Secrets to Consistent Contact Every Swing

Secrets to Consistent Contact Every Swing

The Secret to Pure Ball-Striking Isn’t All That Complicated

There’s nothing sweeter than a well-compressed iron shot. As a golf instructor with over 25 years of experience, I can confidently say that the “secret” to pure ball-striking isn’t all that complicated. The key is simple: Consistently make contact with the ball first, using a descending, forward angle of attack [2].

To do this, you must produce center hits, combining high clubhead speed and ball speed. Two other essentials are forward shaft lean and proper transference of body mass with correct use of ground forces. Follow these steps, and you’ll enjoy improved trajectory control, accuracy, and distance with every iron in your bag.

Prepare Yourself for Impact

When you stand over the ball, your weight and foot pressure should be roughly 65% on your left side (for right-handed golfers), with the ball just off the left edge of your nose or under your left eye. This starting position will set you up for a downward and forward hitting action at the critical moment of impact [2].

As you begin your backswing, keep your nose over the ball until you’ve reached the top of your swing. Resist the temptation to shift, slide, or sway your head while turning to the top. Good players create power by pivoting and turning their right hip inside the right foot, feeling pressure on the inside of the right foot [2].

Shift Your Weight Correctly

I have a different theory on starting the downswing compared to the traditional advice. Instead of twisting your hips along the target line, begin your downswing by pushing forward with the inside of your right foot. This diagonal ground force, from the inside of your right foot to the ball of your left foot, will correctly move your weight onto your left side [2].

The movement of this ground force toward the target will push your trailing side forward and move your nose on top of the ball. This forward pressure will ensure you strike the ball first, with the ideal downward and forward angle of attack.

Achieve the Perfect Impact Position

The proper fundamentals above will allow you to keep your head centered, with your nose on top of – not behind – the ball at impact. This will result in powerful compression, correct ground force, forward shaft lean, and, ultimately, a clean strike.

You’ll know your fundamentals are sound by the finish position of your follow-through. If you’ve swung through the ball fully and properly, your swing will culminate with your right shoulder directly on top of your left foot, and your spine angle should be straight up and down or near a 180-degree angle [2].

Drills to Ingrain Proper Contact

  1. Straw Drill: Hit practice shots with a straw or another soft material 3″ to 4″ inches behind the ball. If you hit shots without striking the straw, your club is coming into the ball at the proper attack angle [2].

  2. Gary Player Drill: Hit shots with your entire right side (right foot, knee, hip, shoulder, torso) stepping through the swing as the clubhead and the ball simultaneously make impact. This movement will help engrain the feeling of properly shifting your weight through your swing [2].

Stay Balanced for Consistent Contact

Swinging in balance is an absolute must to create consistently solid and centered contact, but maybe for reasons you never thought of. When you’re out of balance, your body has an innate reaction to get you back into it, which can make it nearly impossible to hit the sweet spot [4].

The fix? Get balanced at the very start. A better address position increases the likelihood of maintaining it when you swing. Make sure your weight is evenly balanced over both legs and slightly forward onto the balls of your feet. The base you create at setup should be solid enough that if someone were to push you, you wouldn’t be in danger of toppling over [4].

Unlock Your Full Potential

I had the pleasure of working with a golfer named Jeff who was serious about playing better. He showed up to my lesson tee with all the right equipment, but he was still struggling with consistent contact. The solution? Fixing his ball position.

Most golfers learn where to position their feet from the first person who takes them out for a round and never revisit the issue again. But if you haven’t been able to figure out how to make ball-first contact, incorrect ball position is probably the problem [8].

For iron shots, the golf ball should be in about the middle of your stance, lining up somewhere between the logo and buttons of your golf shirt. With the proper ball position, I guarantee you’ll see better contact instantly [8].

Avoid the Alligator Arms Finish

Another issue I noticed in Jeff’s swing was that he was turning his 7-iron into a pitching wedge on the takeaway, adding serious loft to the clubface. To fix this, I taught him to focus on the logo on his golf glove. Instead of rotating the logo open towards the sky, he needed to rotate it down towards the ground on the takeaway [8].

This simple cue kept the clubface in a clean position, allowing him to get solid contact and stellar distance without having to make corrections on the downswing. It’s definitely worth giving it a try, even if you hit a few hooks at first – that’s a sign you’re making progress [8].

Swing Like the King

One of my favorite things to teach my students is what I call the “Arnold Palmer Finish.” You can picture it: his hands high and away from his body, the club overhead, maybe even waggling a bit. Jeff was doing the opposite, finishing with his arms bent in close to his body, the club down by his lead shoulder [8].

I encouraged him to change it up – swing with the single goal of achieving an Arnold Palmer Finish. You can only get there by way of a long, strong golf swing. And let me tell you, this guy saw results. So will you.

It’s time to swap that alligator for an Arnie. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be on your way to more consistent contact and greater distance in no time. I’m always happy to answer your questions or hear your thoughts in the comments. Let’s get to work on your game!

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