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Where Should You Look When Hitting a Golf Ball?
Where to Focus Your Eyes When Swinging

In just about any sport that you may have played you were at one time given the age old advice of "keep your eye on the ball." Where our eyes

Learn the Options on Where to Look When Hitting a BallWhat Part of the Ball Do You See?
focus has a significant effect on our hand-eye coordination. Simply put, it just isn't easy to hit something and hit it solid if you aren't looking at it. When your eyes wonder, so do your arms and hands. Golf is one of the very few sports involving a ball and stick where the ball is stationary. That gives us plenty of opportunity to easily focus on the ball. In fact, there isn't much of an excuse for not keeping your eye on the ball in golf. After all, it's sitting completely still and right in front of you!

Where do the Pros Look When They Swing?

Do all skilled players look at the golf ball when they hit and if so what part? If any of you have ever watched Annika Sorenstam the greatest female player of all time you know the answer to the first part of that question. Annika actually has her face turned towards the target at impact and is looking past the ball. While this is not all that common with skilled players and professionals, it's certainly not unheard of and Annika is definitely not the only one to play like this. Many a tour player has stated that they actually look a few inches in front of the ball. That's not bad advice actually as it assists the player in taking a good divot after the ball and gets their focus forward so that they move down and through at impact. That's much preferred obviously to hitting up on the ball and catching it thin which results in lack of compression and distance. For players that struggle with thin shots, topped shots and lack of divots with their irons I actually think focusing on a spot a few inches in front of the ball is something worth trying.

Jack Says the Whole Ball

While the greatest female player of all time looked in front of the ball, the greatest of all male players, Jack Nicklaus, said once that he just looks down and sees the entire ball as whole. He didn't focus on the front, back, top or bottom, he just looked down at the ball. This is how I, myself have always played as well. In fact, I think you will find that the vast majority of players fall into this category. What you will find though is that there are many styles and it's really all over the board with both professionals and amateurs. There is no rule here. Like most things in golf it's just a matter of finding what works for you and sticking with it.

Strike the Inside Quarter for Power and Control

The most common advice given on this subject is to look at the back inside quarter of the golf ball. This is to facilitate an inside/out swing. For every ball and stick sport we play be it baseball, tennis or golf, the goal is to strike the inside back quarter of the ball for ultimate power and control. When you are striking the outside, your arms are typically disconnecting from your body and your arms and wrists are releasing early. This causes acceleration to max out before impact causing the club to decelerate coming into the strike. Also, as the arms and hands release early, the clubhead passes the hands and the player loses control of the face. When the inside of our body (our core or our "engine") is leading the swing the arms and hands will follow as acceleration and power builds. As long as the clubhead is trailing our hands we remain in control, so the goal is to keep it trailing until impact. For those players looking for better control and distance (aren't we all?) staring at the back inside quarter of the ball would be good advice.

Keeping Your Head Down Too Long is as Detrimental as Looking Up

For those of you that like to peek or find yourself taking your eye off of the ball, focusing on a specific dimple might be the key for you. If you narrow your focus down that specifically then chances are you won't peek. As the saying goes "keep your eyes on the ball" so that means following the ball with your eyes once it takes off. To do that you will need to rotate your head/face towards the target. Keeping your head down too long is detrimental and a common mistake people make as the first thing they are told when they start playing is to keep their head down. What happens when a player restricts their head too long is it restricts their pivot from coming through the ball. Obviously, if a player doesn't rotate through the shot then they will lose power, but even worse, when the pivot stops the club accelerates too quickly often resulting in an early release and a sprayed shot. Best advice; keep your eyes on the ball, but keep following it with your eyes and your pivot after impact.

The Situation:

You are not sure where to look when hitting a golf ball.

The Solution:

While common advice is to focus either on the entire ball, a spot in front of the ball, a specific dimple on the ball or the back inside quarter of the golf ball there is no rule here and no proven method. Experiment and find out what works for best for you personally.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
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