There’s no stat more important, when it comes to lowering your overall score, than hitting greens in regulation. The best players hit more of them; the worst players hit fewer of them.
Ball-striking, in other words. Getting off the tee with some decent distance relatively safely, consistently. Then doing the same into greens.
As Golf Digest Top 50 Coach Chris Mayson explains, there are a few fundamental things that can help a lot of amateur golfers with their ball-striking.
These drills can help you with each.
Drill No.1: Ball-first contact
Ball-first contact is essential for crispy contact with your iron shots. That means moving the lowest point of your golf swing forward slightly. A good way to practise that, Mayson says, is to lay a towel flat behind the ball. The goal is simple: hit the ball, miss the towel.
Drill No.2: Hit up with your driver
On the driver, because the ball is teed up, the goal for most amateurs is to hit the ball on the upswing. That means, unlike with your irons, the lowest point of your swings should occur slightly before the ball. A good way of practising this is by placing two towels either side of the ball. Your goal is to hit the ball, without affecting the towel.
Drill No.3: Dial your angle of attack
Often, golfers will struggle coming over-the-top. That will in part cause them to hit too far down on the ball, which can result in all manner of mis-hits, from chunks to pulls; slices to skied shots. If this sounds like you, Mayson suggests trying to hit some irons off a driver-sized high tee. That will encourage you to swing more around your body.
Drill No.4: Make solid contact
This drill isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re serious about improving your ball-striking, you’re probably not going to get worse doing this drill. Place two alignment sticks, water bottles, clubs or whatever else you have on either side of the ball. The goal is to simply swing through without contacting them. Start by placing these objects wide, then gradually get narrower over time.