If you're an amateur golfer, you know that there is nothing more frustrating than taking a swing and hitting behind the golf ball!
This shot type is weak and will leave you short of the target if you hit the ground before the ball.
You'll take a huge divot during such a shot, As you won't hit the ball on the face as you should, results will be unpredictable. If you find yourself struggling with this issue, you know how frustrating it can be.
Everyone who is starting with playing golf would always have opportunities and problems. These are expected, and these mistakes are always the best teachers in helping you improve your gameplay. These opportunities can help you learn how to be precise in hitting the center of your ball, improving your swing, and controlling your game.
Hitting behind the golf ball is a mistake that can impact your game. It can either be an advantage and a missed swing for you. This mistake is usually caused by the ball's poor positioning, your early release during the swing, and unnecessary hip and head movements.
Hitting your golf ball from behind is one of the most common problems by every golfer, especially high handicappers. If you are faced with this golfing dilemma, don't get frustrated because you are not alone. Note that even expert golfers have this boo-boo once in a while. Your ultimate goal is not to do it all together but do it less frequently.
Reasons Why You Hit Behind the Ball
To adjust your golf approach, you must understand what’s causing you to hit behind the golf ball. Once you know these reasons, you can make the necessary remedy to lessen your missed hits.
Here are the common culprits:
It is not enough that you have a golf ball to hit when playing. You must check if it is in the right position. Golf balls in incorrect positions could be a reason why you hit the golf ball behind.
Always be conscious of where you put the ball when in your golf stance. If you want to get iron shots in the air, position the ball in your center stance.
If you’re using a shorter club, move the ball further back. If you’re trying to hit the ball with a driver golf club, align the ball with your front instep. If you’re using a fairway woods golf club, you can position the ball a further back.
Flipping the Hands Before the Ball
The early release, or “flip,” is a major golf swing killer. It causes you to hit behind your golf ball. It also removes the advantage of distance and power.
To reduce the flip, you need to get control of your hands leading at impact by always ensuring that you stay centered. Put your weight forward upon impact. Leading with your hands is challenging if your weight is resting on your back foot.
After changing your swing direction and where you put in your weight, start practicing wedge shots. The practice will help stop your hands from doing an untimely flipping. You can do this by taking a pitching wedge or sand and create some ½ to ¾ practice swings.
The goal of this little exercise is for you to feel your clubhead as it works down and hits the ground. This is precisely where your golf ball is.
Once you are confident about managing your hands and how the club hits the ground, incorporate a golf ball, and do some shots. You should make solid contact as you swing your club, hit the ball, and eventually the ground.
Move up and do full swings instead of half and quarter ones, but the feel of your hands should remain the same regardless of whether your swing goes full circle.
Hip and Head Movement
The next reason you hit behind the golf ball is how your body moves while swinging the club.
Most of the newbies usually let their heads go forward while doing their downswing. When your head is forward, it makes your body weight shift erroneously, modifying your position over your golf ball even before your golf club makes contact, thus hitting the ground.
You’d experience the same negative result when you start rotating your hips before and while the club is making contact with the golf ball.
Always remember that while swinging the club, your head should remain in place over the golf ball. At the same time, ensure that the movement in your lower body is at minimum to zero before the impact happens.
Drills to Prevent You from Hitting Behind the Golf Ball
Making minor changes, particularly to your setup or swing, can reduce your misses.
Here are some proven and highly recommended drills to help you stop hitting behind the ball:
Spot-on Weight Allocation
Managing your weight is a significant factor that impacts your swing. You need to continuously improve in managing weight so you can drop your handicap.
When doing your backswing, shift much of your weight to the back of your foot. When you next do a downswing, lean the weight back forwards and return to how you first distributed your weight when your club hit the ball.
To achieve a smooth and confident shot, be consistent in how you lean your weight forward at the point of contact and how you end with much of your weight shifted on the front of your foot.
Remember, the way you reallocate your weight affects your shot.
When your weight is centered, you get the standard shot expected from your golf club type. When your weight is forward, you de-loft your club and your attack gets a high angle. When you focus your weight at the back, you de-loft your club more than most and you tend to swing under the ball.
By knowing where to put your weight, you can make the needed modifications on your swing and have good control when striking your ball.
It gets a little tricky at the start because your focus is on the tee-off and getting that club to hit and swing your ball’s center. But take a few seconds to feel where your weight is and learn to make adjustments, so you can avoid hitting behind the golf ball.
Once you have found the best methodology to lock in your weight, focus on body movements during the shot. This usually goes unnoticed because at this point, you tend to pay all your attention to where the golf ball lands.
Typical golfers usually make the mistake of letting their upper body slide during a swing. Instead of doing this, try to spin around your body’s center and keep your chest looking down at the ball in the same location.
You will soon discover that sliding and swaying movement will hamper your swing. This movement throws you off balance, thus impacting your strike. By correcting how you rotate your body, you can have a good and accurate swing path — one where you can be sure to hit the ball, not the ground.
This is the starting point of your shot. You must get it right because your setup can make or break the rest of your play.
Your setup should be consistent for every shot type, regardless if you are on the fairway, rough, or tee. You can approach all three similarly, except for the ball positioning of your fairway woods, driver, or long irons.
One of the practical ways for you to practice golf is to work on your setup continuously when you are in the driving range. Several ways to practice a setup that you can consider as best practice include:
Put your club across your toes to help with the alignment. Doing so will provide you with an excellent reference point, so you will know where you need to place your golf ball.
You can challenge yourself further by putting in two clubs and making them form a cross shape. Then stand with your toes against the horizontal line. Put the ball on top of the vertical line. This will provide you with confidence that you will always hit the ball from the very same spot all the time.
Overall, hitting behind the ball is a challenge that all golfers of varying skill levels go through and must overcome. It is part of growing up and improving on this outdoor sport.
By understanding the root causes of why you tend to hit behind the golf ball, you can make adjustments to how you do your swing. You can focus on distributing your weight properly, setting up your shot properly, and practicing good rotation can help you minimize this golf slip-up.
It can be difficult not to put all your attention on the swing. But you have to make an effort to notice the little things. Do all these and soon enough, you’ll stop hitting behind the ball.
How did you solve the problem of hitting behind the ball?
Please share in the comments below: