Impact…The Moment of Truth

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Many things can go right or wrong during the golf swing, but the only thing the ball responds to is what’s happening at IMPACT. The goal at impact is to achieve forward lean of the shaft with a consistent clubface angle. The forward lean of the shaft ensures that the club head is both accelerating and descending through impact, while the consistent clubface angle will produce a repeated ball flight. This ultimately allows the player to squarely compress the golf ball against the clubface, transferring the speed of the accelerating club head to the ball. If you can consistently get this position right, you will be a solid striker of the golf ball. 

Watch the PGA Tour pros and you’ll see different ways to take the club back, start it down, and follow through. But with virtually every player, the IMPACT position looks the same.

To become a better ball striker, it is very important to realize that impact is more of a reaction than an action. If all of your basics: grip, posture, alignment and ball position have been mastered, the club has a much better chance of returning back to the ball on plane with forward lean to the shaft and a square club face. 

Set up face Photo #1
Upper body behind the golf ball (head); Weight 55% or so on the back foot at address; Middle iron (8) ball position in the center; Feet slightly narrower than shoulder width; Arms relaxed; Left hip slightly higher than the right hip; Right shoe relatively square and Left shoe slightly open.

Impact face Photo #2
Head is behind the ball; Hips 20-40 degrees open; Shoulders 0-10 degrees open; Approximately 70% of the weight on the front foot; Left wrist is flat; Air under the right heel; Left leg braced and Arms are starting to fully extend.

Impact Target line Photo #3
Spine Angle same as address; Left leg is braced for the hit; Right heel slightly off the ground; Arms are relatively straight and in line with one another; Club shaft returns approximately to the same plane as address and Hips 20-40 degrees open.

Results of Solid Impact:
Being in a great impact position is a bi-product of having solid fundamentals. As a golfer, you will always do what is necessary (right or wrong) to hit the ball at a given target. Our main objective is to deliver the clubface square at impact. That gives us the optimum distance regardless of the club that we are hitting. To perfect impact, I highly recommend hitting waist high shots with a waist high follow-through. If you feel your contact is what you are looking for, then you can take the swing into a ¾ motion back and through. If for what ever reason the ball striking becomes inconsistent, go back to a waist high motion back and through. Remember, all the ball knows is what is happening at IMPACT.

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine TOP 100 Teacher since 1997. Teaches full time at McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale. To get more information on lessons, visit To contact Scott personally, e-mail him at