Golf Impact Training

By Mike Southern
If you look at PGA Tour player Jonathan Byrd's clubhead, you'll see that the bottom of the iron is parallel to his spine – proof that his forearms haven't rotated after impact.
If you look at PGA Tour player Jonathan Byrd's clubhead, you'll see that the bottom of the iron is parallel to his spine – proof that his forearms haven't rotated after impact.

That moment when the clubface contacts the ball – the moment of impact – is the closest thing to magic you can find in your golf swing. When you do it right, even if your swing isn't pretty, the shot feels good and the ball does what you want. Fortunately, impact is a simple thing to practice, even when you can't get to the range.

The Concept

According to legendary golfer Ben Hogan, "The action of the arms is motivated by the movements of the body, and the hands consciously do nothing but maintain a firm grip on the club." Your forearms appear to turn because your elbow bends during your backswing and straightens during your downswing. Minimize your hand and forearm rotation, and you'll improve your impact.

Wrist Leading

Because your body motion causes your arms to move the club into impact position, and your hands merely hold on to the club, the position of your wrists becomes crucial to making a solid strike on the ball. Think of your left arm (if you play right-handed) and your club shaft as two sticks joined by a pivot point – your left wrist. If your arm and shaft form a straight line at impact, or if the "wrist" end of the shaft reaches the ball before the "clubhead" end – that is, if the shaft leans forward at impact – you can make a solid strike. In other words, your hands reach the ball position before the clubhead. As long as the clubhead doesn't reach the ball before your hands – that is, if you don't "flip" your hands – your impact position will be good.

Door Jamb Drill

Take your address position in a doorway. Set up so that the clubhead is against the door jamb. To learn a good impact position, move your hands forward using your body. Don't move your hands or arms; rather, open your hips and shoulders about 30 degrees as if you had just hit the ball. This will cause your weight to shift slightly forward, flexing your wrists as your hands move slightly past the clubhead without twisting your forearms. This is the position you want when you make an actual swing.

Child's Play

One of the best ways to learn the proper move through impact is by throwing a flying disc. Hold it in your left hand and coil your shoulders, keeping your left arm straight but not stiff. Then just throw the disc. You'll have to move your entire body just as you should during your golf swing. Pay particular attention to the point at which you release the disc. It will feel as if your wrist is slightly bent, with the back of your wrist leading the rest of your hand. That's the feel of a proper impact position.

About the Author

North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.

Photo Credits

  • David Cannon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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