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Question on Diagnosing Problems:

Why do I have problems hitting the ball first? Too many times I hit behind the ball.
--Sandi M. from Lincoln University, PA

Hi Sandy. Thanks for writing I'm looking forward to helping you with your game.

Hitting behind the ball is usually caused by 3 things:

1) Releasing the club before impact
2) Swinging too far inside/out
3) A Poor weight shift

When you release the club early you straighten out your rear wrist and rear elbow too soon. This causes the golf club to hit the bottom of it's swing arc too soon. The result is either a club that hits the round before the ball or a thin shot as the club catches the ball on too much of an up swing. It is important therefore to take the angles you establish in your rear elbow and wrist tat the top of the swing and transport them with your pivot (leaving them the same) as opposed to pushing the club down to the ball by straightening out your arms. The longer you can keep these angles intact, the more energy and control you will store on the way down. Your club will then release into the ball and then keep going down and take a divot in front of the ball.

Next if your swing path is too severely inside/out you can easily "drop kick" the ball by hitting the ground first. To combat this make sure that you feel line you are keeping the club in front of your toe line on the takeaway and bringing it back down the same way (in front of your body). When you address the ball your arms and hands are in front of your chest. It's important to keep them there throughout the swing. When they get stuck behind you fat shots and blocks can result.

Finally, if you are hanging back or falling back with your weight and are on your rear side at the moment of contact then you will hit the ground first. Practice hitting balls standing off your front foot only. Rest your back foot behind you on the toe so you don't put any weight on it. This will give you the feeling of what it's like to be over your front foot at impact and hitting down and through the ball.

Give these things a try and let me know how it goes. I'm sure you will quickly find what the problem is, but if not please feel free to write back if you have more questions.


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