By Brent Morrison
When trying to increase the distance the ball travels (especially off the tee) the degree of difficulty increases significantly. While there are many reasons this is so, the most common error is failing to hit the ball off the center of the clubface, or sweet spot.
Most golfers can likely recall a short chip shot that felt great but traveled way too far. We have all seen this happen and it is very common with beginners. They take a big swing and the ball dribbles a few feet away in front of them. Then they get closer to the green and with a smaller, more controlled motion, hit the sweet spot of the club and the ball soars over the green!
Tests at Golfsmith have shown that if you miss the sweet spot by an inch or more (which is not much considering the size of the newer driver heads) the distance lost ranges between 14 and 20 percent. So, on a 240-yard carry drive the distance lost can be 45 yards.
While many players will continually search for the latest and greatest golf club, I suggest you initially learn how to hit it off the sweet spot each time. I have taught the following drill for years and have found it’s the easiest way for students to feel the sweet spot.
7 o’clock to 1 o’clock Drill
The red target line is parallel to the player’s toe line and represents the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. The yellow line represents the 7 o’clock and 1 o’clock positions and will give you the correct sensation for the correct path of the golf club.
- From a half backswing position, feel the sensation of the club dropping down at the 7 o’clock position and swinging out to the 1 o’clock position.
- You may feel as though the ball will actually travel out to the right. However with the proper rotation of your body, the club will actually be pulled inside and down the intended 12 o’clock target line.