Proper Impact Position Is a Handy Thing to Learn

What impact is your impact position having on your game?

If you take a little time to make sure your impact position — or moment of truth, as it’s often considered — is correct, you can improve your short game, pitching and iron play all in one big swoop. All three shots require the same impact to hit a good shot.

There’s a big difference between how better players get to impact versus how higher handicappers get to impact.

Better players get there with their hands by their left leg, lead wrist flat and trailing wrist bent (if golfing right-handed). This allows the loft of the club to get the ball in the air and for a solid strike when hitting the center of the club face.

Higher handicappers will get to impact with their hands closer to their zipper, lead wrist bent and trailing wrist flat. Their hands basically slow down, allowing the club head to keep moving. This results in a loss of power, hitting the turf first before the ball and/or thin shots, where the leading edge of the club hits halfway up the ball and shots feel hard and fly uncontrollably. All not good.

Now before you go practice this, it’s important you start with small swings and swing in a manner where your hands and arms have no tension through impact and release during follow-through. This impact position is a snapshot in a thousand-frame movie.

I like to practice impact with a chip shot, where the club head barely gets waist high on the backswing. Also, the speed of my swing is a small fraction of my total power, and that results in a follow-through that’s no higher than waist-high.

As I swing the club back and then change the direction of my hands toward impact, I like to feel the club head still traveling slightly back on the backswing. The club head will now feel light, like it has no weight, and this sets the bent angle in my right, or trail, wrist.

With the trail wrist now bent and lead wrist flat, maintain these angles by using body rotation to accelerate your hands and club through impact while releasing the club to your finish.

Deliver your club to impact correctly, and you’ll feel more solid shots and perhaps impact lower scores.

Peter Harris is the director of Golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column appears weekly in the Recreation page during the golf season.