If you want to learn how to eliminate fat and thin shots and strike the ball better than ever, read on!
As a golfer, you may have heard that ‘low point’ is important, which begs the question
What is low point?
I realize that many amateurs do not understand this concept clearly. However, it is a vital component of crisp, pro-quality strikes.
The swing is Circular
In the downswing, the clubhead makes a circular movement, similar to a big hula hoop (although it is not perfectly planar and not perfectly circular). From a front on view with a 2D camera, it looks something like this;
The arc that the clubhead traces will have a lowest-point to it – just as every circular motion does. Zoomed in around the hitting area, it would look something like this;
During the red part of the arc, the club is travelling downwards. During the lowest point of the swing, we would say that we have a neutral angle of attack. During the blue part of the swing (after low-point) the club is travelling upwards.
Go low, like a pro
A professional golfer will have a low point which is in front of the ball for almost every shot which is struck with the ball resting on the ground. This is seen below
The ball is hit in the slightly descending part of the swing arc, and the divot/grass cutting will take place after the ball has been hit. This is what gives the pro their crisp contact, regardless of turf conditions. It also means that the ball is being struck before the ground, thus increasing spin rate (due to increased friction, due to less grass trapped between ball and clubface) and increased energy transference (maximizing distance).
This type of contact also increases consistency of distance control, as well as directional consistency (as the club is not being deflected chaotically by the turf).
In real life, this looks like this,
Obviously this is quite a violent interaction with the turf here, but we can clearly see the ball being struck before the turf as the clubhead is on the descending part of the swing arc.
Low point is NOT ground contact
One of the biggest misconceptions I see with not only amateurs but even teaching professionals is the idea that low point=strike with the ground – It doesn’t!
Low point and ground contact relate, but they are not the same. We also have to consider swing arc height. Let me explain.
Below is a picture of the pro low point once more
The lowest point of the swing is around 4-5 inches in front of the ball, and the strike with the ground is just in front of the ball. However, if we were to lower the height of the swing arc, we would get this;
In this picture, the swing arc has gone deeper into the ground – so although the low-point is in the same ideal place (in front of the ball), we may still create poor ground contact. Many people try to attack this problem simply by shifting their weight more and more forwards, which comes with its own issues.
High Handicap problems
For a higher handicap golfer, the lowest point of the swing can be behind the ball, as shown below.
In the above scenario, with the lowest point of the swing behind the ball, any subtle variation in swing arc height can cause massively different (but equally as poor) results. If you suffer with both fat and thin shots, or general inconsistent contact it is likely that this is what you are doing.
How to Get Better?
Having the ability to control your low point and arc height is absolutely vital if you want to strike the ball solidly like a professional. Combined with an improved centre face contact, these are the most important determinants of your handicap level and golfing ability. This is something all professionals do, and is a must if you want to improve.
If you want to find out how to master these skills through techniques, concepts and skill drills, click the below picture to see The Strike Plan.