Improve Ball Striking by Keeping Eyes Level - Golf Swing Tip (Video)
Improve Ball Striking by Keeping Eyes Level - Golf Swing Tip (Video)

So if you're struggling with inconsistent strikes, let's look at how the head and the head's movement can actually control and help you with a little bit more consistency through the swing. When you address the golf ball, your eyes should naturally sit quite level. And if you're not sure about that current position, just face on into a mirror, take your normal golfing address position and just raise your head slightly. You should see your eyes are level. To actually help you with that, maybe even a baseball cap. Fit a baseball cap nice and square on your head, tilt forwards and look up and just check the level of the peak of the cap is nicely lined up to effectively where my camera is or where you've positioned your mirror.

Now, we'd like you to keep that head steady and level during the backswing. So as I make my backswing here watching myself in the camera or in the mirror, my eyes are going to stay level. Yes, a slight lateral shift to the right, that's okay, but not too much of a tilt, lift, or lowering; that would be a problem. For a lot of people, if they don't get that shoulder under their chin, their shoulder touches their chin, tilts their head slightly and we see a position like this in the backswing.

Now, the awkward nature of that position for a lot of people means that they can't then see the ball from their right eye socket. Now, if I turn to this position here in a bad position and close my left eye, my nose is actually in the way of my golf ball. And that means if I can only see the ball from one eye, my depth perception is not very good. Both eyes looking at the ball is good depth perception; one eye look at the ball now, very difficult depth perception. That can be a big cause of some inconsistent strikes as well.

So, here's a tip for you: once you've checked your eyes are level, to start with in the mirror, turn to the top, hold your position, and shoot your left eye. Look at the golf ball. Make sure that you can still see it. Make sure your nose isn't actually in the way of it. If your nose is in the way, your head's rotated too far, possibly because you're trying to actually turn too far. So let's go for a 90 degree shoulder rotation, if you can manage it, but not too much head turn to the right. Keep your eyes on the golf ball. Keep your head square, keep your head level all the way back through to impact. Then when your right shoulder hits your chin, that's when your head can come up and out of the shot into the follow through. But the eye's level is going to help you improve your ball striking.

2012-04-05

At the heart of the game of golf is the skill of ball striking.

Improve Ball Striking by Keeping Eyes Level

If you can develop the ability to put the club on the back of the ball cleanly time after time, you will be a big step ahead of most of your competition on the course. Sure, there are plenty of other skills required in order to post good scores – short game, course management, handling pressure, etc. – but building your game on a platform of great ball striking is a great way to get started.

Of course, as every golfer knows, it is one thing to talk about clean ball striking – it is another thing entirely to actually make it happen. Striking a golf ball cleanly with a full swing may be one of the most challenging skills not only in golf, but in all of sports. Nearly every golfer starts out with their ball striking at a pretty low level, and only those who work hard on their technique are able to improve over the long run.

In this article, we’d like to discuss some of the keys to quality ball striking. One key in particular is going to get special attention – keeping your eyes level. It’s never enough to just have one fundamental in place, as you are going to need to bring together many different solid techniques all into one package if you are going to strike the ball nicely. So, while we will focus on the idea of keeping your eyes level, we’ll also touch on a variety of other points that are important on this topic.

All of the instruction below is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Starting – and Staying – Level

Starting – and Staying – Level

Let’s dive right into the topic which is going to make up the focus of this article. To improve the quality of your ball striking, you may want to work on keeping your eyes level during the golf swing. That means starting out with them in a level position, and then holding that position through impact. If you can hit on this key fundamental, you may be surprised to find how much easier striking solid golf shots can become.

At this point, we probably need to back up a bit – what does it mean to keep your eyes level, anyway? As you might have guessed, keeping your eyes level has to do with keeping them in a position that is parallel to the ground, throughout the swing. So, at address, you start with your eyes parallel to the turf, and then you work to keep them there as the backswing develops and transitions into the downswing. Why is this helpful? Let’s look a few key benefits –

  • A good view. You are trying to hit the ball with your golf swing, so it is only natural that you would gain an advantage by being able to see the ball clearly as you swing. In pretty much any sport which involves hitting a ball, you want to be able to see that ball when you strike it. That’s the case in games like baseball and tennis, and it is certainly the case here, as well. Of course, you would still be able to see the ball if you allowed your eyes to shift away from a parallel position, but your view would not be as clear. Since precision is the name of the game at impact, giving yourself the best possible perspective on the ball is a big advantage. Even if you don’t change anything else about your technique, simply learning how to keep your eyes in a level position should quickly improve the quality of your ball striking.
  • Stability in your head position. This might be even more important than providing you with a clear view of the ball (although that is clearly important). When you are able to keep your head in a relatively stable position throughout your swing, you’ll be setting the stage to keep the rest of your body steady while rotating back and through. Too much body movement is associated with a long list of swing problems, so you want to minimize movement while still doing what you need to do to swing the club. One of the reasons that professional golfers’ swings seem to look so simple and repeatable is the fact that most of them do a great job of keeping their head steady. Next time you watch golf on TV, pay specific attention to the head position of your favorite player while he or she swings. Most likely, you aren’t going to see much movement, either up and down or side to side. As a side effect of working on keeping your eyes level, it’s very likely that you will keep your head steady – and that is a development worth celebrating.
  • Hit down effectively. One of the biggest points of trouble for amateurs in this game is hitting down on the ball with irons. Many players struggle to learn how to hit down, instead trying to help the ball up off the ground with a scooping action. There is certainly work you have to do with your hands in learning how to hit down, but controlling your eye position can help here, as well. When your eyes stay level, it’s easier to keep your whole body over top of the ball at impact – which is essential if you are going to hit down. It’s common for amateurs to tilt their heads to the right in the downswing, dropping the right eye below the level of the left, which is going to make it nearly impossible to hit down. More likely, your weight will hang back behind the ball, the club will bottom out too early, and you will hit the shot fat. This is a pattern that countless players have seen repeated over and over again. By keeping your eyes level, it may be possible to move past this struggle once and for all.

Clearly, you have a lot to gain by keeping your eyes level during the golf swing. Elevating the level of your ball striking is going to raise the level of your play as a whole, and you should find that you start to have more fun on the course as a result.

Running into Trouble

Running into Trouble

At first, you might think that keeping your eyes level would be pretty easy during the golf swing. After all, you walk around during your day to day life with your eyes level to the ground for the most part, so doing the same on the course may seem like a simple task. Unfortunately, that proves not to be the case for many people. It’s actually quite easy to run into trouble on this point, so you’ll have to pay close attention on the range if you are going to get this part if your technique under control.

The points below are going to cover some of the ways in which you can get off track with your eye level during the swing.

  • Setting up in the wrong position. It’s relatively common in golf for trouble to start before you even put your club in motion. With regard to eye position, it’s pretty easy to get yourself into a bad position – and it will be almost impossible to recover once the swing does begin. The likely mistake here is to tilt your head to the right and allow your right eye to drop below the level of your left. Not only does this mean that your eyes will be out of level when you start the swing, but it also means that you may be leaning to the right at address. To work on improving this point, try practicing your stance in front of a mirror at home (without using a club). Just take a mock stance in front of the mirror and glance up slightly to make sure your eyes are level. As another option, you could always ask a friend to analyze the position of your eyes when you take your stance. If you can get into the habit of taking a stance with level eyes each and every time, you’ll find that the quality of your play improves quickly.
  • Reverse pivot on the way back. As your backswing progresses, it is important to maintain good balance. Not only is balance going to help you make a full turn and maximize swing speed, but it will also help to keep your eyes level. A reverse pivot is a mistake that you need to watch out for during the backswing – which means you need to avoid allowing your upper body to lean toward the target as you swing back. This is a relatively common mistake in the amateur game, as players who try to extend their backswing a little farther than it wants to go will end up leaning the wrong direction. If you do fall into the trap of using a reverse pivot, your left eye will end up lower than your right in most cases. For golfers in this category, the fix may not be a quick one. Expect to need to put in plenty of work on the range before you can adjust your balance and get away from this habit.
  • Lean right in the transition. In many ways, this is the opposite of the reverse pivot mistake listed above. Leaning left during the backswing is a problem, and leaning right during the downswing is also a problem. This happens when you let your right side drop during the transition from backswing to downswing. You may do this because it feels like you will be able to develop more power, or because you are trying to help the ball get up off the ground. Whatever the reason, this is a habit you are going to need to break. You’ll always struggle to strike the ball cleanly when you let your right side drop as the downswing starts, and it is going to be tough to produce much rotational speed, as well. When the right side of your body drops – your right shoulder, elbow, etc. – it’s almost certain your right eye is going to drop below your left.

There are a variety of mistakes that can possibly be made which will lead to your eyes getting out of level. Whether it is something listed above, or something else altogether, you’ll need to get on track with this important point if you are going to reach your potential on the course. Remember, improvement in golf takes tremendous patience and plenty of hard work, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll just head out to the range and find immediate success. Commit yourself to the process of improvement and your work should eventually pay off.

Other Ball Striking Keys

Other Ball Striking Keys

It is going to be helpful if you can manage to keep your eyes level during the golf swing. However, as was stated in the introduction this is not going to be enough all on its own, so we’d now like to shift gears and cover some of the other keys that will help you move your ball striking in the right direction. You may already manage to handle some of the fundamentals below successfully, so obviously only spend your time on those that are giving you trouble.

  • Staying within yourself. One of the leading problems in the amateur game – and maybe even in the professional game, from time to time – is trying to hit the ball too hard. It’s an easy temptation to understand, of course, as everyone loves to send the ball soaring down the fairway. However, the game really isn’t about maximizing distance as much as it is about control and precision. If you wish to become a consistent, accurate ball striker, it’s important to stay within yourself and make controlled swings. Believe it or not, once you get comfortable with the idea of swinging within your limits, you’ll actually find that it is a comfortable way to play the game. You will feel that you are more in control, and your misses will be much more manageable. Another thing that may surprise you when you start to swing under control is that you might not lose much distance – if you lose any at all. More controlled swings are likely to lead you to place the sweet spot of the club on the back of the ball over and over again. By striking the ball cleanly, you’ll get an excellent transfer of energy, and you will manage to squeeze every last available yard out of the speed you are producing.
  • Hands over or in front of the ball. When the club head arrives at impact, your hands should be at least even with the ball, if not a little bit in front, depending on the type of shot you are trying to hit. For most players, placing the hands directly over the ball at impact when hitting a driver is going to yield good results. With the irons, you’ll probably want to get your hands a little past the ball at impact in order to hit down effectively. Too many golfers wind up with their hands behind the ball at impact, which is a position that will very rarely yield any kind of positive result. To work on this fundamental, try hitting some short chip and pitch shots while paying attention to where your hands end up at the moment of impact. As you get comfortable with placing them in front of the ball, gradually make your swings longer and longer until you are hitting full shots.
  • The power of repetition. This is a hard game. You can’t expect to get better simply by reading articles or taking lessons. Yes, those things can be tremendously helpful, but they’ll only pay off if you go out to the range and put in the work necessary to better your skills. That means consistently hitting golf balls in practice, ideally once per week or more, if at all possible. These kinds of consistent repetitions are one of the best ways to make meaningful progress in your game. Try to find a driving range near to where you live or work and make it a habit to visit frequently. Often, driving range facilities will offer discounts for frequent customers, or they may even offer a membership for you to hit as many balls as you want for a set monthly price. It’s tempting to spend all of your available golf time getting out onto the course, but practice time at the range can be much more beneficial in terms of overall skill development.

It’s a great feeling as a golfer to know that your ball striking skills are really starting to come into focus. You’ll have more confidence on the course when you feel good about your ball striking, and it will be possible to produce shots that you wouldn’t have even been able to consider previously. By blending a steady eye level with a number of other key techniques, improved ball striking can be within reach.

An Important Short Game Point

An Important Short Game Point

When you think about ball striking, you probably think first about the full swing. It certainly is a challenge to strike the ball cleanly with your full swing, but that’s not where it ends in this game. You also need to strike the ball cleanly in the short game if you are going to find success. That’s pretty easy to do on the greens, of course, but it can be quite tricky when chipping and pitching. However, we have one handy tip that we would like to pass along here, and we think it will make a big difference in your play in this department.

When hitting a chip or pitch shot, it’s quite likely that you are going to be standing on an uneven lie. That’s not always the case, of course – sometimes you will get lucky and draw a perfectly flat lie for a chip shot. There tends to be a lot of slope in this area of the golf course, however, so chipping and pitching from uneven ground is a common task. When this type of shot comes up, do your best to set yourself level with the slope of the ground under your feet. The best way to do this is to think about matching up the plane of your shoulders with the turf. So, if you are playing on an upslope toward the target, your right shoulder will be set lower than your left. This is going to cause your eye level to match up pretty nicely with the slope, as well, and you should find it much easier to make clean contact.

During an upcoming short game practice session, try hitting some shots with your eyes matched up to the slope. If these are shots that have given you trouble in the past, you may be relieved to find that they are no longer quite so difficult. They might not be easy, as there is still some inherent challenge in this kind of shot, but they should become more manageable. Once you have learned how to form a proper address position to play off of a slope, you’ll then need nothing more than practice and repetition to build your skills and improve your results.

Ball striking is an essential piece of the puzzle on the golf course and managing your eye level is a great way to better yourself in this department. Once you’ve put in the work and you’ve started to strike the ball more cleanly, you will notice a difference out on the course both in the control you have over the ball and the power you are able to put behind it. Not only does better ball striking equate to lower scores, but it should also mean you can have more fun on the links, as well. Good luck!

So if you're struggling with inconsistent strikes, let's look at how the head and the head's movement can actually control and help you with a little bit more consistency through the swing. When you address the golf ball, your eyes should naturally sit quite level. And if you're not sure about that current position, just face on into a mirror, take your normal golfing address position and just raise your head slightly. You should see your eyes are level. To actually help you with that, maybe even a baseball cap. Fit a baseball cap nice and square on your head, tilt forwards and look up and just check the level of the peak of the cap is nicely lined up to effectively where my camera is or where you've positioned your mirror.

Now, we'd like you to keep that head steady and level during the backswing. So as I make my backswing here watching myself in the camera or in the mirror, my eyes are going to stay level. Yes, a slight lateral shift to the right, that's okay, but not too much of a tilt, lift, or lowering; that would be a problem. For a lot of people, if they don't get that shoulder under their chin, their shoulder touches their chin, tilts their head slightly and we see a position like this in the backswing.

Now, the awkward nature of that position for a lot of people means that they can't then see the ball from their right eye socket. Now, if I turn to this position here in a bad position and close my left eye, my nose is actually in the way of my golf ball. And that means if I can only see the ball from one eye, my depth perception is not very good. Both eyes looking at the ball is good depth perception; one eye look at the ball now, very difficult depth perception. That can be a big cause of some inconsistent strikes as well.

So, here's a tip for you: once you've checked your eyes are level, to start with in the mirror, turn to the top, hold your position, and shoot your left eye. Look at the golf ball. Make sure that you can still see it. Make sure your nose isn't actually in the way of it. If your nose is in the way, your head's rotated too far, possibly because you're trying to actually turn too far. So let's go for a 90 degree shoulder rotation, if you can manage it, but not too much head turn to the right. Keep your eyes on the golf ball. Keep your head square, keep your head level all the way back through to impact. Then when your right shoulder hits your chin, that's when your head can come up and out of the shot into the follow through. But the eye's level is going to help you improve your ball striking.