Top 5 Tips on Impact
The one million dollar question. There is not a single golfer in the entire world that is 100% content with their impact and ball striking. Even the best golfers in the world are constantly working to improve their contact with the ball, which will ultimately help to improve their scoring. I have battled inconsistencies with my impact for years, but I have found a few tips that do help me continue down the path of perfection. I do realize that every golf article or website in the world claims to have the answer to impact issues, but to be honest, there is no such thing as a cure-all. However, you can apply the following drills to help improve your ball striking, and with the correct amount of time and effort, you will see the desired results.
The first thing I want you to look at when thinking about impact, is to focus on your front shoulder. Ideally, your front shoulder will be above your front foot at impact. When you are able to get that front shoulder over your lower body during the downswing, you are ensuring that the impact with the ball is as it should be. When looking at this setup, first focus on shifting your weight to your front side, and let your body start to unwind. I want you to feel your front shoulder pull away from your chin as the upper body begins the turn towards the target. Follow this “shifting” sequence throughout the swing, and the club will stay inside on the powerful path towards the ball. The common flaw here is when golfers spin their shoulders without shifting their weight to the front side of the body. When you do this, it causes you to hit both fat and thin shots, which are nothing anyone wants to see. So, what drills should you work on to correct this mistake? There is one drill that really helps with the shoulder turn, and it will require you to find a small hill or mound to hit some shots off of. I want you to only focus on the downhill shot, which will allow the gravity to pull your body towards the front foot. I know at this point in your career, you have played a golf shot off of a downhill lie. Did you notice that you almost begin walking forward during the follow through? This is good, your body is going with the natural gravity, and you are getting the weight to the front foot as it should be. The only way to make solid contact on a downhill slope, is to move your body forward.
The next motion I want you to focus on involves your shoulders (again) and your hips. Ideally, you will tilt the shoulders away from the target due to your back hand being lower on the grip than your front hand. When you do this, make sure your hips stay level. Although you do want to rotate the hips throughout the swing, you do want to keep them level throughout to avoid the dreaded “dip” or “raise” in your swing, which causes the chunk or thin golf shot. Back to the shoulders. When you keep your shoulder tilt away from the target, it also helps you maintain the ideal spine angle, which ensures your distance from the ball stays consistent. The most common flaw with most golfers has to do with, you guessed it, your shoulders. If your shoulders move away from the ball, you will ultimately drive your shoulders down towards the ball, which will cause you to dip at impact. This usually will occur when you try to hit the ball too hard, which can throw most of your swing off plane and hinders impact with the ball. The drill that I want you to work on is actually quite simple. Take your normal stance without a golf club, and put your hands together as if you were setting up to hit a shot. Now, take your right hand to the top, and swing it below your left hand. This is the ideal motion you want to have during your swing, so work on this drill until you are confident your shoulders are tilting correctly, and the hips are rotating (and not dipping).
Although these two drills may seem quite simple at first, I do not suggest you doing each of them just a few times and then moving on. If you truly want to correct your impact with the ball, you really need to invest the time when looking at weight-shift, shoulder tilt, and hip turn. If you noticed throughout both drills, the shoulders are absolutely vital when it comes to impact with the golf ball. Invest the time into perfecting these drills, and you will see your impact improve as time goes on.