Correct Impact Conditions – Key to Consistent Contact!

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Ever wonder how to consistently achieve a divot in front of the golf ball?  All Tour pros hit the ball first and the ground second, with many amateurs doing just the opposite. 

Applying the entire golf club into the ball properly will make you a better ball striker. Tour pros, some more than others, all have the shaft leaning forward. (Pic #1) Most amateurs have the shaft leaning backwards. (Pic #2).  Backward shaft lean adds loft to the face. The result…a shorter, less solid golf shot.

Here is a simple drill to improve. Tee up a ball no more than 1 inch off the ground. Place a 2 X 4 approximately a foot behind the ball. This drill will accomplish a few things. First, it will force you to assemble your hands correctly on the back swing. This creates angle or “lag” in the golf swing.  

From here, slowly swing the golf club down into the golf ball without hitting the board. If you hit the board, you have lost the desired angle into the golf ball and your club head will reach its bottom too early. When missing the board, you will experience that elusive sensation of compressing the golf ball. You will also find the divot will, yes indeed, occur in front of the ball.  I would recommend practicing this drill for the rest of your golfing career. It will only help!

John Stahlschmidt is the Head Instructor for the TOUR Academy at the TPC Scottsdale. To comment or to schedule a lesson, email John at