Impact

by Derek Hooper

Every move we make in the golf swing is about setting ourselves up for one single instant in time – impact. It is at this point when the club comes into contact with the ball and the resultant ball flight is determined. The only things the ball will react to is what is happening with the club at the moment of impact – the angle of the clubface in relation to the target line, the path the club makes into the ball, where the ball is struck on the clubface, the speed of the club and the angle of attack.

All great players have very similar impact conditions. They have more weight on the lead leg, the hips are turned slightly open to the target line and the shaft is leaning slightly towards target. Each of these moves combine to ensure a ball first contact and thus better control over the ball flight.

Too many players strike the ground before the ball, trapping grass and dirt between the clubface and ball that compromises both distance and directional control. The first step in attaining a good impact position is to understand exactly what it is.

Impact Rehearsal Drill:

Take your normal address position with a 7 iron and place the club head against something solid. This could be the edge of a piece of furniture or a door jam. Then try to push the club head into the resistance. You will be able to generate the most force if you rotate your hips towards target, move some weight to the lead leg and the arms are ahead of the club head thus creating some shaft lean.

The objective is not to try and create maximum force but rather to notice how the body positions change when the objective is to apply some force. The position described above, the one your body instinctually moves to, is what we are looking for at the moment of impact.
Tee Drill:

Once you have an understanding of what impact should feel like the next goal is to put that feeling into a swing motion. A drill that works very well for this purpose is the tee drill.

Lay a tee on the ground three inches behind the club head in your normal address position. The objective is to take short swings missing the tee but get the club to hit the ground on the target side of the tee. The only way you can do this is to reproduce the impact position you learned in the rehearsal drill. Once you can do this drill consistently without a ball, add a ball and while taking short swings try to hit the ball then the ground while missing the tee.

This drill encourages a downward swing path, good shaft lean, lower body rotation and weight moving to the lead side, all the characteristics of a good impact position.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 14 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States, Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or dhooper@troongolf.com.