Need help with your ball striking? Check out these superb tips from 10 of the world's best players
10 Tour Pro Ball Striking Tips
As golfers, we are all looking for that one swing thought; that single game-changing move that can suddenly transform our fortunes.
In this exclusive instruction feature, we have compiled some of our favourite tips from some of the best ball-strikers on the planet.
Whether you recognise a fault in your own game within the solutions provided or you’re simply looking for some inspiration for your next range session, the advice that follows might just lay the foundations for better swings and sweeter strikes!
Check out these superb Tour Pro ball striking tips to help your game…
10 Tour Pro Ball Striking Tips:
1) Dustin Johnson – Knee Flex
In an attempt to make a long backswing and store up as much power as possible, you can over-rotate and straighten your right knee.
The result is a reverse pivot, which places the majority of weight on your left side at the top of the swing. This mistake also causes the club to swing back longer than you need, making it extremely difficult to square the clubface at impact.
You need to shorten your swing and correct your weight shift in order to create more power with your driver.
To do so, work on maintaining a slight knee bend in your right knee all the way from address to the top of your swing. As you take your club to the top, let your body weight shift to your right heel so you feel athletic and loaded with energy.
You’ll find that your swing feels a little shorter than normal, but this is a good thing.
In reality, all you’re doing is getting rid of an artificially long backswing that was actually sapping the power from your swing.
2) Luke Donald – Posture
When I set up to the ball, I stand pretty tall at first and then have a little bit of a knee bend. I then tip my upper body forward from my hips. That is important, because a lot of people try to get their upper body over the ball by having too much knee bend.
That means they sit on their heels too much. In itself, that is not a very athletic position, but it also means that your spine angle is wrong. You need that good spine angle so that your arms hang down naturally.
From there, you can make an athletic turn, keeping that spine angle constant through the swing. Sometimes I have too much knee flex at address and that means I sit back into my heels. I get too far away from the ball and I end up having to reach for it. My hand-eye coordination means I can get away with it, but if you’re not playing every day, you will struggle.
If you regularly thin it or hit it fat, work on your posture.
3) Camillo Villegas – Left Wrist
My favourite swing tip is to keep your left wrist flat when you strike the ball.
My first golf coach in Colombia taught me this when I was a kid – I use it almost every time I play and it’s the one move I fall back on when I start to struggle.
If your left wrist is cupped (bent back) at impact, then you’ve allowed the clubface to pass your hands – you’ll hit the shot thin or off to the right every time this way.
If it’s bowed (bent forward) then you’re likely to have hooking problems (I’m guilty of this one).
If you get this right, you’ll hit it a lot straighter.
4) Jim Furyk – Ball Position
Here’s a quick way to improve your contact: stop playing the ball so far back in your stance.
If I’ve seen one amateur player do this I’ve seen a thousand, and they all do it for the same reason: they think that playing the ball back will help them make contact with the ball first and the ground second, producing a nice, healthy divot.
But think about it – if you try to hit a ball that’s somewhere behind the middle of your stance while correctly shifting your weight forward on your downswing, how can you expect to make contact?
You can’t, so you adjust by eliminating your weight shift and hanging back on your right side.
5) Henrik Stenson: Shoulder Angle
With a driver or fairway wood, your shoulders should be tilted at address (the left one should be higher than the right one) and not square, as they are with your irons.
This technique ensures that you reap the benefit of whatever loft your driver or wood has to offer.
Remember that modern drivers are designed to carry the ball a long way through the air, so a solid set-up position will help you squeeze out every available yard.
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6) Tommy Fleetwood – Lag
If you ever see a top golfer swing in slow motion, you can see the lag.
This is where, halfway through the downswing, the shaft is bent – it’s almost like it’s lagging behind the rotation of the body. As the player releases the angle in the wrists through impact, the clubhead rips through the ball with extra speed.
If you see a player, someone like Rickie Fowler, who looks ‘narrow’ on the way down, that’s usually because they have a lot of lag.
The opposite of this is when you release the angle in your wrists too early, and that’s known as casting – that really costs you speed.
To get lag, drag your arms down from the top. Imagine that you are holding a rope at the top of your backswing and just pull it straight down.
7) Justin Rose – Weight Shift
Getting the shaft leaning forward at impact, with your hands ahead of the clubhead and the clubface stable, isn’t as simple as just ‘lean the shaft forward’. It actually involves your whole body. The key is to shift 90 per cent of your weight to your front foot on your downswing.
Think of it this way: if you shift everything forward, then your hands shift forward – and stay ahead of the clubhead.
Getting your weight forward also stops you from hanging back on your right side, where you’re forced to flip the clubhead with your wrists just to make contact with the ball.
This usually results in a slice.
8) Michelle Wie – Narrow Focus
Here’s my tip: focus on the ball – and I mean really focus.
At address, pick out a single dimple and don’t lose sight of it until your ball leaves the face. Eyeballing a dimple steadies your body, keeping you lower to the ball, and prevents you from lifting your torso through the hitting zone.
It sounds like a small thing, but little things can make a big difference. So take it from me –keep your eye on the ball.
9) Ernie Els – Left Arm Connection
The connection between your left arm, your grip and the clubhead that you establish at address isn’t just good for your set-up. It actually helps you make a simple backswing without worrying about swing plane and path.
As you start the club back, keep your left arm pinned – try to cover the logo on your shirt with your left bicep.
To maintain this connection, you need to turn your shoulders rather than swing your arms. Even as your arms lift and your wrists hinge to complete your backswing, you should still feel the connection.
Once you lose that connection, your chances of falling off plane or swinging beyond your level of control increase dramatically.
10) Jason Day – Swing Wide to Narrow
Wide swings are powerful swings, but simply tracing a wide arc won’t help you add speed.
The trick is to take the club back with your left arm extended and keep the grip as far away from your head as possible, then snap the grip down close to your body at the start of the downswing.
Moving from a wide position at the top to a narrow one in your downswing boosts your swing speed. But don’t overdo the ‘wide’ part and keep your right arm straight in your backswing. Let it fold normally.
Think ‘high hands’ at the top.
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