Ball First Then DivotJan 05, 2022
As you might expect, having absolute clarity as to how the club meets the ball has huge knock-on effects throughout your golf game. Any misunderstanding around this area can come back and bite you way beyond your formative golf years.
From a learning perspective, if a golfer believes, which is quite intuitive, that the club needs to get under the ball in order to lift it into the air then the bottom of the arc will always be behind the ball and either hitting the ground too early or the golfer avoids this and tops their bad shots while hitting the good shots from the bottom edge of the golf club (thin shots).
I regularly witness novice golfers purposely avoiding the ground altogether when in fact, the ground contact was the correct 'depth' but the low point just needs to be further forward and past the ball. This is clearly a very different path to take and one that can have you going round in circles for years.
Moreover, this misconception around the perfect golf contact also leads the golfer into developing some really poor swing habits such as staying back behind the ball and trying to scoop the ball up with their wrists.
When the ball sits up on a fluffy lie in the summer there is some 'wiggle room' for the golfer who has a low point at the ball to get the club underneath and get the ball airborne.
However, when the lie is tighter or the weather turns and we get muddy lies this golfer's technique gets found out.
Elite level players love the feeling of hitting from tight links type grass or even bare hard-baked mud. There is no issue in getting the club under the ball because is not how good ball-striking works.
Hitting Over Water
This same issue arises when a golfer is faced with strike anxiety such as when we need to hit from the fairway and over water. Where I would put extra attention on moving through the shot and thus direct my low point past the ball if you are a 'scooper' then the margin for error is very narrow which creates even more anxiety and of course, it is all too alluring to try and get the ball in the air by lifting it from underneath and that always ends up in BIG SPLASH!
When I have a new student in front of me for an assessment, one of the key factors I look to establish with the launch monitor is the position of the bottom of the arc and from there establish if the golfer takes a divot on the course. Most importantly, I make sure that we have a conversation around the player's concept around how a solid strike is created. After all, you can work for months on swing mechanics but if in the back of a golfer's mind they are trying to lift the ball in the air then this will always dictate how they move.
A simple change of concept can be a complete game-changer with a very simple intervention.
Free IMPACT Mini-Course
You can see from the article the importance of understanding and developing the fundamentals around solid contact in golf. The free IMPACT mini-course has a number of videos and articles that cover the key principles around getting the low point of your swing arc beyond the ball and so create the powerful ball first, then divot strike.
10 Years of Golf Coach app -
You may have noticed that in the video above I look a little bit younger (the trousers may also be a giveaway). The video came from the Golf Coach app which is 10 years old this year.
The brief was to create a really high production quality app that covered all the fundamental principles of the game and covered most of the situational techniques one needs to play the game (chipping from sloping lies, escaping from the rough etc).
The app shot to #1 in the sports charts in the US and UK app stores and I still meet golfers who use it as their 'go-to' help for various shots and concepts.
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