How to stop hitting the golf ball thin!
Hitting the middle of the ball…
The big 3 need to be addressed once again…
1. Grip position
2. Posture ( including distance from the ball)
Those golfers that tend to impact the center of the ball tend to grip the club with a weak to neutral grip which can cause the club to shorten during the downswing due to poor arm rotation. Rounded posture ( C posture ) can cause the golfer to use the arms and have less ability to rotate on center due to poor posture causing the ball to be hit “thin”.
Having poor alignment to the right of target can cause the lead leg & hip to raise up at impact causing the ball to be struck in the middle. A suggestion to everyone is to do some mirror work both face on and down the line and check that the body lines are correct. After all, “the only control you have over the ball is, before you hit it”. Set up better for better results.
Focus on Center Face Contact
One of the most important skills to being a great golfer is to hit the ball solid in the center of the club face. Tour pro’s do this much more consistently than we do and it has a direct correlation to a players handicap.
The main reasons I see golfers fail to hit the center is the following…
– too much posture change and head movement before impact.
– excessive in-to-out or out-to-in club path.
– overuse of the hands and wrists through impact, flipping, rotating, or re-hinging.
The first step is to figure out which flaw is yours… excessive body, path, or hands?
If you are losing posture or moving too much, try swinging a short iron with your feet together at a smooth pace (maybe 75%).
If your path is too much right or left, try hitting balls close to a parallel board or foam noodle, maybe 2 inches outside the ball. Don’t hit the object!
If hand action is the issue, focus on short swings and keeping your hands in front of your chest as you turn through, you can use a training aid between your arms.
Finally, anybody can improve by simply putting the ball between two tees that are slightly wider than your club head… a gate. Swing through the gate and keep note of which tee you tend to hit… and remember to always take a slight divot or brush of the grass.
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Sync the Swing
Hitting the middle of the ball or “thin” as it is commonly called is due to lose of posture or early extension on the downswing. This will result in the right arm straightening early and a flip with the hands through impact.
Hit shots from a chest high backswing (“L”) to low finish. This will keep you in posture through impact as well as “Sync the Swing” (arms, club and body past impact. Here are two drill that will help correct this very common mistake!! Good Luck!!
The swing hickup
Often times players get the idea that they need to lift the golf ball. Lift comes from hitting down on the ball, any upward motion at impact is sure to cause a thin or middle of the ball strikes. I describe this motion as a swing hick-up or a sudden upward motion at impact. Getting more confident and comfortable with the club interacting with the ground will allow much better contact. Move the ball position around in your stance and see if you can find a spot when the club interacts with the ground more productively.
Stop Striking the Ball thin
Golfers struggle hitting thin shots when the bottom of the swing (Spine) is behind the ball. This typically is the effect of golfers trying to keep their head down/and or their arms straight. When golfers are unathletic with an athletic motion required, off center shots occur. Players need to start with good posture. The ideal posture is one that a person can curl weights from. From this posture, make swings waist high to waist high allowing the arms to remain relaxed and the spine to pivot in the same direction that the clubhead is traveling. Do this and you will begin to find the bottom of the ball and strike the ball solid. Always remember that the toe of the club MUST get to the ball first before the heel of the club does to promote center face contact. As solid contact occurs, allow the motion of the swing to increase without tension in the arms.
Having trouble compressing the golf ball?
Do your hands hurt after hitting a poor golf shot? Do you find your weight on the back foot at the end of your swing? If so, chances are you are trying to lift the golf ball into the air. Golf instructors will throw out technical terms like “casting”, “flipping”, or “stalling”. What does it mean, and how can we fix it?
These three drills can help you hit down and through the golf shot, getting your weight in the proper place and flushing your iron shots. Number one, put your feet together and move your trail foot behind your lead foot (make sure the trail foot is on its tippy toe). Someone standing behind you should be able to see all the cleats on your trail shoe. Now, hit half-swing golf shots. Down and through with a little divot, right? Great job!
Now, drill number two. Set up with a regular stance and hit half-swing golf shots. Can you raise your trail foot after your swing is complete? If so, great! You are now transferring your weight correctly!
Lastly, we’ll need your golf towel. Place it two inches behind your golf ball. Now, hit some half-swing golf shots. If you miss the towel, you’re striking it well!
Good luck and don’t forget to download the Swing Essentials Golf App!
Bad Advice Makes You Hit the Middle of the Ball.
After years of teaching new golfers, I have come to one conclusion. Bad advice runs rampant on the golf course and it causes new golfers more harm than good. I can’t tell you how many new golfers, especially ladies, come in to our learning center and look like the photo on the left. This is 100% caused by their friends telling them to “keep your head down”. This single piece of advice can ruin a golf swing if not explained fully and correctly.
So many of these golfers keep their heads down too long and are forced to bend their arms through impact because your arms just cannot stay straight as they swing to the side of your body. BENT ARMS CAUSE THIN SHOTS.
The only way to control the low point of your swing arc is to control the radius of the swing arc. That radius is your left arm and club. The only way to have straight arms through impact like the picture on the right is to allow your chest and belly to come up or bend back as you move into the follow through. Your arms can only be straight, and together, in one place, right in front of your chest.
The fix is easy. Hit a bunch of partial shots where you stop at the picture on the right. Your belly button should be sticking out towards the target and your arms and club should be in a straight line. Once you can hit the ground and the ball every time with this follow through, slowly lengthen it and add speed.
Create good spacing and a consistent club path
When it comes to consistent center of face contact the address position is the first area to consider. I call it “spacing”. This is achieved by understanding both the vertical and horizontal. Meaning how much spine bend (vertical) and how far from the ball (horizontal) does one need. Both can affect how the club is delivered into the ball. Having too much spine bend can create heel contact and not enough spine bend can create toe contact. Standing too far from the ball can lead to toe contact and too close can lead to heel contact.
The other area to consider is club path. Coming too far from inside or from outside can have an influence of either heel or toe contact. The use of video is a great way to understand your own tendencies. I also recommend using face tape or other methods such as a powder that help pinpoint the contact mistake. I like to play a game called “where did I hit it on the face game”. Making a guess on where you think you hit on the face then look to see where you actually hit it on the face. This is a great game to learn feel. I would then use aids located next to ball to figure out where the path is coming from and then use them to make adjustments to not hit the aids
The combination of set up and club path are the keys to consistent pure contact.
Blading the ball
The most common way that I see golfers hit the middle of the ball(blading) is because they try and swing up on it to much, or try and lift the ball off of the ground.
Their tendency is to hang back on their trail leg and lift. Ironically this can also lead to hitting behind the ball as well.
They need to realize that when the ball is on the ground they need to strike the ball and then the turf. You don’t need to take a massive divot, but you need to move a little turf after striking the ball.
A good drill for this is called the Flamingo drill. Narrow the stance, putting most of the weight on the lead leg. Drop the trail leg behind them(away from the target line). Make some L-swings keeping the weight on the lead leg the entire time, the trail leg will just be for balance.
This should give the golfer a nice feeling of swinging down and through the ball.
Make some practice swings to start, seeing the club striking the turf on the target side of the ball. Once comfortable with that then try to do the same swing with the ball. Do not over swing, the goal is to try and get a feeling of swinging down and through the ball.
It’s just a drill, it is not meant to play golf this way, but isolating the feeling can help once they go back to a full swing.
Most thin shots are a result of a improper weight transfer in transition. Make sure your weight is at least 80% in your lead foot by impact. Add good drill is to lift the lead heal in the backswing and make sure it’s replaced prior to the arms starting down in transition from the top of swing .
Bellying the ball or topping it is very common. This is because the vast majority of golfers don’t use the club correctly. Impact should occur with the grip slightly ahead of the club head, but in most cases the reverse is true. Players are trying to lift the ball in the air by releasing the club early. When the club head passes the grip end before impact only fat and topped shots will occur. This is exacerbated by the inevitable bending of the lead elbow, known as the chicken wing, which is caused by the early release.
One other cause is fear of impact with the ground. If you hit the ground first it is jarring. If you hit it after the ball as all great players do, there is seldom any shock to the hands and arms.
Learn proper impact and cure the dreaded tops!
Lead arm breakdown causes topped shots.
In my opinion most topped shots are caused by the lead arm breaking down at the elbow and or wrist. The lead arm is the radius of the swing arc and when that radius shortens, the club head will belly the ball. The lead arm typically shortens when the players body stops rotating or the player tries to hit up on the ball with a scooping action.
Either way the best fix is to “rotate and reach” meaning visualizing just past impact with straight arms and the belt buckle to the target.
Fixing Thin Shots.
Hitting the middle of the golf ball is a milder version of topping. One fails to reach the bottom of the ball for one of a few reasons: poor posture, a shallow attack angle (club ascending into impact) or simply a lack of radius (chicken winging) their downswing. To offer a prescription, I’d need a video to see which one of those a student is doing. Simply send me an iphone video with your email and I’d be happy to take a look.
Shift Toward Target for proper contact
You could look at a golfer topping a ball and come up with a million reasons that this happened. As long as the club is somewhat close to plane, a proper shift of your weight toward the target should help your skulled shots. It corrects change in posture, arms shorter, shoulder plane and on and on. Practice the two step drill, take your stance and for a right handed golfer step your left foot over next to your right foot then step left with left foot then step the right foot over tight to the left. It’s my dance step as that’s all I can pull off!! Ha Proper weight shift should end with you in balance watching your ball fly down the fairway and you should stop seeing the top of the ball. Work hard and good luck!
Brush the grass in front of the ball
I think most golfers mistakenly try to get under the ball and lift it up in the air. This action causes the clubhead to reach its low point too soon and they lift up to compensate. Try and focus on letting the toe of the club turn down towards the ball and clip the grass in front. Understanding how the club is designed and used to make a divot can help a student comprehend the counterintuitive nature of hitting an iron off the grass. The leading edge of an iron must be lower at impact (slightly de-lofted) with a descending blow to make a divot. Pick a spot on the ground the size of a dime or smaller and brush the grass just forward of that. If you can do that consistently put a ball where the dime was and you love the result,
The Thin Shot
“If you want to see a bad shot, just look up.“ The shot that you just hit thin, known as a bladed shot, is from taking your eye off the ball. When the bottom of the golf club strikes the center or the top of the golf ball, you have problems! “Keep your head down and keep your eye on the ball.“ Remember, watching the back of the ball, throughout the entirety of your swing will help you hit crisp, clean and solid shots all day long! Enjoy your round!
Solid Contact is Your Business!
There is one reason that golfers hit the middle of the ball, typically called “blading”, and this is because the low point of their swing is in the wrong spot. This can be caused by either bending the elbows through impact or not getting enough trail shoulder tilt, or both.
A great drill to help solve this is to place a business card on the target side of the ball. Focus on swinging through the ball and getting the business card to fly up into the air. This will get your low point in the correct spot for solid contact.
Left side bend
90% of golfers struggle to get enough left side bend. At the top of the backswing we want the left shoulder much closer to the ground than the right shoulder. Up to 45° of left side bend is ideal for a short iron.
Stop Hitting the ball thin.
One of the primary reasons we hit a ball thin or topped is the player uses all arms with very little leg action in the forward swing. This problem creates a flipping of the wrists which brings the clubhead off the ground at impact. Make sure you turn your core towards the target in the forward swing getting 95 % of your weight onto your front leg. “Point your belly button at the target in the finish”.
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