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Friday, November 29, 2019

Ernie Els on Solid Ball Striking (Video)

With the Alfred Dunhill Championship being played in South Africa this week, I thought a tip from Ernie Els would be appropriate.

Ernie sums up his approach as 'finishing his backswing', a term I'm sure you've all heard. Not all players define it the same way though, so let's see how Ernie describes it. Since he's talking about a mid-iron here, we'll consider this an accurate description of how he plays mid- and short irons.

First, Ernie says he has a tendency to move the ball too far forward in his stance with these clubs, so he moves it back more toward the center of his stance. He doesn't really say but I guess that when he gets the ball too far forward he either hits the ground first or hits the ball thin.

Second, he makes sure he completes his backswing. He defines this as getting his lead shoulder behind the ball when he's at the top of his backswing. This ensures that he gets a full shoulder coil of 90° or so.

It's important to note that he doesn't sway away from the target when he does this. For those of you who aren't as flexible as Ernie, avoiding a sway may mean you don't get your lead shoulder turned as much as he does. If you can just get your lead shoulder over the ball, you will still have gotten a really good shoulder coil.

Finally, notice that Ernie describes his downward move as simply 'dropping into the slot'. He doesn't lunge at the ball from the top. Rather, he just lets his body fall back into his address position -- it's almost as if he had jumped up in the air and fell back to the ground, landing with his weight pretty evenly on both feet. This will cause him to both start unwinding his shoulders and transfer his weight slightly onto his lead foot without really thinking about it. Anytime you can get your body to do the correct things automatically will improve your consistency!

This sounds very simple but it has made Ernie one of the best ball strikers in the game for decades. It's a move you can learn a lot from.

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