For Better Contact, Swing in One Direction
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Chris Kirk plays his shot from the fourth tee during the second round of The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort And SpaGetty Imges
Six of the last nine seasons on the PGA Tour, the Champion course at PGA National has been the toughest non-major championship layout. With penalty areas on fifteen of the eighteen holes, it is no wonder the players on television look at times like they are trying to steer their way around the course. Those that do look fearful of their results probably won’t make the weekend.
Those who do play all four rounds aren’t trying to manufacture results. They are creating solid contact to ensure the ball goes the correct distance and flies in the proper direction. Many amateurs ask what great impact looks like.
In watching that tremendous slow-motion view, you should have quickly noticed two very important themes. First is the sequence of contact. The player strikes the ball and then the ground. Second, consider how stable the club head looks through impact. Very little twisting and turning and shudder as the ball is hit. That steadiness is a feeling all amateurs should covet.
It's common to the PGA Tour and rarely seen at your club. A great deal of that firmness at impact comes from the strike sequence. To create the proper delivery in golf, we need to make sure we hit the ball before the ground. For many of you this a problem that plagues you often. Just take a close look at the Tweet and read the text string that goes along with it.
It’s easy to get confused and that’s why consulting with a PGA Coach is always the most consistent and accurate resource one can find when it comes to figuring these challenges out. If you want to get that club head stable like the video, you need to strike the ball first. Here's a quick drill you can easily try on your own that will ensure you impact the ball and then the grass.
- Once you get to the practice range and are warmed up grab a 9-iron and a tee. If your range utilizes turf mats, you will need a quarter instead.
- Take the tee and stick it in the ground at an angle toward the target about one inch in front of the ball. The tee should be pretty deep, and the cup part should be above the ground facing the ball. If you are on a turf mat, place a quarter on the ground instead if the tee. Replace tee with quarter for the remainder of the instructions.
- Setup for the shot and visualize driving that ball into the tee. Imagine a follow through that goes through the tee and into the ground.
- Keep following through and end with a strong balanced finish.
Soon your contact through the ball will be super solid. Stop trying to “pick” the ball off the ground. Drive that ball through the “tee” in the ground and your clubhead will look just like the video in the tweet.
Acquiring that steady hit comes from swinging the club in one direction. By hitting down through the ball, you will instantly achieve that look in the video. Twisting the shaft and trying to lift the ball makes the clubhead unstable. If you are looking to conquer your own version of the Bear Trap this season, start by swinging through the ball and into the turf. The results will not only keep the ball in play, but even better, they will lower your scores.