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 head is coming from and exactly what happens at impact.
The release is seldom discussed, 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 he is very good during the impact zone. Another example is that low handicappers use hip action properly, but a high handicapper trying to use hip action usually turns his shoulders equal to his hips prior to impact and swings the club across the line at impact. This causes the ball to go left off the club head if the club head is square, or 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 or following the track on which the club head is moving. Being focused on the wrong swing 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 alone cannot help you make good contact with the ball as much as maintaining a proper spine angle through the hitting area. When a person changes his body position during the impact zone, it will likely 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 improvement happen.
Hang in there and stay with it!
Lou Thibeault is a teaching golf professional at The Links of Naples, 16161 Tamiami Trail East, Naples. You may reach him at 394-8102, or 417-1313.