As this is my first blog post, I want to write about the most fundamental skill in golf and how improving it will help your game.
Let's start with a quick pop quiz. If I were to ask you "what is the most important skill to be learned in golf?" Some of you might say "gripping the club correctly", others may say "swinging the club from the inside on the downswing." What if I was to tell you that the biggest difference between a touring professional and a high handicapper is where they make contact with the ground, would you believe me?
If you were to put your favourite PGA tour player on the range with 100 balls on a line, every single divot he made would be on the target side of the line. Meaning he was hitting the ball and THEN hitting the ground.
If you were to carry out this same experiment with your average mid handicap player, their pattern would look more like this second pciture.
It is so important that you transfer consistent energy to the ball on every swing and the only way you can do this is by contacting the ball before the ground. Or the small ball before the big ball as my old coach used to say! If the golfer can create a consistent strike with the ball on every shot, then the ball will fly a consistent distance and their scores will come down as a result.
Now we have established that this skill is of the utmost importance, how can we test to see where we make contact with ground and how we can improve this skill if we need to?
First of all make a line of balls on the range like this between 2 clubs/alignment sticks.
Then hit the balls and see whether our divots are on the target side of the ball or not. If they are, how far in front of the ball are they starting? Ideally we would like to see them starting within an inch of striking the ball.
If your divots are inconsistent or they're always starting behind the bal, here is a drill to help you make that ground contact more consistent.
Firstly place a towel a few inches behind the ball like in the pciture below and see if you can contact the ball without touching the towel in the downswing. Take it nice and slow to start. Try a few half swings and pitch some shots out there until you get a feel for what you're trying to do. Once you can do this, progress to making longer swings with more speed until you can accomplish it with your full swing.
If you have any issues with this drill, then it's maybe worth getting some professional help. Come speak to me and we'll organise a plan to get you striking the ball just like those talented boys you watch on the TV every week.