting with a Pop!

I have always believed there should be a measure of “hit” in every putting stroke. In studying the top putters, it is uncanny how they seem to pop the ball off the center of the putter face; it’s almost as though they manage to compress the ball with the putter face. True, there is no divot involved (call me if there is - soon!), but there is definitely a louder and crisper impact sound when an expert putts the ball. Throughout the stroke, the putter seems to load in the backswing, lag in the transition, pop through the hit, and release into the follow through -- a similar motion to the one required to crack a whip, yet on a substantially smaller scale.

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Golf Impact Drills

In order for a golfer to improve their ball striking they must get into a better impact position.  Here are a few tried and trusted impact drills to help you get to where you need to be: (Use a seven or eight iron when a club is required in all of the drills below)

  • The first drill is the down slope drill.  Simple enough!  Just watch for allowing your upper body to sneak down the hill as well - try to ensure your head remains over the ball.  At address, make sure you maintain a regular ball position.

Downslope Drill

  • The impact bag drill.  Another fairly straightforward exercise here, but the benefit lies in the details.  When the club impacts the bag be sure to get the shaft to contact the upper part of the bag before the club head gets there.  This will ensure that the handle leads the clubhead.  Also, save your joints, club and impact bag by not whaling away at the bag too hard.  You just want a feel to carry over to the real deal.

Impact Bag Drill done Correctly

  • The 'hip press' drill.  This is a great drill that will give you a very good sense of body position at impact and also provide you with an amazing stretch.  If you slice or fade the ball this is for you! Set up to a ball without a club and your hands on your hips.  While maintaining your head position over the ball drive your hips as far toward the target as your body will allow.  Your back heel should come off the ground slightly as you feel the back leg straighten.  It will feel like you are pointing at the ground with the big toe on your back foot!  Hold for five seconds and release.  Afterwards try this with a club in your hands.

Hip Press Drill

  • The towel/line drill works wonders for compressing the ball and taking those ideal 'bacon strip' divots.  It ensures that the golfer shifts the weight onto the front foot at impact.  Practice as pictured, making sure the towel provides a slight amount of elevation and all the ensuing divots occur forward of the line of golf balls. 

The Towel/Line Drill in Action

To get a little more sizzle on your shots, irons or woods, try the above drills!

I look forward to the Open Championship tomorrow.  Golfweek has a great slideshow that captures the vibe.  The weather looks good and the rough looks brutal.

It seems that the two Scottish greats, Monty and Sandy Lyle are feuding over who should be Ryder Cup captain first and who cheated! Shame on ya wee laddies!

I look for Padraig and Rory to perform nicely! Here are the latest odds. 

Enjoy!

The 84 Degree Secret Explained

The most interesting discovery I made when studying the top golfers of all-time for Its All About Impact was the 84 degree secret. It is uncanny how different all their swings are yet the vast majority of them find a way to obey this important element in the swing.

Please keep in mind that the 84 degree line is only important as it pertains to impact. It serves to position the weight correctly throughout the swing so that the body can easily glide into the proper impact position.

As you view the picture above picture a line running up this golfers right side (left as you view it).  The line forms an 84 degree angle off of vertical (90 degrees).  The line should run up the outside of the right leg, cut through a portion of the shoulder and just barely graze the side of the head. When studying swings I started to use this line to isolate body movement and quickly found it to be a good guide for the address position and as a player approached the top of the backswing.

Wright 84At address the head should not break the line. I noticed with golfers who had too much tilt at address this was quite prevalent and they all had a difficult time assuming the proper impact position once they had started poorly.  Notice the picture below.

Too Wide and Tilted

Another common fault was breaking the 84 degree line in the backswing with too much lateral motion. This fault very often originates with too much tilt at address. Try to feel centered over the ball throughout the backswing. Keep in mind that this can be done while still maintaining a sense of loading into the back side or leg.   Notice the picture below....

Too Much Lateral Motion

I have found that an excellent drill that conveys the appropriate feel is the ball drill pictured below.  Position your back foot up against a wall and place a basketball or soccerball between your head and the wall.  Crossing your arms across your chest, pivot into your back side feeling the wind and torque in your core muscles.  Hold the position at the top to absorb the sense or feel you have. This is what the body should feel like when it is correctly positioned to compress the ball at impact!

84 Degree Drill