The number-one fundamental that all great ballstrikers know is critical for hitting better shots is centeredness of contact. How you contact the ball with the clubhead will affect spin, launch angle, distance, curve and also your perception of what happened in your golf swing. And as you might guess, hitting the center of the face is what you want.
I have a great drill that I like to use to improve my centeredness of contact. All you need for this drill is a Sharpie and two golf balls. First, draw a big dot on your golf ball so that when you impact the golf ball, you'll be able to see where you hit it on the clubface. And here's a little trick: If you're trying this on a driving range, use a dry-erase marker. It works well, and the range ball won't get damaged or marked up.
Hit a few balls with a big round dot behind the ball, and in a short while, you'll quickly be able to see if you tend to hit the ball too much on the toe or on the heel. If you're missing on the toe, put two balls on the ground about three inches from each other, with the golf ball that has the dot on it being the ball that's farther from you. Typically, the cause of the toe shot is from bringing the club into impact with your hands and arms too close to your body. So, in this drill, you'll address ball #1 (the ball closer to you) and then swing the club back and hit ball #2 (the ball farther from you). This will cause you to feel your hands and arms extending through impact and get you to feel the necessary move to find the sweet spot of the clubface.
Now, if you tend to hit the ball too much in the heel, put the two balls on the ground and do the opposite. Set up for the outside of the ball, but hit the inside of the ball. This will help you avoid hits by the hole.
The goal is to groove a better impact position so the ball and clubface make contact closer to the center of the clubface. As you do this drill, whether it's fixing heel or toe hits, try not to fixate on results, but instead, pay attention to how the club feels. In no time, this simple and fun drill will have you improving your impact and hitting more solid golf shots.
Justin Klemballa, PGA, is the director of instruction at the Jim McLean Golf School at Sunridge Canyon in Scottsdale, Ariz. To get more information, visit sunridgegolf.com.