There's a magical feeling in hitting it perfectly off the sweet spot. No jerks and vibrations, just that buttery smooth feeling as the ball soars effortlessly towards the target.
Yes, one more enticing fascination of this sport that draws participants again and again. Once the sensation has been felt, you are as good as hooked. The reality is nobody hits the ball off the sweet spot with a square clubface on every shot. Even hitting half your shots this way is an unrealised dream for most.
Squaring the clubface at impact and hitting the ball straighter is arguably the hardest aspect of the game. When you look at the mechanics of a golf swing, it appears almost impossible to achieve. That's especially true with the lower lofted (longer) clubs.
The shorter, higher lofted clubs compensate for a wrong swing path and non-square clubface. That's why many club golfers can hit their short irons to reasonably good standards but fail miserably to do the same with longer irons and the woods.
How is it possible to accomplish this with all those unnatural twists and turns the body takes when swinging the club? An essential part of the sport and a hard one to master, this skill can be learnt. The idea to start with, is to find a way to do it often enough to make a marked impact on your game. For this, you need to be aware of the fundamentals that will lead to such a scenario.
Most recreational golfers believe in squaring the clubface by uncocking their wrists at impact. Yes, this is essential and part of the process but one must realise that it is a result of other factors and not something consciously concentrated on. The two essential components leading to this are: The body turning through the shot and the forearms rotating.
Uncocking the wrists is the final step. It is a natural reaction to the uncoiling of the body and the momentum of the swing, provided that a reasonably good down swing path has been attained. If the swing path is too far inside or outside the target line, the wrists won't uncock correctly.
If the body turns through the impact area, the hands have a natural chance to remain square. If the body is not turning, it leads to an inconsistent swing path and a conscious manipulation of the hands in trying to square the clubface.
To get the feeling of a proper turn through the hitting area, get on the green and try small swings by rotating your body. If you do this often, it will become a habit leading to consistent shot making. Allow your professional instructor to get you started and you can be sure your ball is going to be flying towards the target more often.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Golf Director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]