The Strike Plan

Most golfers are looking to improve their performance but often I find them looking in the wrong place and they suffer by making the game more technical and difficult than it needs to be.

Whether you are a relatively new golfer or a low handicapper, most of your worst shots will come from a poor strike location on the club.

It might sound overly simple but if you just focus on striking from the centre of the club then you may be surprised at how good you hit the ball, and with very little thought too!

How do you know where you are hitting it from?
To begin with you need to become aware of where on the club you are striking the ball. The easiest way to do this is to coat the face with foot powder spray or get some face impact tape.

You may find that your strike is all over the club or it could be consistent but out of an ineffective part of the club.

In our lessons at Dunes we use the industry leading GC2 launch monitor with Head Measurement Technology (HMT). It displays exactly where on the clubface the ball was struck and this information has proven valuable to help golfers of all abilities improve their golf.

The industry leading GC2 with HMT launch monitor

For as long as I have played golf, I have been aware of how valuable it is to consistently find the middle of the club. However, since I started using GC2/HMT it has certainly highlighted how much the ball flight can vary depending upon strike location.

And I am not talking about strikes on the edges of the club face either, missing the centre by small amounts can create a tilted spin on the ball that turns a would be drawer of the ball into a slicer and vice versa.

This is primarily down to a phenomenon we call Gear Effect.

As the club crashes into the ball it is travelling at speeds of 60mph to 120mph depending upon the club and the individual swing speed. If the strike location is not directly in front of the centre of gravity (often referred to as sweet spot or the middle of the club) then a twisting will occur in the shaft. This can often be felt by the golfer through a vibration in the club on impact and often a reaction where they will say that the club twisted in their hands.

This twisting is caused by huge forces going through the shaft as a result of the off-centre collision. Imagine a car crashing into a concrete bollard at speed and off centre, you would see it twisting to one side.

Now this is where it can get a little complicated as the resultant ball flight is somewhat counter intuitive.

If the ball is struck from the heel of the club; the face rotates closed due to the impact. One would imagine this would send the ball to the left but in actual fact it creates a slice spin (to the right) because of the Gear Effect.

The exact opposite is true for strikes from the toe of the club.

It is like two gears working together. As the club twists clockwise, the ball will spin anti-clockwise.

However, the forces at play and variations during the impact phase are complicated and this can result in all sorts of things happening on severely off centre hits.

If you take a closer look at your driver club face you will notice that it is not actually dead flat. Instead it has a curve on it that we know as ‘Bulge’.

The bulge on the club is a design feature to help auto-correct the gear effect by starting the ball further right – for the draw spin to bring the ball back to centre on a toe strike and further left on a heel strike.

The images here show 6 shots played by a Tour Pro, a 7 handicap golfer and a 15 handicap golfer.
You can clearly see the huge difference in the consistency of centred strike achieved by the Tour Pro.

Next time you come to the range, take note of where on the clubface you are striking the ball. You don’t need to invest in expensive technology like we have in the studio; as I have already said, a £4 can of foot powder spray will do the job perfectly!

If you struggle to find the middle consistently then book a lesson at Dunes Golf Centre. The initial 1 hour session is just £30 and makes an ideal Christmas Gift.

This can be purchased online and a voucher printed all from the comfort of your own home. Simply go to www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/giftvouchers

Happy Golfing!