Let's Get This Straight!

If you, as most golfers do, struggle with consistency then this article is for you. We all do really! The number one culprit for off target shots is the club face being misaligned at impact. We struggle to control the face through the strike. This simple video will give you some insight as to how you can start to do a better job. Keep in mind we’ll never be perfect, but we can be better. Watch…

Far too often I see golfers consciously trying to swing down the line. This forces the hands out and necessitates a flip through impact. You can hit good shots with a flip, just not enough consecutive good ones to play well for all 18 holes.

Here are a few keys:

  • Work the handle around the lead hip through and post impact. It turns the corner

  • The clubhead should arc back inside the flight of the ball very soon after impact whether you’re hitting draws or fades

  • Don’t be afraid to keep the club face relatively quiet, particularly if you struggle with blocks and hooks

Here is a simple half swing I made with a seven iron using a ClubHub sensor that clearly shows how the handle (light blue line) tracks inwards (and upwards) during the impact interval.

ClubHub 3D Track

Get to the range, start with the small shots I demonstrated and I believe you’ll very quickly gain a sense of how this works to quiet the club face through that all important strike zone.

Thanks for reading.

Should you be interested in getting together for some work on your golf game click HERE.

How to Stop Flipping - Guaranteed!

Ben Hogan once said that he despised any ball flight that curved from right to left (a draw!). Having been a chronic hooker of the ball in the early part of his career he knew what it was like to lose shots to the left. It wasn't until he found a way to overcome the dreaded flip through impact that the legend that is now Ben Hogan was created.

If you too struggle with untimely hooks and occasional blocks, you fully comprehend what Mr. Hogan had to overcome. Flippers have to rely on timing to make their shots go straight - the timing of the hand action through impact determines the outcome of each shot. And when impact between ball and face lasts for approximately 1/2000 of a second it's not that easy to be consistent - especially under pressure! The better you play, the greater your anxiety level, the less you control the timing of the flip - not a good recipe for low scores when it counts.

Having studied the swings of Hogan and Snead I found that when viewed from down the line it appears that the clubhead and ball seem to disperse aggressively post-impact. The clubhead moves quickly back inside the target line, while the ball launches straight. It almost appears as if they are trying to hit slices, yet the ball flight is very straight.

Watch the following video to get a sense of what to feel while doing the Anti-Flip Drill:

To practice the drill you will need the following:

  • Two alignment rods - one on the ground just outside the ball and another in the ground just inside the target line and 18-24 inches forward of the ball. Be sure that the one in the ground is leaning away from you (towards the target).
  • A 7 iron with the ball teed up so you can make sure it is in the same location relative to the rod in the ground each time.
  • Start small and slow, making sure you swing inside the rod with the clubhead and keep the face square to open thus launching the ball to the right of the rod.
  • Patience! Give it a few goes and you'll start to get the feel. Feel the clubhead and ball dispersing - one goes left and the other goes right. Remember that you have not been doing this "naturally" and that's why it feels so strange and "incorrect".

Here is the drill demonstrated in slow motion:

 

 

Golf Impact Errors

The Moment of Truth

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:

Head and Weight Back

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.

Head and Weight Forward

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.

Head Too Far Back with Weight Forward

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.

Additional Resources:

Impact - I Suck At Golf

Golf Swing Impact Position

Golf's Contact Zone