There’s so much talk about impact and the positions of your body and the club. But with the clubhead moving 90 miles an hour, it’s impossible to control exact positions. Instead, think bigger: Think motions. You’ll improve your impact without getting fixated on the actual strike. — with Peter Morrice
“Stop scooping — Extend your right arm.”
Let’s start with lower-body action. You can see in the photo above how my right knee is kicking in—that’s a big one. It proves my weight is moving to my front side, which should happen throughout the forward swing. Weight shift is critical because when you’re moving forward, you have a good chance to hit the ball first, then the ground. If your weight is stuck on your back foot or, even worse, moving away from the target, you’ll bottom out behind the ball.
Next, notice my right arm is extending down and out toward the target. A split second earlier, my elbow would have been bent and close to my right hip. This straightening of the trail arm drives the clubhead into the ball and then the turf. If your trail arm doesn’t fully extend, you’ll never strike the ball with the middle of the clubface. You’re probably trying to scoop it off the ground instead of hitting down and through. (That nice divot means I’m doing it right.)
Last one: The clubface is closing through the shot. At impact, the face would have been looking straight at the target, but here, the toe has passed the heel. Does that mean the face is closed? Hell no—it’s square. The face is rotating left as the clubhead arcs to the left after impact. Again, think of these as motions, not static positions you should monitor. Impact isn’t a destination—you’re just passing through.
PRACTICE TIP : TAKE IT SLOW
If you’re struggling to feel your swing, practice in slow motion. Don’t cheat on length; make a full swing, just slower. It’s a great way to feel big things, like your arms and body moving in sync or the swing path back and through. Bonus: Slow-motion practice swings on the course give you a last chance to pre-set your feel.
BUTCH HARMON is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.