STAY CENTERED FOR SOLID CONTACT
By T.J. Tomasi
A student came to me with a complaint that she was hitting way behind the ball with her irons. Not only was she hitting her irons fat, but also she was hitting low pull hooks with her driver. Needless to say, she was not a happy camper.
During the interview, one of the things she told me was that when she first started playing 10 years ago, her pro advised her she had to “stay behind the ball.” After a few swings, it was evident that she was trying to do just that. Her first move down was to throw her head/spine away from the target — her interpretation of staying behind the ball.
Too many golfers try to tilt their spine away from the target during the downswing to get behind the ball. On average, the human head weighs 10 pounds, so forcing it to hang over your back foot as you swing to the ball makes it difficult to keep your upper swing center (just under the throat) over the ball.
When you hang back, trying
to stay behind the ball, two problems threaten: (1) It’s hard to make a proper
weight transfer to your front hip joint, and (2) hanging back can promote a flip where your hands wrap around your body, sending
the ball wide of target.
In the photos below, I’m demonstrating correct spine control. I begin stacked at address, with my head and spine straight up. After impact I’ve moved aggressively to my left side and fired my core at
the target, but my swing center is essentially covering the ball.
How much you slide your swing center depends a lot on ball position — the farther back you play the ball, the less you move the hips laterally. Players who use a more forward ball placement move more laterally to cover the ball at impact. But look at my head in relation to the treetops behind me. Basically, the head stays while the hips go.