Recently, in a lesson scenario, my student asked me to describe "the perfect impact position" for a full shot.
I'm sure my answer was somewhat disappointing to him at first, but as it turned out, the lesson was a "smashing" success.
There are a lot of golf instructors who teach "impact." I'm not one of them. In keeping with my cause and effect approach to understanding the golf swing, impact is an effect, not a cause. This "perfect impact" situation is the product of good and correct things the golfer has done to achieve this coveted position.
Let's investigate the causes of a dynamic and efficient impact.
First, let me quote the great Ben Hogan. "Trying to control impact is sheer folly."
With the club moving at such high speed in a flash of a moment, any effort to control this position is just not even possible. The way to achieve and control impact is done long before you arrive at the contact point. Proper posture, the correct grip and good alignment are key ingredients that help insure a workable and consistent impact.
Ideally, impact is an occurrence, not the main event. (This is where a competent instructor plays a valuable role; getting all the fundamentals in good working order).
When the proper swing parts are assembled and connected, impact is pretty much a done deal.
Those of you who have read any of my previous articles know how much I stress the value of a swinging motion to give a simple, reliable and consistent way of playing this great game. As I've stated before, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.
Remember that it's the club that hits the ball, not the golfer. Your job is to create and maintain a free and steady swinging motion.
Going back to my student's inquiry about impact, I feel his question was prompted by looking at high-speed photos of a top player in action in a golf magazine. With all the high-tech cameras now available, it's easy to fall prey to becoming a positions analyst. Many people enjoy this approach to learning things, but it's been my experience that this doesn't help matters.
Keeping your golf education almost child-like is the way to go. It's a game folks, not rocket science. Having said that, let me share with you a little high-tech story about my golf idol, Ben Hogan.
Several years ago, high-speed computer generated film of Hogan's swing revealed that he achieved maximum club head velocity a good foot or so beyond ball contact. That's all but unheard of in most cases. When asked how he did that, Hogan replied, "I hit it the furthest when I feel my hands whiz by my left ear in the follow through."
His feedback was registered well after impact, not at impact. We swing through the ball, not at it. Memo to whom this may concern: throw away your impact bag.
Yours for better golf.
Del Starks is a PGA teaching professional at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter. Contact him at (561) 262-0708, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.delstarks.com.