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Strike Awareness in Golf

Many golfers often misunderstand the process of developing their skills in face control and strike awareness. When faced with a few poor shots during a round, it can be tempting to make radical swing changes. However, are there any techniques or "cheat codes" that can help us navigate rough patches during a round?

Improving your strike awareness is crucial. It's astonishing how frequently, during a golf lesson, I encounter golfers who are consistently hitting the ball off the toe but believe they are striking it correctly. Enhancing your awareness of strike location not only helps eliminate mis-hits like shanks but also improves overall ball striking. Misdiagnosing the point of contact can lead to misguided attempts at improvement.

To enhance your awareness, it is important to align the patterns correctly. Applying face tape or foot spray is a good starting point to determine where you are striking the ball. The sound produced by the strike differs depending on whether it's from the centre, heel, or toe, providing valuable feedback for improving awareness. Additionally, observing the ball flight can reveal distinctive characteristics. For instance, a heel strike tends to result in a left-to-right spin axis, while a toe strike produces the opposite effect. It's worth noting that misalignments between the face and swing path can affect these outcomes.

Purposefully attempting to strike different areas of the clubface can help you develop awareness of the sweet spot and enhance overall ball striking. Furthermore, the forgiving nature of modern equipment sometimes makes it difficult to discern which part of the club the ball is coming off. Using an older, less forgiving iron can assist in improving strike awareness.

Learning to find the centre of the clubface will improve your distance and accuracy on the golf course. Find out how!
The strike zone

Face control plays a significant role in determining the ball's trajectory, assuming you're not consistently hitting from the hosel. Now that you have honed your strike awareness, you understand that the face is the primary factor responsible for where the ball starts. With a driver, the clubface contributes around 85% to the ball's starting direction, and with an iron, it's about 75%. It's common for golfers to focus on fixing other aspects of their swing before addressing face control.

One enjoyable and playful approach to improving face control is attempting to hit different shot shapes with varying degrees of curvature. Experimenting with big slices, hooks, and shots with a neutral trajectory can have a significant impact. Initially, the results might be erratic, especially if your skills are still developing, so don't expect pinpoint accuracy. Although your performance may not be optimal, the learning experience will be valuable.

Using a launch monitor sparingly can also help improve face control. By guessing the clubface angle at impact before seeing the data, you can enhance your internal feedback and self-correction abilities. Additionally, a simple exercise without the ball involves swinging the club while closing and opening the face, simulating impact and feeling the differences. You can even try doing this exercise with your eyes closed to further enhance your kinaesthetic awareness.

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