Editor’s Note: The Golf Digest 1 Percent Challenge will present a new challenge every weekday in January. Catch up on Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4.
At the bottom of every golf swing is an arc. Track the movement of the clubhead, and you’ll quickly be able see it: The clubhead approaches impact from high to low, sweeping along the ground before hitting its low point, and traveling back up again into the follow through.Somewhere in between that process, the ball lies in between. That’s your ball position, and it’s incredibly important. If your ball sits too far back on that arc, and you’ll hit the ball too much on a descending blow. Play it too far forward, and you’ll hit too much up on the ball—if you manage to hit it before. If you’re looking for more consistency in your ball striking, the ball position is a good place to start.
The Solution: For the most part, golfers should aim to hit the ball on a slightly descending blow with their iron shots, and a slightly ascending blow with their driver. The easiest way to do this is by setting your ball position relative to your feet. The ball position should be in the middle of your stance with your mid irons and wedges, moving gradually up until it sits in like with your left heel with your driver.
Today: Grab a mid iron and a driver, then find a straight line, like a floor tile, in your house. Simply practice taking your setup with each club using that line as a check. Line up the clubface with the line in the middle of your stance with an iron, and off your left heel with a driver.
And then … : When you’re on the range, do the same drill by laying a club on the ground. It’s an easy go-to that you’ll be able to trust every time you’re on the range — and groove a good ball position when you’re on the course. —Luke Kerr-Dineen
Catch up on Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4 of the 1 Percent Challenge >>
More on the 1 Percent Challenge
Look, every golfer has big goals—30 more yards, 15 fewer pounds, tighter lines and better scores. We’re not here to tell you those goals are out of reach. The problem with most New Year’s resolutions, though, is they start you at the foot of a mountain without a clear map to the top.
The Golf Digest 1 Percent Challenge, meanwhile, is meant to be both ambitious and achievable. None of the daily individual tasks will be so arduous that you’ll need much time to cross them off your list. These are the type of modest improvements intended to make you just 1 better percent than you were the day before. But they’re also meant to provide you with a new skill that over time, can make a meaningful difference in your game.
The way it works is simple: Our team of expert editors in golf instruction, equipment and fitness have devised 23 challenges for each weekday in January that can be completed at home with minimal equipment. Things like checking your posture at address in the mirror, identifying yardage gaps in your club setup and testing the strength of your golf muscles. All of these challenges will have immediate value. But each challenge also comes with a suggested follow-up task that can lead to better habits, and ultimately, better performance.
It is the perfect way to get ready for the next golf season, even if you live somewhere where “real” golf is still months away. The more you follow along, the better your headstart on everyone else. —Sam Weinman
This article was originally published on golfdigest.com