There’s so much talk about impact and the positions of your body and the club. But with the clubhead moving 90 miles an hour, it’s impossible to control exact positions. Instead, think bigger: think motions. You’ll improve your impact without getting fixated on the actual strike.
Let’s start with lower-body action. You can see in the photo above how my right knee is kicking in – that’s a big one. It proves my weight is moving to my front side, which should happen throughout the forward swing. Weight shift is critical because when you’re moving forward, you have a good chance to hit the ball first, then the ground. If your weight is stuck on your back foot or, even worse, moving away from the target, you’ll bottom out behind the ball.
Next, notice my right arm is extending down and out towards the target. A split second earlier, my elbow would have been bent and close to my right hip. This straightening of the trail arm drives the clubhead into the ball and then the turf. If your trail arm doesn’t fully extend, you’ll never strike the ball with the middle of the clubface. You’re probably trying to scoop it off the ground instead of hitting down and through. (That nice divot means I’m doing it right.)
Stop scooping! Extend your right arm.
Last one: the clubface is closing through the shot. At impact, the face would have been looking straight at the target, but here, the toe has passed the heel. Does that mean the face is closed? Hell no – it’s square. The face is rotating left as the clubhead arcs to the left after impact. Again, think of these as motions, not static positions you should monitor. Impact isn’t a destination – you’re just passing through.
Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and he spoke with Peter Morrice.