Back o' the Ball
By Erika Larkin on 11/7/12
Before you pull the trigger and take your swing, where are you looking? At the ball? Which part of the ball? The top? The front? The side? The "T" on the word Taylormade? Does it matter?
I believe the majority of golfers would benefit from looking at the back of the ball especially with Driver. That means the right half of the ball if you're a right handed player. I like to turn range balls to a position where I can focus on the black line the whole time.
What does this do? Well, at address it will encourage a proper spine tilt. Your upper body and head have to be in a position slightly tilted away from your target to see the back half of the ball fully and clearly. This is part of a proper setup. At impact, your eyes staying focused on that part of the ball will keep your head in position so that you don't get ahead or in front of the ball (causing blocked shots, pulls or tops). This tip can also help "keep your head down", that pesky problem that happens to so many of us.
So the next time you tee it up, focus on the back o' the ball while transferring your weight onto the front leg. You should feel more in control with improved hand-eye coordination.
Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virigina. She was named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine... and she's oobgolf's newest columnist. She will be writing on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, email her at ErikaLarkin@pga.com. Enjoy!
Image via Flickr, VarsityLife
[ comments ]
Kurt the Knife says:
Like my instructor is always drillin into me," focus on the 4 o'clock of the ball"
which I rarely do cuz i'm a knucklehead.
Tip I got...use the dry eraser marker to the range. Mark the ball with the marker, let said big dot, set the ball on the tee just like set up above. Does 2 things. 1, dot to focus on while addressing the ball. 2) after you hit the ball, the dot will transfer to your club face, which shows location of the impact, like impact tape/paper. Great way to find out how you are hitting the ball, and best of all, dry erase marker can be erased. I use the marker all the time now when I am practicing as well as on the course (first few holes).
I always use back of ball focus point with driver, but like to use front of ball or even an inch or two in front of ball for irons. Works perfectly for me.
Have just reread John Jacobs book,"Practical Golf", where he also recommends this. Along with getting the proper spine tilt, he also points out how with the proper tilt it will also bring the shoulders more onto the target line instead of pointing to the left (for righties)which seems to be a problem with a lot of people. I have been focusing on this recently and my ball striking has started to improve as well as my overall driving. I am having to learn new aim points as the ball is flying straighter with less fade than I'm used to.
Another good off the beaten path topic, Erika Larkin. I have always found it hard to zone in on one of the dimples, as good players will sometimes describe. Definitely something I started to work on recently. By that I mean that I try not to take any kind of practice swing, no matter where even in the living room, without focusing on a specific target on the floor. I realized that when making practice swings I would tend to look at the club going back, the position at the top, my reflection in the mirror...anything but the spot where the ball would sit, and I realize now how wrong that is, and why I routinely have trouble focusing in on a very specific spot throughout the swing.
Bryan K says:
My golf instructor, last summer, told me to concentrate on the ground right in front of the ball (where I want my divot to start) when hitting with irons. This does two things. First of all, it prevents me from hitting the ball fat, which is something I struggle with. Second of all, it promotes a swing that goes through the ball rather than at the ball.
Matt McGee says:
You must mean that I should focus on that spot until I get to the top of my backswing, when I grip the club as tightly as I can, close my eyes, and swing as hard as I possibly can. I'll try it.
I have to admit I go back and forth from focusing on the front of the ball to the back depending on which flaw I am trying to address. Most of the time it is better to focus on the front of the ball as this helps me hit down, take a divot, and swing through instead of across, but this is mainly with irons/wedges/hybrids. I think Erika may have something in regards to back of ball focus with the driver.
For my driver, 3:00 for straight to slight cut, 3:30 for slight draw.
joe jones says:
You mean I am not supposed to be looking down the fairway while I am swinging. I have been doing it wrong all of these years.
I'm with GBogey, irons especially I focus on the ground in front of the ball. Otherwise, fat shots will happen. Fairway woods & driver, back of the ball.
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