If you knew what caused a bad shot and could make the necessary changes to correct it, would you do it? Of course you would. Why wouldn’t you?
I find people sometimes have mental blocks when it comes to focusing on the task at hand. Their subconscious mind prevents them from paying attention to what they want to do, and then they continue to get the same result.
I am going to describe all the possible outcomes when the club head comes down at the ball. I am not going to discuss curve on the ball and wayward shots. Just possible impact outcomes.
Let’s define the possibilities.
This is what we all want to do. The club head returns to the bottom of the arc where it started. On the ground. (No one ever does this, by the way.) Clean doesn’t necessarily mean straight. It means the impact of the club on the golf ball was precisely at the bottom of the arc. You can not only see a clean shot, you can feel it, and hear clean contact.
The club head hits the ground behind the ball, usually bringing up the dirt.
Cause: Your front arm is too straight, and you move forward on the downswing. The grip of the club gets back to the ball before the club head.
Cure: Relax your front arm. Knock your knees in and swing the club head. If you try to rotate through the ball and get your weight to your left side too soon, you will get ahead of it (think out-skating the puck in hockey). When you get ahead of it with a straight front arm, you will hit the ground behind the ball.
The club head comes up just a hair at the bottom of the arc and you catch the golf ball up from the bottom of the arc. This is often called the best miss there is. You can get away with this one. You will hear television announcers say, “Thin to win.”
Cause: You don’t really need to do much wrong for this to occur. Typically, you are anticipating the hit. Either your arms tighten up or your knees straighten, which causes the club head to come up just a little from the bottom of the arc.
Cure: If you tend to do this a lot, knock your knees in toward each other to be sure you aren’t straightening your legs. Also, relax your arms. Keeping your front arm too straight will not allow the club head to get back down to the bottom of the arc. Relax your wrists and swing the club head so that you’re able to brush the grass.
You hit the top third of the ball. The ball rolls with no air under it.
Cause: You might be looking at the top of the ball. The “Committee of They” tell you to keep your eye on the ball. You should never look at the top of the ball. You could also be keeping your left arm too straight, which pulls you out of your posture, or you are sitting down at address instead of bowing over.
Cure: Look at the grass before the ball. Relax your arms. Swing the club head and brush the grass at the bottom of the arc. If the club head comes down to the bottom of the arc, clipping the grass, you will never top it.
A total miss. Never a good thing.
Cause: You stand up trying to help the ball get in the air, anticipating the hit.
Cure: Bow over the ball. No sitting. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet. Knock your knees in so you don’t stand up. Relax your arms and swing the club head. Brush the grass.
I guarantee if you do what I suggest, you will fix each of your bad shots.
Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour Player, a current member of the Legends Tour of the LPGA, and a Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach. She is a Certified Behavior, Motivation, and Judgment Professional. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.