Scrolling through my twitter feed this week, I came across this awesome visual from Erik Henrikson – director of innovation and testing at Ping. Press the play button on this image below.
Scrolling through my twitter feed this week, I came across this awesome visual from Erik Henrikson – director of innovation and testing at Ping. Click on the Tweet below:
Some animated data viz fun on a Saturday night ... pic.twitter.com/yVsW3cbO8s
— Erik Henrikson (@Ehenrik) 9. září 2018
It looks at the difference between a pro, scratch, 10 and 20 handicap strike patterns.
Thanks to Erik for allowing me to use these images – give him a follow on twitter.
Stating The Obvious
While it’s kinda obvious – pros are better at striking closer to the sweet spot and with more consistency than amateurs – I thought it was a neat visual.
Also, while most golfers are searching for “the swing secret”, they often forget fundamental skills like striking the sweet spot.
Trust me – you are not going to find a sweet spot strike at the top of your backswing.
It doesn’t matter how good your position is at the top – it guarantees nothing regarding strike quality.
The Importance Of Strike
Why does strike relate so strongly to ability?
Well, when we consider that a good strike quality;
- Increases ball speed – resulting in more distance
- Optimizes spin rate and launch angle – resulting in more distance
- Makes launch direction more consistent
- Reduces gear effect, which makes direction more consistent
- Makes the shot feel nicer, which makes you smile inside – especially as your ball sails past your buddy’s
we can see how important strike quality and consistency is.
I see the same patterns every day io the lesson tee. I also see another type of pattern from poorer golfers – one which wasn’t represented in the tweet.
I see a pattern where a player is actually very consistent – usually to about a scratch level. However, they are consistently poor.
You could say that these two patterns are consistent (to a scratch level) but in a poor location.
A Tale Of Two Skills
Really, we have two potential issues here;
- One of location
- One of consistency
When we have a location issue (player is consistently hitting from the toe, for example), simply becoming aware of the pattern can be enough to start the change in action. I use foot spray to help players identify their patterns.
If this doesn’t change the pattern, the player will need tools to improve their ability to move the strike around the face. The most powerful thing I have found for this is the use of differential practice drills.
These are drills which utilize skills you wouldn’t normally use during the course of normal play – such as intentionally hitting different parts of the clubface. They are incredible at improving a player’s control long-term.
However, when a player has a good location (centered on average) but poor consistency issue (strike is across the board), I have found variability drills to be highly effective. These are where you try to do your desired strike but from different starting locations.