You know the feeling and sound made by pure contact with the ball? It’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s one of the things that get you hooked. But solid contact can be difficult for golfers, and it’s ultimately what separates good players from high handicappers. But, like all aspects of golf, there’s a drill for that! (Several, really.) Let’s talk about some things required to make good contact with the ball and how best to practice them.
Using the correct posture keeps your swing on the right plane throughout the shot. Most golfers who struggle with solid contact don’t carry the proper posture all the way through to impact. This causes chunks, thin and fat shots, slices, and hooks.
At impact, the grip end of the club leads the clubhead and your hands. This creates the downward strike on the ball that will cause the divot after the ball instead of before.
Squaring the Clubface
Your clubface needs to be square at impact. Beginners often leave their club faces open at impact, which diminishes power and distance. You want the club to move from open to square during your downswing.
Put a golf ball twelve to fourteen inches behind the ball you plan to strike on the same line. As you swing your club, try not to hit the extra ball. This will help you create a descending blow on the golf ball.
Stand in front of a mirror and take a half-backswing, then swing back down to address and stop. Repeating this motion will create muscle memory that will transfer to your game. Make this a part of your preshot routine.
Learning how to golf like a pro takes years of practice both on and off the course. Here are three practical tips to use now to help improve your game.
Since the rules of golf state that you can only have 14 clubs in your bag at a time, you’ll need to learn which clubs are appropriate for each shot and how far you hit each of them. Because no two rounds of golf are the same (even if you’re playing the same course every time), you’ll find that, over time, you’ll use all the clubs in your bag. Once you learn how far you hit each club, put that knowledge to use on the course. It’s helpful to write down how far you hit each club, laminate it, and keep it in your golf bag as a reference. The reference is also a great way to gauge how you improve over time, since your distance will increase with each club as you progress.
You aren’t Bubba Watson. Chances are very good that you can’t hit a shot that doglegs to land on the green for a shot at par. Be practical and take the easier shots. If you miss the green, your follow-up shot needs to get the ball close enough to sink the putt. Think about what direction the green slopes and what it looks like near the pin and adjust your shot accordingly. Understand how you mishit shots so that your well hit balls land on the green and give you a makeable putt but a miss will still give you an opportunity to sink it in two.
The Tiger Woods video game has ruined many a real-life drive with the angelic sound of swishing and crushing as the ball makes contact with the sweet spot on the golf ball before soaring 300 yards down the fairway. Those shots aren’t likely to happen in your golf game if you’re more concerned with muscling the shot into going the distance as opposed to hitting a steady swing that makes good contact. Hinge your wrists as far back as possible on your backswing, rotate around your body as much as you can, and shift your weight properly. Improving your distance comes with hitting the ball better, not harder.
You're not going to become the next Rory McIlroy overnight; but learning how to golf like a pro might be a little easier if you're using these tips.
2. Take an open stance. If you use a closed stance it will be hard to get your clubhead into the sand where it needs to be and you'll lose the power you need.
3. Use a 60-degree lob wedge. This will send the ball flying at a high trajectory so it stops quickly when it lands.
4. Hit the sand 1-2 inches before the ball. This will pop the ball out of the sand, cushioning it to help control (and shorten) your distance.
5. Take a smooth, powerful shot. Your ball will pop out and roll toward the hole.