In this article we are going to cover the most requested topic on our Facebook fan page: making consistent contact with the golf ball. We will be identifying the top 5 things you can start working on today to improve your ball striking. Incidentally, consistently hitting the sweet spot will improve your golf distance and golf power.
Consistent golf ball contact is truly all about executing the correct mechanics. Many golfers struggle with consistency. They hit the ball solid one day but then struggle the next day.
That is one of the main reasons why golfers do not work on improving their mechanics. Because, every now and again, it all comes together and they hit the ball great.
Here is the key to understanding: every once in while, the stars will align and you can play good golf with bad mechanics. However, there is no room for error – everything must be working perfectly. That is why the golfer with bad mechanics cannot play consistently well.
On the other hand, the golfer with good mechanics can still hit the ball well on a bad day because with good mechanics, you have much more room for error. You can be “off your game,” and still hit it pretty good.
Simply put, when golfers play with good mechanics, the odds are in their favor and they can still play well, even when they are not playing perfectly. For the golfer with poor mechanics, they only play well when everything is perfect! The result: no consistency.
If you want to play consistent, you need to fix these 5 issues. Your consistency should improve significantly with each one you master.
The Top 5 Issues
- Flat Left Wrist at Impact
- Weight Distribution at Impact and Follow Through Positions
- Consistency of Spine Angle and Head Position
- Right Foot Position At the Top of the Backswing
- Keep the Legs Quiet
Flat Left Wrist at Impact
“Cupping” of the left wrist at impact is, by far, the most common issue in amateur golfers affecting pure contact. This is also referred to as releasing the club to early in the downswing.
The reason why this results in poor contact is that the swing bottoms out too early. For effective contact, you want you swing to bottom out just after you hit the golf ball. That is why the pros take such big divots. They make descending contact with the ball, and the club hits the grass just after they hit the ball.
When a golfer cups the wrists, their swing bottom is BEFORE the all instead of AFTER IT. Your chances of success are very low if you cup your wrists. The most common result is hitting the ball thinly resulting in a low shot.
The reason for hitting it thin is that after the club head bottoms out before the ball, it begins to ascend up into the ball. The bottom edge of the club hits the ball instead of the sweet spot.
The second most common result is hitting the ball “fat,” or hitting the ground first. Again, when the wrist breaks down early the club head reaches its lowest point behind the ball.
When the stars align, golfers can perfectly time this and hit the ball well. But it is way too difficult to do on a consistent basis. The key is to have a flat left wrist at impact. You can discover how to master this by reviewing this article: Compress the Golf Ball for Great Ball Striking.
In my opinion, the easiest way to master this position is with the Tour Striker training iron. One of the most effective tools we have used
One of the most effective tools we have used with out clients.
2. Weight Distribution at Impact and Follow Through
Weight distribution through the golf swing is a highly underrated factor. There are several things to cover here but I am going to narrow it down to the weight distribution fault we see in golfers over 50: not getting their weight through the ball and onto the front foot.
Due to hip flexibility, it is often difficult to transfer weight correctly. Below is picture of one of our golfers not getting their weight distribution correct compared with Fred Couples who is, of course, a master (love Freddie!)
Even though our golfer in this picture has a good left wrist position, she was struggling to hit the golf ball with consistency. The reason is actually the same as with the previous fault: the golf swing bottoms out too early. If your weight is hanging back, your club will bottom out before the ball and you will struggle with hitting the ball thinly and hitting the grass before the ball. You can refer to this article to master weight distribution: Is Weight Transfer Causing Poor Golf Ball Contact.
3. Consistent Spine Angle/Head Position
This one is a little easier to explain. Basically, you want your body to be in a consistent position while you swing the ball: you want pure rotation and minimal side to side movement and up and down movement with your body.
Hitting a golf ball when your body is moving excessively, is like trying to hit a moving golf ball. Who could consistently do that!?!
To master this, you can refer to my previous articles, Golf Power Effecter #1, which will help you improve your swing center movement factor.
Again, if the stars align, and the golfer with a poor swing center movement factor perfectly times the up and down movement, they will hit the ball well. But your chances of doing this consistently is equivalent to hitting a moving golf ball consistently. My advice, fix this fault and make life a whole lot easier on yourself.
4. Too Much Head Movement
An additional factor is head movement side to side. The most common cause is that the left shoulder pushes the chin in the backswing. You can refer to this article to correct this: Golfers Over 50 Have Too Much Head Movement.
5. Right Foot Position in the Backswing
Have you ever heard of the “power triangle” in reference to the golf swing? Picture a triangle overlaying the golfer in the address position with the bottom two points being your right and left foot, and the top point being your head. The purpose of picturing the golfer like this is that he/she keeps their body weight inside the triangle through the golf swing.
How this relates to the right foot is that when you take your backswing, you keep your body weight on the INSIDE of your right foot. If you allow your weight to transfer to the outside of your right foot, your body is swaying. Not only will swaying cost you a lot of power, but you are going to have a difficult time swaying back to the impact position the same exact amount that you swayed backwards. Now that is tough!!
Again, it’s like trying to hit a moving golf ball. Everyone can have a great golf outing with this swing fault, once in a while. But nobody can do it with consistency. To master this, refer to my previous article, Tired of Punk Kids Hitting the Ball Farther Than You?
6. Quiet the Legs
This final tip is a quick tip that can help you on a bad day. We do not work on this in our practice but it has helped me personally. Sometimes when I am playing I cannot seem to figure out why I am struggling to hit the golf ball well. In these instances where the cause is not easily identifiable, it is typically that my legs are a little too active. When I focus on “quieting” my legs, or keeping them a little more still, I regain my consistency instantly.
We have not necessarily tested this with our golfers but it works so well for me I would have felt bad if I did not include it in this article. I hope these tips make a big difference in your golf game.
QUESTION: HOW HAVE YOU IMPROVED YOUR OWN CONSISTENCY IN THE GOLF GAME? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW SO OTHERS CAN BENEFIT FROM WHAT HAS BENEFITED YOU!
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Ryan York, DPT CGS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist