Symptom: You can’t seem to hit the golf ball first, try as you might.
Instead you hit behind the ball, chunk it again, 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. I repeat, the divot is taken ahead of the ball after the ball is struck.
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. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way!
Jaw-Dropping Shots Demand the Ball is Struck 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.
The only shot in golf where you would not want to hit the ball first would be a bunker explosion shot. Or maybe an explosion shot out of thick rough, when there is no way to hit the ball first. But those are special cases.
We’ll have Rory McIlroy demonstrate this for us, but almost any pro golfer (or single-digit handicapper, or anybody who just hit a good shot 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:
4 Painless Keys to Help You Stop Hitting Behind the Ball
You can hit the ball first, every time too, just like Rory! Here are some things to try:
Snag Yourself Some Serious Lag
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.
Take the Inside Path to the Ball
Good lag requires an inside path on the downswing. This is a very common swing fault among high handicappers. It often called “casting” and it is hard to diagnose on your own. But it is very easy to know if you are doing it and make the necessary corrections with the right drills.
Simply Set Yourself Up for Success
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.
Your Head – Keep it Still the Hogan Way
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.
You can check how still your head is staying, and make real-time corrections, using Hogan’s Head Still Trick.
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