There are a couple of common phrases I often hear when meeting a new pupil on the lesson tee for the first time
“I know my problem is a slice because the face is open,” is one. Another popular phrase is: “I should be able to hit it farther. I am just not flexible enough.” Then there’s my favorite, “I keep lifting my head.”
These are all great phrases that every golfer, including me, has heard or said in their golfing careers. The funny thing is that most golfers continue to say them time and time again, year after year and see no improvement. What’s more, each year they go to their golf professional and ask for a technique change, and sometimes that technique doesn’t improve their shot, so they’re back to square one. Here come those sayings again!
So why are golfers not improving?
As a coach, I feel golfers need to understand where their problem really is and what actually needs to be done to change it. There are four reasons why golfers struggle to improve their game and ball striking, shoot lower scores and reduce their handicaps. For me it is not always technique.
The four areas I want to share with you are:
Whenever a player tells me they are slicing, my next question will almost always be, “So your ball starts left of target?” This often brings a puzzled look, generally because they don’t know; they see the curve and assume that it’s slice. My advice for any player who struggles with direction is first understand two things: where the ball starts relative to YOUR target and how the ball curves. Once you know this, you’ll understand that the club face is responsible for the initial start direction, and swing direction is more responsible for curve.
Look at the shots below and identify your own shot pattern. Are you naming your shots correctly?
Check out picture below.
Another example of a concept issue for golfers is how a ball gets in the air. When I ask a player who struggles to get the ball in the air what they think is wrong, they often say, “I didn’t get underneath it.” This is a clear misunderstanding of the concept of how a ball is hit in the air, which often see leads to the technical fault of “flicking” or “scooping.”
Here is the correct answer: A ball on the ground hit with an iron gains height due to the angles created by the loft of the club, a DOWNWARD action of a club, club head speed and good solid contact with some shaft lean.
Check out your club line to help you with this concept:
Place your 7 iron on the ground and notice the natural angle of the shaft. It will lean forward. If it is designed with that in mind, it would make sense that it needs to get to something similar at impact.
By changing concept, you could go from the left picture to the right picture. That will help with your ball flight.
So if you know that a downward action helped to create a shot that gets in the air, would you try to “get under it?”
Next time you’re wondering why your golf isn’t improving, don’t go straight to your old technique tips. Find out what needs to happen, whether you or anyone else attempts that shot, and it will have a bearing on your technique.