The Target is the Ball and the Center of Gravity of the Golf Club.
Many golfers make the mistake of thinking the target is the flag stick. You aim at and align yourself in the direction you wish the ball to start it’s flight path on. If you’re playing a fade you might be aimed and aligned left of the target, (right handers).
Once you get ready to swing the golf club forget your destination and concentrate on your “centeredness of hit”. You have to make contact with the ball at the “center of gravity” of the golf club which in most cases is slightly inside of center on the club face. Golf clubs are different in design so you need to find out where the center of gravity is in your golf club.
I suggest using “face impact tape” so yo know exactly where you are making contact with the ball. You can buy impact tape at www.longshotgolf.com and should use some when you practice.
Ben Hogan said that this specific move of shoulder tilt vs. should turn was THE number one difference between a successful and unsuccessful golf swing. I see it everyday while teaching golf. Why? Because turning your shoulders back to the golf ball WILL cause you to swing outside in or over the top.
Here’s the drill you need to develop shoulder tilt. Once you get to the top of your back swing stop…..then imagine you are going to ring a giant church bell that weighs about a thousand pounds. Come on man….you have to make this a little dramatic!
Then pull down on the rope that rings the bell. In fact the bell is so heavy that you have to pull down with your right shoulder and upper body as well which should cause a tilt straight down towards the ground. DON’T turn back to the golf ball…pull down on the rope. Instinctively your body will turn back to the ball just in time to make contact and your right shoulder, (for right handers) lower.
Another way to test yourself is to check and see if your shoulders traded positions. For instance, at the top of your back swing your left shoulder should be low and right shoulder high. When you pull on the rope your shoulders should have traded positions. Your right shoulder will be low and your left shoulder high.
Ignore the feeling that you’re going to hit behind the golf ball. It may feel like you will but you should not UNLESS your back swing is too far behind yourself. To check that position, at the top of your back swing stop…then soften your arms and bring the golf club and your hands towards the center of your chest. If your hands are not directly in front of your chest then you are behind yourself in the back swing.
Touring pros put a great deal of effort in their address position. To prove your are never cured of a swing fault or address position fault, notice how so many of the videos we have of touring pros practicing on the range include golf clubs on the ground for alignment purposes. Send me your name and email and I’ll send you a video I did on this subject FREE!www.bobbylopezgolf.com
Now, these are touring pros that most likely have played golf since they were 5 to 7 years old. Yet they still find it necessary to place a golf club on the ground to remind them that they are pointed in the proper direction. I guarantee you that if the rules were to allow it on the golf course they would be doing it there as well.
Improper alignment can, no will, have a very negative influence on your swing path. You know where you want the ball to go so you will adjust your swing path to overcome the improper alignment. Now you have compounded the problem and will spend hours on end repairing the swing path once you finally realize the misalignment.
Make sure you place a golf club on the ground when you practice. Touring pros do it so why shouldn’t you!
Boy have I been running into some rotten grips lately! I’ve seen better grips on a Miller Lite!
The most important function of the grip is controlling club face angle. As you now know, this angle is a primary influence on ball flight. Also, the way you hold and control the club face position influences your overall swing motion.
You probably have seen illustrations of the Vardon grip, the most common modern golf grip. You may have focused on the overlapping pinkie as the most significant aspect of the grip. You would naturally assume that if you placed your hands and fingers in this approximate position, you would have a proper grip. You might have missed the most significant point: the positioning of the hands in relation to the club face angle. This relationship has surprising influence on your swing and, more importantly, on your ball flight.
Most golf books will tell you that the back of your left hand should be facing the target, yet I find that most tour players or good amateurs play from what is called a “stronger” grip position. The back of your left hand should be facing about 10 o’clock and the palm of your left hand at 4 o’clock. The club runs at an angle from the fleshy pad of the hand to the point where it runs across the top joint of the forefinger. As your left hand closes on the club, you should be able to see the knuckles of the forefinger and middle finger as you look straight down on the club. The thumb runs down at about 2 o’clock on the grip and the “V” formed by your thumb and hand will point somewhere between your right ear and right shoulder. Please refer to the illustrations for samples.
If the left hand is turned excessively in a clockwise direction, so the back of your hand points skyward or to the right of the target line, you have too “strong” a grip. The opposite is true for too “weak” a grip. With the left hand in good position, the right hand should fall in a naturally opposing position, so the palm of the right hand is pointed at about 10 o’clock. The “lifeline” of the lower hand fits over the thumb of the upper hand. The “V” formed by the thumb and hand should also point somewhere between the right ear and the right shoulder. With both hands in this position, you have a “neutral headed toward strong” grip. Professionals have had more success leaning toward a strong grip rather than a weak one.
I’ve had all kinds of students over the years. Everything from floor sweepers to NFL stars. This is the FIRST time I had a ballet dancer as a student. Phil Skaggs is a great ballet dancer for the Richmond Ballet. He’s a great guy and it goes without saying that the rigorous physical activity all ballet dancers goes through is tremendous.
Here’s what might be interesting to you. Some of the “lingo” and references are very similar from Ballet to golf. For instance; I am constantly reminding students that balance is NOT a thing to do but a place to go! Exactly the same with a ballet dancer. Phil understood this immediately and could do it even faster!
What really struck me was his ability to GO to a swing position even if it didn’t feel comfortable. I hear constantly from students, “this doesn’t feel comfortable to me”, no XXXX Sherlock! Golf ain’t suppose to feel good.
Phil said that as a ballet dancer they are trained to GO to a specific dance pose or position and to expect it NOT to feel as it should. I guess that’s why they have all those mirrors in their practice room. They look at the mirror to SEE where they are and then try to relate the feel to the position.
It is exactly the same way with improving your golf swing. That’s why I always tell students that their best friend is a full length mirror at first. Both the video analysis and the mirror will help them relate the visual to the feel.
Use your mirror and your video analysis to visualize where you should be, then relate the feel of where you are and trust that you are in the right place, it just doesn’t feel like it. This is someone like a pilot that flies on instruments. The pilot can NOT count on his feelings. He has to follow the instruments no matter how much his “feelings” tells him he is out of position.