Golf would be easy if everyone could just find the 'sweet spot' of their club on every swing! Unfortunately, many of our shots are mishits, where the ball strikes the club-face everywhere but the sweet spot.
The key to hitting the ball consistently straight and solid requires putting the club-face at the right position at impact. To do this requires starting off your swing with the club at the same position you wish it to be at impact.
This week, I will give you some drills that will help you improve your ball striking and hit straighter shots.
First clean your club-face and then apply three rows of tape on the face of your iron. Start by placing three or four balls on shallow tees. The ball should sit on the tee so that the centre of the ball is in the centre of the club-face. Make your swing and then look at the tape on your club-face to see where the impact marks are.
If the marks are on the sole of the club-face, then you need to work on maintaining your spine angle to impact. It could also mean that you are shortening your lead arm prior to impact.
Markings on the toe of the club usually indicate that you may be having an issue with your balance. Work on improving posture so that your weight is not so much on your heels through impact. Your shoulders should be more over your toes at address and at impact.
The forward press drill is a good drill that helps you see and feel the proper position of the club at impact. Start with your address position, and make sure that the shaft of your club is leaning forward towards your target. Press your weight forward so that it is on your front foot, and using your right arm (for right-handed golfers) press the club-face forward until you feel the club being pressed into the ground. Then relax your arms, take your normal back-swing and swing forward through the ball. This will help you get into the proper position at impact and at the same time feel how the club-face should trap the ball into the ground at impact.
Many golfers, especially women, rarely take a divot with their irons because they afraid of hitting the ground. In order to hit irons solidly, the club-face must hit the ball first and the ground second through impact. To learn how to take a divot on the target side of the ball, place four balls in a straight line on the grass at the practise range. Then take four tees and position them each about the width of the ball in front of each ball. If you have the correct ball position and are hitting down and through the ball, each of the tees should come out of the ground after each ball is struck. Practise hitting shots with the tees in front until you start seeing divots on the target side of the ball.
The last drill which you can do is the stacking drill. Many players find it difficult to get behind the ball before impact and end up hitting thin and topped shots. You want to stack or shift your weight on to your right side (for right-handed golfers) in your back-swing. This will help you to get more of your body behind the ball. Take your normal address position and simply lift up your front target foot so that it is more on the toe. Automatically you will find that your weight quickly shifts onto your right side during your back-swing and that you are able to quickly 'stack' more off your weight on your right side. Practise this swing drill at the range and even on the golf course prior to your swing to help achieve a better weight transfer in your back-swing. Once you have achieved this position, all you need to to do is make a good hip turn forward, finishing with your weight on your front target foot through impact. This move alone will help you feel and achieve more solid shots.
Next Week: Fall – A Great Time to Buy New Clubs