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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Martin Hall on Hitting the Sweet Spot

Instructors keep saying that, if you want to get maximum distance, you have to hit the ball on the sweet spot. That's true whether you're using a wood or an iron.

I found this older clip from School of Golf where Martin talks about why some people miss the sweet spot and instead hit the ball off the heel. Let me sum up what he says, then you can watch the video below.

First of all, he says you can 'heel' the ball because you stand too close to it. So you can fix that problem by setting up with about one hand span -- that is, from heel of palm to tips of fingers -- between your thighs and the butt of the club handle.

But he also talks about 'heel confusion,' which is when you think the sweet spot of the club is in line with the shaft. That means you actually try to hit the ball with the end of the shaft. Obviously this means you hit the ball with the heel of the clubhead. You may not even realize you're doing it, since most other things that involve swinging something -- Martin names baseball bats and tennis rackets, but you can add hammers, flyswatters and other things as well -- have the 'sweet spot' in line with the 'shaft.'

Okay, now watch the video.

The drill is simple enough -- place a tee or something else beside the ball, flip the club upside down and try to hit the tee with the end of the handle -- but it will probably drive you nuts at first. Don't swing flat out when you try it! Make shorter swings, then gradually lengthen them until you're making full swings. After that, you can try to swing faster.

What this drill does is help you get used to seeing the end of the shaft pass between you and the ball when you hit the ball.

And for those of you who hit the ball off the toe of the club, this drill might help you as well. If you get used to seeing the end of the shaft passing close to the ball at impact, it might help you stop toeing your shots.

This may all sound a bit silly to you, but I've come to realize that many golf problems are really perception problems. We have faulty ideas about what we're trying to do but, since we don't realize the ideas are wrong, we keep making the same mistake over and over without ever knowing the reason why.

This drill is about correcting a wrong perception and if you find out you need it, there's no reason to be embarrassed. We all have these kinds of problems -- and not just when it comes to golf.

The only real embarrassment is in not taking steps to correct perception problems because we don't take them seriously. 'Nuff said.

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