One thing that I feel separates better players from poorer players is the ability to hit the ground in the same spot every time, and to hit the ground forward enough to ensure solid contact, consistent trajectory, and a predictable curve.
I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from two brilliant instructors, Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, and their way of measuring the golf swing, named Stack and Tilt. Andy and Mike presented this ability to control where the club hits the ground as Fundamental #1, and it’s a great place to start assessing your game. I am also thrilled to be working alongside Martin Chuck, inventor of the Tour Striker Training Aid. Martin’s teachings, along with the Tour Striker, promote a forward leaning shaft, the correct angle descent into the ground, and a consistent low point in front of the golf ball.
At all of our golf schools we test the players ability to do this by scratching or painting a line on the ground, and have the students hit balls to see how their low point control is.
The picture below is from our last Tour Striker Golf School at the Raven Golf Club – Phoenix. This is a divot patch from one of the students at the beginning of the school. Notice how some are back behind the line, in the red light zone, while some are right on the yellow line, and others are in front of the line, in the green light zone. Our goal by the end of the school is to get every divot in front of the painted line, all in the green!
Compare the higher handicap picture above, to the lower handicap picture below. Notice the consistency of the divot pattern in the green light zone! As handicaps get lower, the ability to control the centers of the swing and angle of the shaft at impact lead to consistent contact. To make this point more clear, check out the video at the bottom of the page, and notice where the club is hitting the ground.
Next time you go out to the range, scratch a line in the ground and see how your low point stacks up. You can even do this without a ball in your backyard, just OK it with your husband or wife beforehand! If you’re hitting behind the line in the red light zone frequently, or not hitting the ground at all, then you’ve got some work to do. Check out next Wednesday’s blog where I discuss some important factors in controlling the bottom of your golf swing, so we can move all of your divots into the green light zone!
Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula. Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.