Striking the ground before the ball is a problem faced by many players and is normally caused by an early extension of the wrists during the down swing.
This occurs when the wrists unhinge early in the down swing, reducing the angle between the wrists and club shaft. This means the club shaft and arms extend and straighten too early, bottoming the club out of its natural arc and impacting the ground before the ball.
To improve ball striking and to make a pure contact with the ball before the ground, the angle between the wrists and club shaft needs to be maintained during the down swing to just before impact when the wrists unhinge, the arms straighten and then extend through the ball.
There are a few drills players can use to help maintain the angle of the wrists and club shaft during the down swing.
- Take your address position over the ball and swing to the top of your back swing. You should see a 90 degree angle created between the left arm (for a right handed golfer) and the club shaft at the top the back swing.
- Pause for a moment at the top of the swing, focusing on maintaining the angle between the left arm and club shaft.
- Bring the club down, slowly rehearsing the first move in the down swing where the hips rotate and the arms drop. Pause halfway down, where the left arm should be pointing down at the ground, with the club shaft parallel to the ground. The angle created by the left arm and club is still 90 degrees.
- Hold this position for a moment before returning to the top of the back swing position.
- Now swing through at full speed and try to repeat the same position just practiced during the down swing.
- This should help you to understand the feeling of maintaining the angle between the shaft, wrists and arms.
- The swoosh drill is an advancement of the pump drill with a couple of extra twists.
- Rather than using a club, use an alignment stick or garden cane to swing. As long as it is sufficiently long, thin and heavy enough to make a ‘swoosh’ sound as it travels through the air.
- Taking a set up position, repeat the pump drill with the stick. When swinging through, you will hear the swoosh.
- Try to get the swoosh sound emanating from after where the ball would be positioned.
- This will show you have maintained the wrist angle all the way through the down swing and only straightened the stick and arms after impact.