As the outdoor golf season winds down, we hear many golfers wondering about their off-season training and skills they need to develop.
There is plenty of discussion in the golf instruction world about “fundamentals” for full swings but, in my opinion, nothing is more important than impacting the golf ball on the centre of gravity of the clubhead.
Of course, this can be accomplished with a variety factors that could send the golf ball wildly off-line (face angle, path), but the act of a centre strike itself is a foundation you can build those elements around.
Why is it critical? Well, a golf clubhead is balanced around a single small point; when that point comes in direct contact with a similar balance point on a golf ball (that’s easier given its shape) you will not have any abnormal twisting of the the club ahead.
Miss that centre of gravity and the clubhead could twist open or closed (due to a toe or heel strike), or also have loft added or gained (due to vertical strike low or high in the face). The end result is varied launch direction of the ball, launch angle differences, and even spin rate changes. Any degree of miss of the ball on the clubface, in any direction, will lead to a different result. Thus, a centre strike (on the center of gravity (CG) sometimes the center of the club is not the CG) reduces variability in the results.
Off-centre strikes can occur due to a number of reasons, both static (set-up) or dynamic (within the swing) but even the act of developing the skill of hitting the ball central in the face can be done without making technical changes with a coach (but it is recommended).
The first step is to evaluate where your normal strike pattern is so you have the feedback to work from as you make changes to improve it. Many people are not even aware of their patterns.
This can be done in a number of ways, using mechanical aids on the face like foot spray or face stickers (be careful with these, they can affect spin rates), or now, through the use of launch monitor technologies. Tools like Trackman 4 and Foresight GC Quad (and GC 2 with HMT) allow you to see where your strike is with each shot.
I’d recommend going on a journey of self-discovery with one of these tools to find out what your pattern is, so you can attempt to self-organize and adjust to a more consistent sample.
Try hitting golf balls in successive groups of ten and gradually try to improve how many times within each batch that you can achieve the strike you want.
With this feedback, see what it does for the quality of your shots, then seek the help of a PGA Coach. They can help you add some swing elements that can take advantage of this improved ability.
It’s just one way you can improve your golf game this winter, and have some fun at the same time.
Quick tip: Don’t just try to achieve a centred strike of the clubface in your training. Having intention is important no matter what skill you are trying to evolve. For fun, try to intentionally hit shots on various areas of the face (picking the spot before you hit). The ability to do also means you have the ability to hit it in the part of the face you want for the best results, the center of gravity. By exploring the “wrong”, it can help you find the “right.”