If you play golf, you are a ball striker. Even if you aren’t on the level of ball-striking legends like Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Ben Hogan, or Rory McIlroy, improving your ball striking is key to a good golf game.
Even the best ball strikers don’t hit the ball perfectly every time, but their consistency is extraordinary — and their scores reflect it. If you are looking to improve your ball striking, read on to learn more about the importance of ball striking and the best drills to improve your ball striking.
What Is Golf Ball Striking?
In simple terms, “ball striking” refers to the full swing of a golfer.
If you’re watching a golf tournament on tv, you may hear a player referred to as a “pro ball striker”. This means the pro can contact the clubface consistently and with impressive accuracy, shot after shot. These great ball strikers rarely make contact on the toe or heel of the clubface, instead hitting the same spot again and again.
Characteristics of a good ball striker include:
- Being in control of the ball and able to “work it” (moving it left, right, up, down or producing a particular amount of draw or fade) — essentially, the ability to make the ball do exactly what a player wants it to do
- Solid contact upon impact, every time (or almost every time)
- Consistent and accurate impact with full swings (irons, hybrids, woods)
- The ability to confidently place the clubface exactly where you want it at impact, over and over
- Putting the ball where you want it to go, swing after swing
Why Good Ball Striking Will Improve Your Scores
At times, you can make up for poor ball striking with a great short game. Still, improving your ball striking skill can transform your golf game and can lead to:
- Increased consistency
- More spin on shots
- Increased control
- Increased confidence in your overall game
- The ability to perform, even for high-pressure shots
Drills To Improve Ball Striking
You’ve probably worked on your grip, shot shaping, or improving your short game…. but have you worked on your ball striking? Making solid, consistent contact with the ball and knowing how to make it do what you want are two keys to a successful golf game.
Here are some great drills for improving your ball striking to get cleaner and more consistent shots. When performing these drills, focus on increasing self-awareness and being mindful of your swing and form.
The Step Ball Striking Drill
Intent: Promote muscle memory and work on the hips before arms approach
- Set up your golf ball, standing with feet together
- Position your lead leg so it is about a foot behind your other leg
- At the height of your backswing, step and use your front foot to push down as you bring the swing through
- Be mindful of the shift of your weight as it transitions from your back foot to your front foot as the swing comes through
Inside Path Ball Striking Drill
Intent: Refine your swing path to ensure you are not hitting the corner or the top of the ball
- Place a club on the ground, positioning the club in front of your left foot
- Make sure the club is pointing down your target line
- Ask a friend to step on the clubhead, forcing the shaft to come up slightly
- Take some swings, being sure to not hit the shaft
- Feel like you are coming from the inside instead of the top? Try the drill again but position the club near your right foot this time
Forward Hands Ball Striking Drill
Intent: Mimic the swing of pros such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson who almost always have their top hand a little bit ahead of the ball upon contact
- Place an alignment stick on the ground
- Position your club in the middle of the alignment stick
- Do your regular backswing
- Once you come into your downswing, work on slowing it down
- Upon contact, make sure your body is positioned so that your top hand is slightly ahead of the clubface
Rotation Ball Striking Drill
Intent: This rotational drill can help you use your hips to lead your hands (your belly button should get to your target before your hands) and make sure your swing sequence and rotation are correct; use right-side bend to generate better contact and increased power
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a club across your shoulders
- Rotate your shoulders, pretending you are doing a backswing (maintain your right side bend)
- Pay attention to the way your weight is pressed to the ground
- Rotate your shoulders forward, imagining you are beginning your downswing
- Make a priority to push through the ball
- Follow the swing through with your feet
- Repeat for a total of at least 150 reps a day
Looking for More Tips to Transform Your Golf Game?
Working on your ball striking is just as important to your golf game as grip and shot shaping. While it can take a great deal of time and practice to improve your ball striking, the results can impact your entire game. You can use everything from a towel to alignment sticks or even a golf head covers to help you align yourself.
If you would like more golf tips or are interested in personlised lessons, I offer a range of options, including Online Golf Coaching, my Online Golf Academy, and private golf lessons. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or for help deciding which golf lessons would be ideal for you. Together, we can improve your skills, lower your scores, and transform your golf game.