DEAD SOLID PERFECT
Had a great coaching session today: here is what happened.
The student, MP, wanted to know where to address the ball at setup. He had heard that in order to hit the ball in the sweet spot and thereby maximize distance, at setup he should address the ball in the middle of the clubface. He wanted to know if this was correct.
To answer the question, we combined the ultra high tech golf training tool, TrackMan, with some low tech Dr. Scholls foot powder spray. When MP lined up the ball in the center of the clubface at address, the Smashfactor (ball speed divided by club head speed was quite low - 0.94)
and the distance was not what MP expected. This
told us that MP was probably not striking the ball
in the sweet spot, despite the fact that he lined
up the ball in the center of the clubface at address.
So we turned to Dr. Scholls foot powder spray.
After hitting a shot you can see where the ball made
contact with the club (high and near the hosel)
and the the reason for the disappointing results.
We then had MP change the ball/club relationship at address so that the ball was actually lined up with the toe of the club, rather than the center of the clubface. You can see the result of making this change. And with a sand wedge, MP's Smashfactor went up to 1.03 and his yardage went from 95 to 105 with a similiar swing speed. With a 6 iron, Smash Factor went from 1.33 to 1.35 and carry distance went from 173 to 179 yards.
What MP learned: lining the ball up in the center of the clubface might be good for some golfers, but it was hurting him. Interestingly, he shared that he has had this issue for a long, long time. When he was a senior in high school, practicing to play in the State Tournament, he got the dreaded sh..ks. He and his high school coach could not figure out why this was happening. Now MP knows, lining the ball up off the toe will result in more solid shots, increased distance, and of course, fewer sh..ks.
IDEAL BALL ADDRESS POSITION:
ALWAYS IN THE CENTER?
THAT'S INTERESTING, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
So where should YOU line up the ball at address? It depends. By understanding your Biomechanics and directional swing motion, you can determine where best to line up the ball at address.
The two most important factors you need to understand include: your HIP SPEED and SWING PATH.
For players with slow hip speed, the club head tends to move toward the outside of the target line in the downswing. According to Mike Adams, one of America's top 10 instuctors for the past 20 years, changing your hip speed is extremely difficult, if not almost impossible. Best solution here is to move the ball at address closer to the toe for improved ball-club contact.
The second factor, which can be addressed, is swing path. If you are hitting the ball too close to the hosel, try swinging more down-the-line instead of inside-out.
And based on this information, golfers with fast hip speed and possible swing path of out to in, might want to address the ball as shown in the picture below.
If you need help with making better contact and increasing your distance, contact me to set up a Coaching Session.
HOW LEARNING/CHANGE HAPPENS
LG, an outstanding young player, came to see me for help in improving his accuracy with all of this clubs. He was hitting too many shots left ( an issue common with better players). In the picture below you can see what was happening. This went on for nine consecutive shots before we stopped to discuss.
What we talked about was the fact that the club was traveling too far from the inside (Club path +6.5) resulting in club face closing too much at impact (Club face to path -8.7) causing the ball to travel too far left (45.5 feet left).
LG listened intently, asked a couple of questions for clarification. We then discussed possible ways to change the direction of the club path into the ball. Look at the picture below to see what happened next.
LG did exactely what we discussed: he changed the club path from +6.5 (inside out ) to -2.2 (outside in). And look what happened. The ball traveled even farther to the left.
THIS WAS LG'S FIRST CHANCE TO ABANDON THE CHANGE. After all, he did exactely what we discussed and the results were even worse. BUT LG, DID NOT GET FRUSTATED. INSTEAD HE REMAINED OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITIES. Open to the possiblity that we were headed in the proper direction.
Unfased by the results he was seeing on the screen, LG keep focusing on changing his club path from too much to the inside to more down the line. In spite of continuing to hit shots left, LG kept going like a "kid in a candy store" who was told he could taste any and all the candy he wanted. Just because he tried a couple of candies he didn't care for, HE REMAINED OPEN TO THE POSSIBLITY THAT THE NEXT CANDY HE SAMPLED MIGHT BECOME HIS NEW FAVORITE.
After LG convinced himself that he could make this change we stopped to talk again. LG's next question is probably obvious as he asked, "What else has to happen to make the ball go straighter?" It was of course the clubface had to be facing more toward the target at impact. Once LG understood this, look what started to happen.
AS LG was enjoying hitting his shots straighter, this shot continued to show up. THIS WAS LG'S SECOND CHANCE GET FRUSTRATED AND ABANDON THE CHANGE. He could easily have decided that this really did not work or that it was too difficult, or that he could actually go back to where he started and have just as good of a chance to hit good shots. BUT HE DIDN'T.
LG REMAINED OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT THIS CHANGE WAS GOOD AND WITH PRACTICE HE COULD INCORPORATE IT INTO HIS GOLF SWING.
And as of result of this remaining OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITES, LG began to hit a much higher percentage of shots that ended up very close to his target line.