There are a few factors/skills that contribute to solid contact and the lower score that come from well-struck shots. I want to define one of those keys, and more importantly, one error I see amateur golfers commit that causes inconsistency in that contact.
Low Point Control – A golfer’s ability to consistently have the club head reach its lowest point in a similar location on every swing. This position should be in relation to the ball (in front or behind) and the ground (above or below). In my opinion, one’s mastery of this skill is what separates good players from bad.
Taking the time to watch good players, you will start to notice they are excellent at controlling their low point. If you dig even further, you will notice that their low point is ALWAYS in front or on the target side of the golf ball. Meaning, they strike the ball first and then the ground, with the lowest point (deepest part of the divot) being as much as 4 inches in front of the ball.
(For more info on low point, I highly recommend checking out this article by Adam Young: Low Point).
My purpose in writing this article is to show one common amateur mistake that contributes to an inability to control low point. Please check out Adam’s article for more info on low point as he defines it as well as I’ve ever seen it written.
The picture above shows an example of something I’ve witnessed many amateurs do during their backswing. I’m sure many of you have been told to transfer your weight to the trail leg on the backswing and to the lead leg on the downswing. A weight shift in the golf swing is a good thing, unfortunately the photo above is the result of misunderstanding that advice.
The reason I believe this issue is so common is that good shots can be hit by shifting your head and center off the ball. Honestly, I’ve seen some players become quite good at it but when those players are just a little bit off their game their ball striking suffers greatly. The problem is, it’s very difficult to time that out consistently. Instead, a golfer may hit a few shots fat, followed by some thin shots, and then mix in some excellent strikes. Does this happen to you? This swaying, moving of center, or lateral head movement makes it almost impossible to have a consistent low point. That inconsistency prevents any chance you have at becoming a good ball striker and even though you hit the occasional good shot, it would have been even better if your pivot was more centered.
A Better Way
Pictured above we have Fred Couples who is demonstrating a characteristic held by almost every great player. Notice how Freddie’s pivot is perfectly centered, with absolutely no lateral head movement. This allows Freddie to have greater control of his low point and be an excellent ball striker.
How can you improve your pivot?
Personally, I have a few drills that love when working on my pivot.
1. At home, place a thin piece of colored tape on a full length mirror. Line up the tape with the center of your head, similar to the pictures above. Practice taking backswings and not allowing your head to move away from the line. This drill can be done with or without a club. If not using a club simply cross your arms across your chest, touching each shoulder.
2. With a partner on the range, have your partner hold an alignment rod a few inches off the non-target side of your head. Practice making swings without hitting your head on the alignment rod. What I love about this drill is that you can actually hit shots during its execution.
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I want to hear from you…
If you have any questions about improving your pivot, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I’m always looking to add new drills to my arsenal so if you have any drills, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.