Hitting behind the ball is one of the most frustrating encounters a golfer can have when making a full swing and especially in the short game.
Most players struggle with hitting the ground behind the ball for one of the following reasons:
• Weight staying back on trail foot thru impact;
• An early release of the club often due to an open club face in the downswing;
• Arms separating from body creating a lengthening swing radius;
• Overactive trail arm throw/thrust in downswing, lengthening swing radius;
• An extremely steep angle of attack.
To figure out the exact reason you sometimes hit the ground first, it’s best to find a qualified coach who can decipher which of the above (or combination) applies to your game. However, like taking daily vitamins, the few good training drills below can usually help:
1) Towel Under Arms: Fold a caddy-style golf towel long-wise and place across your chest, tucking under both arm pits as you do so. Your upper arms will feel very “connected” to your torso. Practice making small half swings feeling this connection remaining intact. Your arms and body will feel like they are moving more in unison as you swing.
2) Picture Perfect Finish: Have a friend video your swing with their phone and take a quick look at your finish position. If yours is unbalanced or you can’t see the spikes of your trail foot shoe, make some practice swings where your trail foot finishes completely up on its toe. You’re doing it right if you can finish in a balanced position with your weight completely on your front foot.
3) Passive Trail Arm: Take your regular address position gripping the club normally. Remove your lead hand from the club and place it over your trail elbow/ upper arm. Make some small half swings back and thru. It will feel as if your trail arm is staying bent against your side longer in the follow through. You’re doing it right if you feel like your torso must rotate or tilt down through impact more than usual.
4) Intention Challenge: An oldie but goodie, place a tee in the ground in front of the ball down your target line roughly 3 inches. Focus on making swings hitting the ball and tee through impact. Note: This drill is recommended for full-swing iron and wedge shots only, not short-game.