Golf Swing Tip: Hit the Golf Ball First, Don’t Hit Behind the Ball

Rory McIlroy iron shot hit ball then ground

Symptom: You can’t seem to hit the golf ball first.  Instead you hit behind the ball, and watch in disgust as the ball scuttles along the ground instead of arching gracefully through the sky…

Overview: You must hit the golf ball first with a shallow, descending blow to avoid hitting behind the golf ball. In other words, hit the ball, then the ground. You will take your shallow divot from the grass ahead of your ball, not behind the ball.

Rory McIlroy iron shot hit ball then ground hit behind ball hit golf ball first
Rory McIlroy strikes hits the golf ball first, then the ground, on this iron tee shot.

Why it works: A descending blow on the ball ensures that you hit the ball first, and preserve all the power in your downswing for delivery to the ball, not planet earth.  For many Occasional Golfers, this is a very difficult thing to do consistently.

You Must Hit the Golf Ball First

Pay close attention to the pros on TV; they take enormous divots from the fairway but always from ahead of the ball, never from behind.  We’ll have Rory McIlroy demonstrate this for us, but almost any pro golfer (or single-digit handicapper, for that matter) would do just as nicely.  All that grass and sand puffs up after impact, not before.  Ball, then Ground.  Have a look:

You can do this too, just like Rory!  Here are some things to try:

  • You may have insufficient lag on your downswing, causing you to cast or come over the top, and put deep divots into the ground.  This will cause you to hack at the ball, making it very tough to hit the ball consistently due to the very steep angle of attack.  Try the throw the stick drill to get the feel of good lag, and watch Sergio, the king of lag.
  • Good lag requires an inside path on the downswing.  Try the four o’clock aim point drill and the two ball drill to help you get the feel of an inside path.
  • Your setup position might be bad.  Your stance should feel as if you are about to sit on a barstool.  This gives your arms the necessary space to take the inside path, and develop the necessary lag, to deliver the shallow, descending blow to the ball that you must have.
  • You must keep your head still throughout the swing to deliver the clubhead to the ball consistently.  Try combining a good starter move with the Stack and Tilt spine angle trick to keep your head very still through impact.

Did you like this Tip?  Think you can stop digging ditches behind the ball and attack the grass ahead of the ball instead?  Don’t keep the magic to yourself —  Email, Like, Bookmark, Share, Tweet, or +1 below!

Copyright 2018-present,, All Rights Reserved.

Did this Golf Tip Help Your Game? Let Us Know! Comment, Share, and Rate Below!

Tagged: Tags