There is a certain amount of lateral body movement during the golf swing but most players hit their best shots when they stay centred behind the ball.
Although staying ‘behind the ball’ may mean different thing to different players it most commonly refers to keeping the head level with or just behind the ball at impact. When the head begins to get too far ahead of the ball, the down swing arc (the circular motion taken by the club around the body) normally becomes too steep. This usually results in players striking down excessively on the ball or hitting the ball fat and thin. Left handed golfers should look to ‘stay behind the ball’ to ensure their swing arc is consistent and they can deliver the correct amount of power to the ball; especially when hitting the driver.
How to Stay Behind the Ball
Although staying behind the ball is a consistent way to hit most golf shots, achieving this position is not always easy. There are also a number of causes as to why players may be getting too far ahead of the ball at impact. This drill is designed to help players who slide too far forward with the hips and shift too much lateral weight on to the right side during the down swing; although it does require some equipment.
1. Get set up over the ball with either a waist high box/golf bag/chair resting about five inches outside the right hip.
2. The box should be set back slightly to allow the arms to swing through without making contact.
3. The idea is to turn away from the ball with the shoulders and torso whilst remaining centred. Remaining centred means keeping the head still whilst turning away from the ball.
4. If a full and successful back swing has been completed, the head will have remained centred and the box will remain about five inches outside the right hip.
5. On the down swing, left handed golfers need to feel the hips are rotating towards the target. As they rotate, they should turn on the inside of the box and not collide with it.
6. If the hips have turned successfully, the head will have remained centred whilst the body rotates around and delivers a crushing blow to the ball.
7. This drill should first be attempted with high lofted irons then fairway woods and the driver.
Staying centred with the fairway wood and driver is more important than with the irons. This is because the fairway woods and driver have a shallower angle of attack into the ball which could be excessively steeped if a left handed golfer gets too far ahead of the ball.
Left handed golfers should use the imagery of staying centred and the above drill to help stay more behind the ball at impact for better strikes.