Top 4 Tips On Best Ways to Fix Heel Shots
Heel shots can frustrate everyone and they happen to all skill levels. Novice golfers can see some nasty results when the ball strikes the heel. For advanced golfers, heel shots spin more, flight is higher and they lose significant distance. A heel shot is not a shank though contact gets rather close to the hosel. An advanced player will almost immediately feel a heel shot and for the most part can correct it quickly.
Like most mishits in golf, the heel shot is undesirable yet can yield satisfactory results. Heel shots don’t carry the spin rate like a shot that was hit in the center with an open club face. Heel shots come off the club face with less ball speed which ultimately keeps them in play or moving towards the desired target. However, if you consistently struggle with this mishit you’ll never accomplish the goals you set for yourself.
Under pressure, the heel shot can be the difference between winning and losing. Consistent flaws will make an appearance when it matters to you most. To avoid this we need to ensure a level of practice has been achieved that creates confidence under pressure.
Follow these tips to eliminate the chance of hitting your next shot off the heel.
For those that have a heel shot as a nemesis, it’s very likely they stand too close to the ball or rather the ball is positioned to close to the body. Ball position is the main suspect if you consistently make contact with the heel. With the driver it’s extremely important to create space between your hands and body to allow the length of the club to do its job. When we get too close to the ball, the tendency is to swing more upright and our weight gets trapped on the back foot. The swing path will become off plane and the club will strike the ball near the heel. Once we create some space and have the ball positioned further up in the stance and away from our body, this will allow us to swing freely away from the target.
A great drill to practice is ‘swinging the grip’. To accomplish this drill simply turn the club upside down and take your grip below the club head. Next, line up to the ball with the butt end of the grip just inside the ball. Take a slower than normal swing. If you make contact with the ball, it’s equivalent to hitting a heel shot. If you can make a minimum of five swings without making contact with the ball, flip the club around and make a swing at the ball. You should feel an immediate difference in your contact. This drill ultimately trains us to find the sweet spot. Tennis and Baseball players use a racket and bat where the sweet spot is in a straight line from the player’s hands. In golf the sweet spot lies off center from the hands. Therefore, we need to train our golf swing to keep the sweet spot slightly off center from our hands.
Thinking about contact can cause paralysis by analysis. But in this case, to eliminate hitting heel shots it’s important to focus on where we wish the club to make contact with the ball. Jack Nicklaus always focussed his eyes at the exact spot on the ball he wished to make contact. This spot was directly on the target line near the bottom side of the ball. Most recreational golfers are first concerned about technique and though they look like they’re eyes are on the ball, the brain is not. It’s very similar to learning how to drive a car. If you’re eyes wander, you’re likely to steer the wheel in that direction. It’s the same with golf. If you train your eyes to remain focussed on the exact impact spot, you’ll have better results in making solid contact. Remember to focus on impact and don’t let your eyes wander.
If all else fails and you keep hitting heel shots, it’s a high likelihood that your clubs are not properly fit for your swing. When you purchase clubs off the rack in a store or pro shop, they will come set with standard lengths and lies. The importance of going through a proper club fitting can’t be stressed enough. At the very least it eliminates blame on the clubs and allows you to focus on the areas that need improvement. A good club fitter will run you through a variety of shafts and combinations until you have the proper equipment in your hands. Well fit clubs could dramatically improve your ball striking.