In case you haven’t read any of my blogs before (hey, where have you been?), strike quality is one of the leading correlators with how good you are at the game of golf. Things such as
- Maximizing distance
- Minimizing shot dispersion
- Increasing greens in regulation
- lowering your score
are all highly correlated with your strike quality.
I know, I know – all that fancy “swing stuff” is cool, but it doesn’t mean a thing if your club doesn’t hit the sweet spot with some regularity. Just watch Rory McIlRoy hit a cold top shot below with beautiful swing mechanics.
How Good Are You?
I’ve created a quick test so you can check how good a ball striker you are. The test is simple, and has 3 steps.
STEP 1 = Mark the ball with a dry erase marker pen
STEP 2 = Place the dot as shown, in a position that the clubface will strike the marker pen ink
STEP 3 = Check where the marker pen has transferred to the clubface.
Let’s use your results from 10 shots to see where your striking ability ranks.
Level 1 – Bare Bones
Take a look at the picture below – did you get at least 7/10 of your shots in the green shaded area (the grooved part of the face)?
This is the very basic level needed to play some level of golf that could suffice on a golf course. If you are not even here yet, you need some serious work on your strike.
Players in this category can hit some serious stinkers.
Level 2 – Getting There
Does your pattern look more like below – where 9/10 or more of the shots are in the shaded area, but not really centered? Sometimes they may be more toe or heel biased, but very few would be classed as flushed.
Players in this category will really struggle with consistency, and will have pretty big distance losses and often complain of the club twisting in their hands, or feelings of vibration at impact.
This is about a 20+ handicap level of strike. Good luck getting lower with this pattern.
Level 3 – Almost There
Does your pattern look like below – where at least 5/10 of the shots are in the middle 1/3rd of the grooved part of the face?
Now we are starting to get somewhere.
Players in this category might will still have a lot of distance to gain, and will have a bigger front to back dispersion (length) that ideal, but they should be able to play pretty decent shots.
They would tend to still be very inconsistent with the driver.
Level 4 – Finally
If you are in this category, pat yourself on the back. Getting 9/10 or more shots in the middle 1/3rd of the clubface is no mean feat.
You still have work to do, but you could be a pretty decent player with this type of pattern. You would tend to hit the ball pretty consistent in terms of distance control (as long as your ground contact is reasonable).
Level 5 – Long Term Consistency
This is where is gets sexy.
The next level is being able to do level 4, but also having the ability to intentionally hit the toe or the heel 1/3rd of the club.
I know what you are thinking – “Why would I want to hit anything other than the sweet spot?”.
Well, having the ability to change and manipulate the strike at will shows not only an advanced level of control, but if shit were to hit the fan and you were to start shanking it out of the blue on the course suddenly, the player in this level would be able to re-calibrate their strike pattern.
Players who don’t possess this skill might play well the majority of the time, but if an issue pops up mid-round, they can be screwed.
Players who possess this ability are able to automatically correct any errors as they pop up – so they can turn a bad round into a good one.
Level 6 – #Toursauce
This is the same as level 5, but with an extra bit of #toursauce . The player would be able to return the club to whatever 1/3rd of the face the desire while setting up out of varying parts of the clubface.
For example, they would be able to set up out of the heel of the club but still return the club back to the sweet spot.
Set up like this, but swing back and return the club back to the 1/3rd of the face you desire. Try alternating between a toe and a heel set-up for extra difficulty.
Level 7 – New Heights
What – there’s more?
Sure is – can you hit any 1/3rd of the face you want AND control/change the height on the clubface?
This requires incredible coordination and brings in skills of low point control and arc depth too. Get to this level and you will be a strike King.
Level 8 – Strike God
Very few people reach this level. You will need a partner for this.
One of my favorite things to demonstrate is to set up out of the middle of the club, but as I am in my backswing, my partner has to call out either “heel” or “toe”.
So you are being reactive to the call of your partner and changing your strike location as you are mid-swing.
While you would never need this level of reactive-ness in the normal course of a round of golf, the ability to do this highly correlates with the level of play (I have only found tour-players or really low handicap players able to do this.
Where Are You?
So, where did you fall in the strike levels?
Striking the appropriate part of the face is one of just 2 elements that create a flushed shot – the other one being our quality of ground contact. I discuss strategies and exercises to rapidly and lastingly improve both of these elements in The Strike Plan video series.
Through improvements in swing mechanics, skills (ability to coordinate body movements) and concepts (I use simple mental tricks to quickly move my strike to optimal locations), you can start playing better and more consistent golf.
Click the image below to find out more about The Strike Plan.
I also discuss learning strategies for improving all aspects of your game in the best-seller, The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers
The book is available on Amazon.com and has reached the number one spot in the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Spain and France. It was also featured on The Golf Channel as a “must-have” book. Find out more by Clicking the image link below.