Last week I was playing a round with some low handicappers when I became mesmerized by the distinctive sound of a golf ball leaving the clubface of an excellent ball striker.

It was like a cannon ball being fired. It’s a very different sound, accompanied by a penetrating low ballflight.

They seem to be in total control. How are they doing it?

The more I observed them, the more I realized they were doing a few key things a lot better than the average medium-to-high handicapper, and it was all linked to their impact position.

The 4 conditions for Immaculate Impact

Here's what their impact position looked like:

  1. Hips open
  2. Weight on their front side
  3. Shaft leaning forward
  4. Hands ahead of the golf ball

In this article and the next I’m providing some tips related to the first two conditions.

How NOT to do it (believe me, I’ve been there)

We want our weight to be forward and our hips to be open. This will allow our arms to take over and will ensure we can achieve a slightly descending strike.

Here’s how NOT to achieve this:

  1. DO NOT focus on turning your hips at the start of the downswing. If you do, you will likely turn both your hips and shoulders. This will result in your clubhead moving on an “out-to-in” path. You are casting your club over your shoulder. The path your clubhead is on now will produce a pull or a fade/slice. More often than not you’ll see that you’ll pull your short irons and slice your driver.
  2. DO NOT use your back foot (right foot for a right-handed player) to “pivot” to open your hips. If you find that the heel of your back foot leaves the ground during transition and down swing, you’re likely “pivoting”. This will result in the same issues discussed in point 1.
  3. DO NOT focus on shifting weight to the left. Consciously shifting your weight to the left will likely result in a steep swing. To increase your chances of consistently hitting the ball right, we really want a shallow angle of attack. That’s because a steep swing will result in poor results when we hit slightly more in front of the ball than intended. It will result in a “fat” contact. A shallow angle of attack, on the other hand, ensures we have a larger “flat zone” where contact with the ball results in an ok ball flight.

The sequence to get it right

In the image above the magenta lines indicate how Rory uses his right leg and knee to push forward and rotate. The green line shows how much his lead hip moves toward the target.

So, here are the seven steps to get to an Immaculate Impact position

  1. Avoid swaying during take away and back swing
  2. Move your weight to the right during the back swing
  3. Use the inside of your back foot to put pressure on the ground at the end of your back swing. Allow your leg to bend. Let the knee of your back leg move slightly inwards (towards the target). You are putting pressure on the ground effectively pushing your lower body towards the target.
  4. By bending your knee, you should feel that your back hip has automatically lowered slightly as you shift towards the target.
  5. Now add pressure on the heel of your front foot (left foot for right-handed player). By applying pressure on your back inner foot and your front heel simultaneously you will allow your left knee to start turning outward.  You should notice that this automatically opens your hips! Use this pressure.
  6. Using this sequence (pressure on foot, hips slide, back knee/leg stretches out), you have moved your weight left automatically.
  7. Also, by doing this, you have “separated” your lower body and upper body (from the hips up) movements. Indeed, you should feel that you are now able to move your hips separately from your shoulders (at the end of the sequence, i.e. with the back leg stretched out).

Leading with the Hands

This should get your body in a much better position. Let me know if that worked for you too in the comments below!

All we have to do now is make sure our hands are leading and the shaft is leaning forward. In my next article I’ll discuss how to achieve just that.