So often I see golfers struggle with their ball striking. The most common miss hits prevail; topped shots thin shots, fat shots, really fat shots. Set the range balls off to the side and take a cue from the current Number 1 player in the world.
Jordan Speith has a wonderful way of rehearsing his swing during his round. He uses a continuous motion activity. He doesn’t stop and reset after each swing. He flows from the end of his follow through and smoothly transitions to the top of the backswing in a “back and forth” manner often using shorter swings. Jordan scuffs the ground perfectly with each pass. More specifically, he strikes the ground slightly to the left of where the golf ball would be.
Consider this activity at the practice tee. Start with an 8 or 9 iron and make small continuous motion swings that brush a swath of grass on the way thru. Keep the swing short, with only a little bit of wrist action. Keep your hands below your hips (This activity is easier with short swings) Avoid digging in to the ground. Instead, work to “thump” the ground.
A good objective is to scuff the ground in front of your left shoe (for a right handed golfer). If you miss your mark, don’t stop and think and regroup. Just keep swinging. Back and forth. Think about the adjustments you need to make to hit your mark, but do this “on the fly”. Work to get closer and closer to you mark with each swing.
This is a continuation exercise. Avoid stopping, regrouping, resetting your feet or waggling the club. Just keep swinging. Avoid thinking.
Especially avoid technical thoughts about how to do this. Instead keep a clear intention of what you are trying to do. Put simply, all you are trying to do is … scuff the ground in front of your left shoe (for a right handed golfer).
Once you can scuff your mark time after time with a half swing, slowly increase the length of the swing working your way up to a “Three Quarter” length. Over-swinging makes it really easy to miss the ground altogether or to hit the ground before the ball. Neither is ideal. Keep these continuous motion swings shorter and you will begin to scuff the ground in the proper place more often. Once you feel proficient at scuffing the ground in the ideal location, try this swing from a more static address position. If you can scuff the ground from there, you are ready to swing at a range ball. If you revert back to topping or fat shots, go back to the “Jordan Speith” activity with no ball. Eventually you will convince yourself that you can swing with a ball there and your ball striking will improve.
This continuous motion activity is a great way to rehearse proper fundamentals without a ball, loosen up before a round, keep you loose in pressure situations and as part of an efficient pre-shot routine. If you are new to golf this is a great activity to start accumulating swings without the worry of where the ball might go. Just swing.