Best Way to Stay Behind the Golf Ball During the Swing and Impact - Senior Golf Tip (Video)
Best Way to Stay Behind the Golf Ball During the Swing and Impact - Senior Golf Tip (Video)

Okay. I want to talk about the best way of actually staying behind the ball. Lots of people have different ideas of how to stay behind the ball, but let’s focus on the one that we actually want to work on and that is the most important thing, which is keeping the head still, not down, not down here, but keep it still. Keep your head, if anything always have your head a little bit higher than normal, keep it away from the chest. That’s important so the shoulder can actually come underneath the chin, so just put your head a little bit higher rather than lower, okay? Keep that head still. The reason for focusing on the head in this exercise is purely simply that too many times you get to the top and then the head moves.

If the head moves forward then you can see what’s happening, everything is coming down on top to of the ball. If it comes down on top of the ball, we’re hitting or smothering the shot, there is not hip turn, there is no shoulder turn, there is no weight transfer, in other words everything is being cut off at that moment of impact because the head moved, nothing to do with the head coming up, it’s just the head moving, so I need you to focus on keeping that head still, that’s the most important part of this. Now, a good exercise to actually get this into perfect sort of position is to go back to this feet together, which I use and use time and time again in all sorts of different lessons. It really is the best tip I can give you for getting this sorted out, the rhythm and tempo of the swing, just about any sort of fault you can think about.

Put your feet together. Remember, the key here is to stay behind the ball, so if I put my knees together and I stand here and I move my head slightly forward, I’ve lost my balance and you might be looking and thinking I did that on purpose. Well, you get on the practice ground and you try that and I can assure you it’s not done on purpose. What you need to do is put your feet together, your knees together and from here you just swing that club back, keep your head, remember, keep it still, keep it still, keep it still and surprise, surprise, I’ve still got the same balance as I started with. So, there is a good tip for you. So, we got to keep the head still and by doing that that’s the best way of actually staying behind the ball, that’s where you want to be the impact. Go and work on it and use that feet together, it’s so easy.

2013-08-06

One of the most important things you can do during the golf swing is to control the movement of your body successfully.

Best Way to Stay Behind the Golf Ball During the Swing and Impact

If your body is out of position during the swing – especially at the moment of impact – it will be nearly impossible to strike the ball cleanly. Unfortunately, this is an area where most amateur golfers struggle badly. A big piece of the puzzle that is missing for most golfers is the ability to keep their body in the right spot during the swing. Learn to get over this hurdle and you’ll be a lot closer to quality ball striking.

In this article, we are going to offer advice on how you can ‘stay behind the golf ball’ during your swing. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry – we’ll talk about that, as well. Staying behind the ball is important and it is something which is done successfully be nearly every professional golfer. You may be surprised at how solid your ball striking can feel when you do manage to stay behind the ball properly all the way through impact.

If you are currently getting past the golf ball during the swing, it’s going to take some time to make the necessary changes. The adjustments you need to make won’t necessarily be easy, and they probably won’t come quick, but they will be worth it in the end. Sometimes, in golf, you need to be willing to struggle for a bit before you have a breakthrough. That is likely to be the case here. Commit yourself to learning how to position your body during the swing and be willing to ride it out when times get tough. In the end, you’ll eventually have a swing that you can be proud of, and one which produces consistent results.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

What Does It Mean to Stay Behind the Ball?

What Does It Mean to Stay Behind the Ball?

Before you even think about heading to the range to work on this fundamental, you first need to understand what it means to stay behind the ball. Too many golfers head to the range with only a partial understanding of what it is they are trying to improve. It should be easy to see why this is a ‘plan’ that is destined to fail. You need to understand very clearly what you are trying to change if those changes are actually going to take place.

In this case, staying behind the ball means you are going to keep your body a bit farther from the target than the ball, both during the swing and at impact. As you look down from above, you should see that the ball is just to the left of your center of gravity (the exact position of the ball will depend on the club you are using). If you are closer to the target than the ball during the swing, trouble is sure to follow. It is essential that you stay behind the ball if you hope to deliver a powerful, accurate blow into the back of the ball time after time. As is usually the case in golf, there are a couple of exceptions to this point, and those come into play when trying to hit certain specialty shots. We’ll touch on those shots in the last section of this article.

In addition to understanding what you are trying to accomplish with the swing, it’s also useful to know why you are trying to accomplish a given goal. What is to be gained? Let’s take a look at a few ways your game may improve as a result of staying behind the ball.

  • Added distance. This is the big one. If you can stay nicely behind the ball during the swing and at impact, you should be able to hit the ball harder on a regular basis. Basically, you will be giving yourself the chance to put everything you have into the shot. Players who allow their bodies to move past the ball before impact are only hitting the shot with a portion of their potential power. Even if they do manage to hit a decent shot, that shot will always be at least a little short of what it could have been. Golf is not all about distance, of course, but it sure is nice to have plenty of power available when standing on the tee or in the fairway.
  • Improved trajectory. Picking up distance is a nice place to start, but that’s only the first of many ways in which your game might improve. Another important issue here is the trajectory that your swing produces. When you allow your body to get past the ball, it’s likely that you will only be able to hit low shots. Your swing will be steep, your launch angle will be low, and it’s unlikely that the ball will have enough spin to climb up into the air in a meaningful way. And, even if you do create enough spin to let the ball climb, such a shot is just going to turn into a ballooning ball flight, which is rarely useful. It’s a whole different story when you learn how to stay back. By staying behind the ball, you should be able to easily raise your launch angle. That is going to naturally lead to higher shots, even though your spin rate may be moderated a bit. In the end, it’s almost certain that you will prefer the trajectory you produce when behind the ball as compared to the one created when you let your body move too far to the left.
  • Clean ball striking. Somehow, this is a point which is often-overlooked in the amateur game. Many players are too busy worrying about their swing speed or their ball flight pattern to stop and think about the importance of striking the ball cleanly. If you can place the sweet spot of the club on the back of the ball swing after swing, many of your other worries in the game are likely to fade away. Staying back can help your ball striking because it will eliminate much of the side to side movement that makes it tough to achieve a clean hit in the first place. When a golfer is moving all over the place during the swing, catching the ball cleanly is a nearly impossible task. You should always be thinking about simplicity when working on your game. By keeping the position of your body relatively stable and steady during the swing, there will be fewer moving parts to worry about, and your swing will be more repeatable as a result.
  • Play better under pressure. To be fair, it is possible to produce some decent shots even if you let your body get too far to the left in your swing. You might be able to time up your release in a way that allows you to hit the ball toward the target. This is especially true if you happen to be blessed with excellent hand-eye coordination. However, getting away with this kind of swing on the range is one thing – making it work on the course is quite another. Swings that rely on too much timing in the hands and wrists are destined to fall apart at some point. If you’d like to be able to play well under pressure, it’s a good idea to take the extra fluff out of your swing and just concentrate on the basics. A golf swing which keeps you behind the ball all the way through impact is one that should be able to hold up nicely when the pressure is on.

You stand to benefit in many ways if you learn how to stay behind the ball. Again, this is not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing is ever easy. When you face some struggles on the range, come back to this list of benefits to remind yourself of what it is that you are chasing.

Finding the Right Address Position

Finding the Right Address Position

Starting the swing with your body in the right position is crucial to your success. Many golfers fail to work on their address position – likely because it’s not very much fun to do so – and those golfers fall short of their potential as a result. In golf, sometimes you need to work on the boring things in order to take your performance to new heights. Dedicate yourself to building a quality stance and you’ll find that the game immediately gets a bit easier.

We aren’t going to be able to cover every single aspect of the address position here, since that would be enough content for several other articles. Instead, we are just going to touch on a few key points you’ll want to keep in mind. If you can check off the three points below when creating your stance, you’ll be that much closer to successfully staying behind the ball during your swing.

  • Great balance. It’s going to be nearly impossible to play this game successfully if you don’t start from a balanced position. Balance is one of the core fundamentals in golf, so it only makes sense that you should focus on it when taking your stance. If you were to start your swing in an off-balance position, you’d have to try and restore your balance at some point during the swinging action. Obviously, that is not an ideal situation. Instead, find your balance before the swing even begins and work hard to maintain it all the way through impact and into the finish.
  • Flexed knees. ‘Bend your knees’ is a tip you probably heard pretty early on in your golf career. Of course, this is commonly a piece of advice provided in other sports, so it makes sense that it would carry over into the golf world. And, to be sure, it is important to flex your knees prior to making a golf swing. With your knees bent, you’ll have a solid platform on which to make your swing. Not only will this help your lower body get involved with the swing, but it will also help you to stay balanced more easily once the swing begins. The exact amount of knee flex you should use will vary from player to player, so feel free to experiment a bit before deciding how far down you will go.
  • Chin up. This is a point which is easy to overlook, as it seems like it wouldn’t have much of an impact on your swing overall. However, keeping your chin up at address is actually one of the most important things you can do before the club starts in motion. This is an important key because it will help you to rotate properly in your backswing. With your chin up and out of the way, your shoulders will have the room they need to turn away from the target freely. That means you’ll be able to rotate well and you won’t have to slide from side to side in order to hit the shot. Avoiding the slide is essential if you are to stay behind the ball, and we will cover that topic in greater detail in the next section.

We understand that working on your address position at the driving range may not be particularly exciting. In fact, you might find it downright boring, depending on how interested you are in the details of the game. With that said, any golfer who is serious about shooting lower scores should be willing to invest time and effort in the pursuit of a solid stance.

Avoid This Key Mistake

Avoid This Key Mistake

A big part of staying behind the golf ball successful during your swing is going to come down to one key skill – avoiding a lateral slide. The lateral slide is a major problem in the amateur game, and if you feel like you are getting past the ball at impact, it’s very likely the lateral slide is to blame. To put your body into a position that will be able to generate quality shots, the lateral slide simply has to go.

Typically, the lateral slide will start from the very beginning of the swing. Rather than turning away from the target by rotating the left shoulder under the chin, the golfer will slide his or her weight to the right. This puts a bad series of events into motion, and it’s almost certain that the end result of the swing will be disappointing. Once you are on your right side in the backswing, you’ll need to get back to the left somehow before you strike the shot. That means sliding back to the left, which is again going to take away from the rotational aspect of your swing. You may be able to hit decent shots while sliding from side to side, if your timing is good, but your swing will never be what it could be with an improved focus on balance and rotation.

If you are going to get rid of the slide, you should focus first on improving your takeaway. You can’t allow any amount of lateral slide to the right to make its way into your initial move away from the ball. Make sure you are staying perfectly balanced during this early phase, while simply turning your shoulders to rotate your upper body away from the target. Simply by getting into a better habit during the first few inches of the backswing, you’ll go a long way toward taking the slide out of your swing completely.

Once you get comfortable with the way this kind of rotational swing feels, it will just be a matter of practice to make sure you can replicate it out on the course. It’s quite a change to move from a swing with a lateral slide to a swing which is based on rotation, so be patient with yourself. It’s almost certain that your ball flight is going to change as part of this process, which means you’ll need to adjust to that new flight pattern when you do get back onto the course.

It should be mentioned that eliminating the slide from your swing technique is going to help with more than just staying behind the ball. That’s an important piece of the puzzle, of course, but you’ll also find that you are more consistent from a variety of lies, as well. It’s simply easier to swing the club by rotating as compared to sliding. Take the time to teach yourself how to swing using rotation and your game will be on the right path.

Specialty Shots

Specialty Shots

To finish up our article, we are going to come back to something we mentioned earlier in the article. Most of the time, you want to stay behind the ball nicely in order to position yourself for a solid strike. But that rule of thumb does not apply 100% of the time. On some occasions, you’ll actually want to let yourself get a bit past the ball at impact. In this last section, we are going to highlight two such shots.

  • The punch shot. The first shot we are going to discuss is the punch shot, and it is one that every golfer should know how to hit. As you may already know, a punch shot is one which is played low to the ground. This shot may be used for a variety of reasons, including to keep the ball down out of the wind or to let the ball bounce and roll up to the target. Whatever the case, letting your body find its way just past the position of the ball at impact is a good thing. You’ll be able to hit down with authority, which is exactly what you need to do in order to produce a low flight. Try to practice a few punch shots during each practice session so you’ve always got this shot available when the need arises.
  • Digging the ball out of the rough. The other time when you may want to have your body past the ball is when you need to dig the ball out of a bad lie in the rough. Fortunately, with the way most golf courses are manicured today, this isn’t going to come up very often. When it does, you’ll want to have your body slightly closer to the target than the ball, so you can hit down quite steeply and avoid as much of the rough behind the ball as possible. You shouldn’t expect much distance out of this kind of shot, but proper technique will hopefully let you at least get back to the short grass.

So, knowing that you need to get your body a bit in front of the ball for these kinds of shots, it’s time to start sliding again, right? Of course not! You have hopefully removed the slide from your game, and it is never to return again. In this case, you are going to position your body successfully with the use of ball positioning. Play the ball back in your stance so you can hit down with your body in front and still use the rotational swing you’ve learned. After a bit of practice, you should find that these two shots are actually relatively simple to execute.

Staying behind the golf ball during your swing and at impact can do you a lot of good. Is this one fundamental suddenly going to turn you into a professional-caliber golfer? No – probably not. It is a step in the right direction, however, so get down to work during your next visit to the driving range. We hope the information provided in this article will help you make the most of your upcoming practice sessions. Improvement in golf always takes time, but it is quite rewarding in the end. Good luck!

Okay. I want to talk about the best way of actually staying behind the ball. Lots of people have different ideas of how to stay behind the ball, but let’s focus on the one that we actually want to work on and that is the most important thing, which is keeping the head still, not down, not down here, but keep it still. Keep your head, if anything always have your head a little bit higher than normal, keep it away from the chest. That’s important so the shoulder can actually come underneath the chin, so just put your head a little bit higher rather than lower, okay? Keep that head still. The reason for focusing on the head in this exercise is purely simply that too many times you get to the top and then the head moves.

If the head moves forward then you can see what’s happening, everything is coming down on top to of the ball. If it comes down on top of the ball, we’re hitting or smothering the shot, there is not hip turn, there is no shoulder turn, there is no weight transfer, in other words everything is being cut off at that moment of impact because the head moved, nothing to do with the head coming up, it’s just the head moving, so I need you to focus on keeping that head still, that’s the most important part of this. Now, a good exercise to actually get this into perfect sort of position is to go back to this feet together, which I use and use time and time again in all sorts of different lessons. It really is the best tip I can give you for getting this sorted out, the rhythm and tempo of the swing, just about any sort of fault you can think about.

Put your feet together. Remember, the key here is to stay behind the ball, so if I put my knees together and I stand here and I move my head slightly forward, I’ve lost my balance and you might be looking and thinking I did that on purpose. Well, you get on the practice ground and you try that and I can assure you it’s not done on purpose. What you need to do is put your feet together, your knees together and from here you just swing that club back, keep your head, remember, keep it still, keep it still, keep it still and surprise, surprise, I’ve still got the same balance as I started with. So, there is a good tip for you. So, we got to keep the head still and by doing that that’s the best way of actually staying behind the ball, that’s where you want to be the impact. Go and work on it and use that feet together, it’s so easy.