It has been said that golf is an unnatural game. Your body faces in one direction while you swing the club in another. When you swing the club head down at the ball, it goes up and when you swing the club head up at the ball, the ball goes down. Most players use their bodies when trying to hit the ball. That is what most people think the object of the game is. “Hit the ball.”
However, I feel that anyone who focuses on the ball instead of swinging the club head has a tough time knowing where the club is coming from and what happens exactly at impact. The release is seldom spoken of and that is probably the most important part of the swing. When you see a golfer who has a poor swing and plays good golf, you know that they are very good during the impact zone.
Another example is that a low handicapper uses hip action properly, but a high handicapper trying to use hip action usually turns their shoulders equal to their hips prior to impact and swing the club across the line at impact. This causes the ball to go left off the club head if the club face is square of a variety of shots depending on club face angle. Many players who are having trouble with their game are unable to understand the concept of swinging a club as well as the track the club head is moving on. Being focused on the wrong swing thoughts will definitely prevent improvement.
Keeping your eye on the ball and keeping your head still are two common phrases related to golf. They are important, but those two thoughts cannot help you make good contact with the ball as much as maintaining the proper spine angle through the hitting area. When a person changes their body position during the impact zone, it likely will create a circle or arc that does not return to the original starting point.
The result is poor ball contact that in turn causes a variety of ball flights. In other words, keeping your body at the same angle as it was at the address position, during the impact zone, enables the club head to return to where it began. Energy from swinging the club allows the body to straighten up and follow through naturally. Many good players have said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Practice the items or focus points that apply to you, stay patient and watch the improvement happen. Hang in there and stay with it!
Lou has been a golf professional since 1953. He has worked at many clubs around the country with his longest connections on Cape Cod and Maine. He was a teaching pro at the Island Country Club in the early 80’s and the head golf pro and Director of golf at The Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island for ten years. He is presently the teaching pro at the Links of Naples.