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Hit the ball vs send it to the target


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Funny you should post this.  I have been doing the same thing; to the point that I commented to my wife that I was just batting the ball around the course.  Two days ago, I started taking my backswing to just left arm parallel with a 90º angle on the club and then rotating a fast as I can to a finish.  The result is much more solid strikes.  I do 4-5 of those swings, then 9-10 regular swings; rinse and repeat. 

I'm getting much more wrist hinge, but along with that are sore wrists!!  I hope that if I keep doing it, the soreness will subside as my wrists get stronger.  I have never been called a "wristy" player; Stricker uses more wrists than I do.  Hopefully, that will change a little with this drill.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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I had the hit impulse for a LONG time because I was so ball focused. It took a while but now I always have the target in my mind when I swing. I’m only thinking about where I want the ball to go and the flight I hope it takes. I also think about my finish position too and just getting there and having the ball be in the way. Makes a very big difference when you get it engrained. 

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This is exactly what I've been doing lately.  Focus is on just getting to the finish and holding it.  Only way to do that is to let the swing go and take the hit out of the equation.

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This is a personal observation from this week.  Bought Garmin R10 launch monitor, setup in yard with net etc.  Very good for videotaping and a set of stats. However this week realized that the game of golf is hitting to targets not a net.  So not a full replacement for practice with focus on real target.   And yes all practice shot and real golf shot  should be with focus on target.  Also at times chipping with spin have gotten so focused on technique that ended up with poor alignment.                     

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16 hours ago, GrumpyGolf said:

I have heard the 'just let the ball get in the way of the club' axiom many times, but it never seemed to click.  This however, will make my life easier.  With a lot of practice and patience that is.

One characteristic of a really good instructor is the ability to explain a concept in a variety of different ways.  Our brains all work differently, so a feel or image that works for me may not work for you.  Luckily for you, you ran into a guy who used an image that works for you.  Congratulations!  If he teaches in addition to fitting for Edel, you might consider seeing him for lessons if the need arises.

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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

One characteristic of a really good instructor is the ability to explain a concept in a variety of different ways.  Our brains all work differently, so a feel or image that works for me may not work for you. 

Yes, so true! Good *two way* communication is key to good learning.

...

18 hours ago, GrumpyGolf said:

have heard the 'just let the ball get in the way of the club' axiom many times, but it never seemed to click.  This however, will make my life easier.  With a lot of practice and patience that is.

In other threads @chisag has described the difference between a "hitter" vs a "swinger" (..of the golf club!) - a lot of recreational players .. including myself .. are hitters as they/we are focused on smacking the back of the ball with the club head...

Through lessons and practice I'm trying to evolve my technique to become more of a swinger (..of the golf club!) and also re-train my focus to be more "external" on the target.

Work in progress!

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I definitely find myself just hitting the ball more than swinging for the target. I got matched up with a gentleman a couple of weeks ago that would consistently tell himself to “watch the target” right before he would swing. Beautiful shots. Ever since then , I’ve been trying to do similar to keep my focus on the target and not on the ball. It seems to help. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
31 minutes ago, Goober said:

Maybe off topic. But what is the difference between someone who is a swinger of the club. Versus someone who is more a hitter? Wouldn’t golfers be more of both. And maybe error more on the side of swinging a golf club. Versus lashing at the ball 

Ill direct you to the last discussion on that topic 😁

Basically no one really seems to have a single answer and it varies based on who you ask.    

 

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53 minutes ago, cnosil said:

Ill direct you to the last discussion on that topic 😁

Basically no one really seems to have a single answer and it varies based on who you ask.    

 

Thanks for that. Since the beginning of time I’ve heard two statements. “ just hit the ball” “ or ..put a nice swing on it” . I guess it depends what ones demeanor is that day. More I research golf swing or golf hit or whatever online. The more I tend to read some quacky junk. And then some get so vocal and almost cult like about what camp they are in. Some seem to just get trapped in it. Others from other camps get butt hurt. It’s quiet odd really . And down right disturbing 

should be ball , club , bottom of cup in as few shots as possible. No matter what theory or doctrine you follow 

It always seems like it is the ones who post on these who think they know .. or than you have fan boys … or then you have the ones who enjoy shaking up the hornets nest. Or ones who berate others so much online that they are almost crossing into the lines of legal defamation of character. All for a ball and a stick. Unreal 

Edited by Goober
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On 5/25/2022 at 9:41 PM, Kenny B said:

Funny you should post this.  I have been doing the same thing; to the point that I commented to my wife that I was just batting the ball around the course.  Two days ago, I started taking my backswing to just left arm parallel with a 90º angle on the club and then rotating a fast as I can to a finish.  The result is much more solid strikes.  I do 4-5 of those swings, then 9-10 regular swings; rinse and repeat. 

I'm getting much more wrist hinge, but along with that are sore wrists!!  I hope that if I keep doing it, the soreness will subside as my wrists get stronger.  I have never been called a "wristy" player; Stricker uses more wrists than I do.  Hopefully, that will change a little with this drill.

try doing the same thing you are doing but with an early wrist pre-set like Faldo

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9 minutes ago, Golfnut0226 said:

try doing the same thing you are doing but with an early wrist pre-set like Faldo

That's what I am doing; getting full wrist hinge before I get to left arm parallel.  Previously, with the stoopid one-piece takeaway I spent years doing,  I never got full wrist hinge and left arm parallel and I never got it at top of my backswing either.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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On 5/25/2022 at 9:09 PM, GrumpyGolf said:

Ok, so this is a follow up to info I had posted in my fitting for the Edel wedges.  While I was taking my swings, the fitter asked me a simple question, was I trying to hit the ball or was I trying to get it to the target.  I thought for a moment and answered honestly that I was trying to hit the ball.  He said that was my problem. 

At this point seeing my confusion, he stepped in front of me placed his arm straight out between us with the back of his hand toward the video screen.  He then told me to hit the palm of his hand with my right hand.  I did, I just hit his hand, kinda like a side ways high five. No follow through just a slap on the palm.  He then told me to hit his hand to send it towards the target on the screen.  Much different! I slapped it and followed through to drive it towards the screen.

When he pointed out what happened, it was one of those 'get the f___ out of here' moments. I spent the rest of the session swinging through the ball instead of trying to hit the ball.  

I have heard the 'just let the ball get in the way of the club' axiom many times, but it never seemed to click.  This however, will make my life easier.  With a lot of practice and patience that is.

I had a similar experience in the one lesson I took last summer.  The pro asked me to warm up with my 6 iron, then after 10 or so whacks had me aim at a pole in the middle of the range.  You would have thought I never picked up a club before.  Still not there with hitting to the target, but definitely something I know I should pick up again

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47 minutes ago, ForeRightAgain said:

I had a similar experience in the one lesson I took last summer.  The pro asked me to warm up with my 6 iron, then after 10 or so whacks had me aim at a pole in the middle of the range.  You would have thought I never picked up a club before.  Still not there with hitting to the target, but definitely something I know I should pick up again

Sage advice.  I heard that using a ping pong paddle achieves the same affect

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Watching my kids (11 and 8 years old) I noticed that they were swinging "at" the ball.  Now, as I help them set up to the ball, the last thing I say to them is "don't swing at the ball, swing through the ball".  That thought really smooths their swing and gets them thinking about sending it toward their target.

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18 hours ago, Goober said:

Maybe off topic. But what is the difference between someone who is a swinger of the club. Versus someone who is more a hitter? Wouldn’t golfers be more of both. And maybe error more on the side of swinging a golf club. Versus lashing at the ball 

If you look at my last post in that previous thread about 'What is the difference of Hitter vs Swinger' (see copy below) it was based on my poor knowledge of the swing without any idea of the forces/torques being used.  I was doing a best guess based on whatever knowledge I had learned (in 2018)  using opinion/qualitative based theories from TGM  and some inaccurate terms like 'Centrifugal Force' from golf scientists.

-------------------------------------

"Imho, a hit is predominantly a push . In TGM  terms , the swing is being powered predominantly with the straightening thrust action of the right arm (release of 'Power Accumulator PA1' - feels like a push on the handle) similar to the punch shot with hands leading the clubhead into impact.  Swinging is usually defined as a pulling action where CF forces get induced by the 'Law Of The Flail'  whereas hitting overrides that CF effect. The paradox here is all muscles in the human body pull  (ie. muscle 'contractions' shorten and stretch) so in theory the feel of a push is really a muscular pull ( you can find contradictions all over the place in golf theory if you look deeply enough).

I suspect in a real life golf action , there is a mix of both hitting and swinging, so maybe we are all 'swing-hitters' and maybe the categorisation of  a golf action being one or the other can get blurry. But I can imagine if you are a strong muscular bulky individual (especially in the upper body/shoulder area) who has problems creating a full range of upper pivot motion to 'swing'  the golf club, you may decide to use your 'shoulder girdle /triceps/biceps'  to 'hit'  power the golf swing."

----------------------------------------

Currently , after seeing these videos below by Dr Sasho MacKenzie , I have a more scientific based idea to categorise swinging vs hitting.

Swinging is using the 'eccentric' linear forces applied via the hands on the grip to create a 'Moment of Force'  (ie. torque) that will angularly accelerate the club.

Hitting is active muscular torque via the wrists to try and angularly accelerate the club.

I think there could be a bit of both in the golf swing if you look at the 2nd video below, but no-one can be absolutely certain what is happening until they are able to measure the forces/torques applied by each hand in the golf swing.

 

Edited by Wildthing
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21 hours ago, Goober said:

Since the beginning of time I’ve heard two statements. “ just hit the ball” “ or ..put a nice swing on it” .

I've heard these phrases as well.  But, I don't think "Just hit the ball" is meant to focus your attention on the ball.  When I've heard it, it means "quit over thinking everything, quit trying to manipulate the club and just swing away."  A/K/A, quit playing golf swing and start playing golf.  In that context, the two phrases aren't necessary contradictory.  

 

 

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43 minutes ago, alfriday101 said:

I've heard these phrases as well.  But, I don't think "Just hit the ball" is meant to focus your attention on the ball.  When I've heard it, it means "quit over thinking everything, quit trying to manipulate the club and just swing away."  A/K/A, quit playing golf swing and start playing golf.  In that context, the two phrases aren't necessary contradictory.  

 

 

True. But it seems online forum golf posters are complete 180 different then 99.99% other golf amateurs. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. Just the things you guys think about and discuss are literally light years of whatever I’ve imagined.

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5 hours ago, Wildthing said:

If you look at my last post in that previous thread about 'What is the difference of Hitter vs Swinger' (see copy below) it was based on my poor knowledge of the swing without any idea of the forces/torques being used.  I was doing a best guess based on whatever knowledge I had learned (in 2018)  using opinion/qualitative based theories from TGM  and some inaccurate terms like 'Centrifugal Force' from golf scientists.

-------------------------------------

"Imho, a hit is predominantly a push . In TGM  terms , the swing is being powered predominantly with the straightening thrust action of the right arm (release of 'Power Accumulator PA1' - feels like a push on the handle) similar to the punch shot with hands leading the clubhead into impact.  Swinging is usually defined as a pulling action where CF forces get induced by the 'Law Of The Flail'  whereas hitting overrides that CF effect. The paradox here is all muscles in the human body pull  (ie. muscle 'contractions' shorten and stretch) so in theory the feel of a push is really a muscular pull ( you can find contradictions all over the place in golf theory if you look deeply enough).

I suspect in a real life golf action , there is a mix of both hitting and swinging, so maybe we are all 'swing-hitters' and maybe the categorisation of  a golf action being one or the other can get blurry. But I can imagine if you are a strong muscular bulky individual (especially in the upper body/shoulder area) who has problems creating a full range of upper pivot motion to 'swing'  the golf club, you may decide to use your 'shoulder girdle /triceps/biceps'  to 'hit'  power the golf swing."

----------------------------------------

Currently , after seeing these videos below by Dr Sasho MacKenzie , I have a more scientific based idea to categorise swinging vs hitting.

Swinging is using the 'eccentric' linear forces applied via the hands on the grip to create a 'Moment of Force'  (ie. torque) that will angularly accelerate the club.

Hitting is active muscular torque via the wrists to try and angularly accelerate the club.

I think there could be a bit of both in the golf swing if you look at the 2nd video below, but no-one can be absolutely certain what is happening until they are able to measure the forces/torques applied by each hand in the golf swing.

 

Great post. You are a very rare bird to say the least. Here is a question..? Have you ever made it past a few holes with just one swing thought? I think developing rockets for nasa as a hobby might be up your alley 

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On 5/26/2022 at 10:16 AM, DaveP043 said:

One characteristic of a really good instructor is the ability to explain a concept in a variety of different ways.  Our brains all work differently, so a feel or image that works for me may not work for you.  Luckily for you, you ran into a guy who used an image that works for you.

 

... 👍 This was actually the cornerstone of my teaching and why I had such a good word of mouth following. Sometimes I would tell a student the same thing 5 different ways with zero success and then the 6th different way clicked for the student. One of my favorite students that stayed with me for 3 years asked after a suggestion finally clicked with him "Why didn't you just tell me that to begin with?" to which I replied "I did, at least 10 times in 10 different ways. You are just too stubborn to listen LOL" which I would not say to most students but we had a great relationship and I went on to say exactly what you stated above. Everyone processes information differently and it is my job to find the one that makes sense to you.

... I would add I think whether you are a hitter or a swinger is irrelevant as to where your attention should be focused when hitting a shot. The brain is an amazing organic computer and when you give it the information it needs to accomplish a task, it can be very good at doing just that. But like a computer it can only focus on one task at a time.  If your instruction is "hit the ball" or "make a good swing" that will be your brains focus and where/how far you hit the ball isn't part of the process. But if your instruction is make the ball travel 150 yards and straight at that flag on the green, that will be it's focus. What is important is it can accomplish the goal of hitting 150yds to a flag in a myriad of ways and exactly why better players, that say get the club stuck behind them on the downswing will rotate their hands quicker to save the shot from the inside out path with an open face. If your focus is on the swing or just hitting the ball, there is nothing to save as you are accomplishing your goal of making a swing or hitting a ball and a push or slice can be the result. 

... It is the reason so many fail when playing golf swing on the course and not playing golf. I was struggling yesterday to find a good rhythm with my swing but still had 3 birdies on the front. The shot that comes to mind is the #1 handicap hole, a 449 yd par 4 and after a decent drive I had 185 to the pin. I hit it very thin and it never got more than 10 feet in the air, traveled probably 100yds in the air and rolled 95 more yards leaving a 20 footer I made for birdie. The point is because my focus was on the target and not my swing, my club face was square to the target and even though I came up and out of the shot just a little, it was tracking the flag the entire way. ALWAYS be thinking target when you play any shot during a round of golf. Practice is for concentrating on your swing but the golf course is for hitting golf shots. 
 

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There seem to be several interpretations of the question. Some hitting the ball versus swinging through the ball. What I wonder…

…I have always “just hit the ball,” because I don’t grasp the concept of aiming during the swing. If I choose the right club, my stance is aimed at my target, repeat the correct swing path, and make good contact - I assume the ball will travel at the target. That said, I used to play tennis a lot, and unlike golf I always had a target foremost in mind with every shot - I was not just hitting the tennis ball. So I realize I might be missing the ability to translate the idea to golf…

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8 minutes ago, Middler said:

…I have always “just hit the ball,” because I don’t grasp the concept of aiming during the swing. If I choose the right club, my stance is aimed at my target, repeat the correct swing path, and make good contact - I assume the ball will travel at the target. That said, I used to play tennis a lot, and unlike golf I always had a target foremost in mind with every shot - I was not just hitting the tennis ball. So I realize I might be missing the ability to translate the idea to golf…

 

... I am sure you remember Annika Sorenstam looking up before she made contact with the ball and it got her into the Hall Of Fame. I used to do a drill where I would ask a student to underhand toss a ball into a big barrel at the driving range that was about 15 yards away. I would blindfold them after asking them to look at the target and get the distance in their mind, and then have them toss a range ball into the barrel. I would tell them if they were short/long or left/right and have them toss some more and hopefully get one in but clanging off the metal barrel was just as good. When they took the blindfold off I asked them if they were concentrating on the barrel or how they tossed the ball and I never had anyone answer anything but the barrel. 

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3 hours ago, Goober said:

Great post. You are a very rare bird to say the least. Here is a question..? Have you ever made it past a few holes with just one swing thought? I think developing rockets for nasa as a hobby might be up your alley 

The actual physics of the golf swing just gives me a good perception of what I must not try and practice to create clubhead speed. For me personally, swinging and hitting is more complicated to time than just swinging.  I also understand that if I try and 'hit' (as I defined in my previous post) with the trail hand to create a little extra speed it will require perfect timing about 70 msecs before impact (which is futile to even attempt) . If I 'hit' early , the clubhead speed will peak before impact and I'll probably end up flipping the club (not ideal) , whereas if I 'hit' late , the clubhead will reach peak speed after impact (also undesirable).

In my course game I never think about physics/biomechanics at all although it did help me last week when I quickly identified that I was using my trail arm/hand too dominantly in my driver swing.  My main thought at each hole is keeping a picture of where I want the ball to go , then creating a few perpetual practice swings to match that picture to help me replicate that same feel in my actual swing.

Edited by Wildthing
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Take aim, trust my alignment and send it. If you trust your swing and pre shot routine you should feel confident. I always have a point I pick out I want to sim to, I check for hazards and bunkers, I understand if I were to miss where that would leave me. Take a practice swing, align myself to my target and wham! If only it was that easy every time lol. Confidence is key, understanding that it’s not how good 1-2 shots are each round it’s controlling your missed that helps to keep scores lower.

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On 6/15/2022 at 2:15 PM, Goober said:

Maybe off topic. But what is the difference between someone who is a swinger of the club. Versus someone who is more a hitter? Wouldn’t golfers be more of both. And maybe error more on the side of swinging a golf club. Versus lashing at the ball 

I have been doing a lot of reflection on my golf throughout my life, I have had people compliment my swing and my ball striking but I have felt like my scores don't reflect the compliments and I could do better. Then this thought popped into my head... I know how to hit the golf ball, but I don't know how to play golf.

Substitute the words "play golf" for "swing the club" and that's my thought of a "swinger" vs a "hitter".

Sorry for talking about myself and taking too long to get to my answer.

Driver - default_taylormade-small.jpg R9 Superdeep TP 10.5* - Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana 65g XStiff Shaft

3 Wood - 2020 1ef73718.png Tight Lies 16* - Aldila Synergy Red 50-S Shaft

2 Hybrid - 1ef73718.png Idea Pro - Aldila VS Proto+ 'By You' 80-S Shaft

3 Iron - default_taylormade-small.jpg R7TP DGTT SL S300 Shaft

4-9 Irons - default_taylormade-small.jpg R7TP DGTT X-100 Shafts (6i has mismatched Project X 6.0 shaft)

Sand Wedge - Adams GT XTreme 2 SW

Putter - default_ping-small.jpg Heppler Tomcat 14

Ball - default_titelist-small.jpg Tour Soft

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On 5/26/2022 at 3:38 PM, cksurfdude said:

I'm trying to evolve my technique to become more of a swinger (..of the golf club!)

Very important distinction 🤣 

"Hey Honey, I have been doing a lot of thinking today... and I think I want to become a swinger..." *Slight delay*

*Cue Wifes confusion* 

"Of the golf club"... 

[mine-imator] Run meme #3 :P - YouTube

Driver - default_taylormade-small.jpg R9 Superdeep TP 10.5* - Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana 65g XStiff Shaft

3 Wood - 2020 1ef73718.png Tight Lies 16* - Aldila Synergy Red 50-S Shaft

2 Hybrid - 1ef73718.png Idea Pro - Aldila VS Proto+ 'By You' 80-S Shaft

3 Iron - default_taylormade-small.jpg R7TP DGTT SL S300 Shaft

4-9 Irons - default_taylormade-small.jpg R7TP DGTT X-100 Shafts (6i has mismatched Project X 6.0 shaft)

Sand Wedge - Adams GT XTreme 2 SW

Putter - default_ping-small.jpg Heppler Tomcat 14

Ball - default_titelist-small.jpg Tour Soft

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19 hours ago, Wildthing said:

The actual physics of the golf swing just gives me a good perception of what I must not try and practice to create clubhead speed. For me personally, swinging and hitting is more complicated to time than just swinging.  I also understand that if I try and 'hit' (as I defined in my previous post) with the trail hand to create a little extra speed it will require perfect timing about 70 msecs before impact (which is futile to even attempt) . If I 'hit' early , the clubhead speed will peak before impact and I'll probably end up flipping the club (not ideal) , whereas if I 'hit' late , the clubhead will reach peak speed after impact (also undesirable).

In my course game I never think about physics/biomechanics at all although it did help me last week when I quickly identified that I was using my trail arm/hand too dominantly in my driver swing.  My main thought at each hole is keeping a picture of where I want the ball to go , then creating a few perpetual practice swings to match that picture to help me replicate that same feel in my actual swing.

I love your well thought out posts and passion young man. Will follow your thoughts when I can 

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Took my first swing in almost 30 years. I tried my best to follow as he talked a little too fast for me. But I think I developed a “hit mentality” versus a “ swing mentality”. Where I developed a swing of controlling the ball with my hands and pulling in the handle of the club towards me after the strike. Which is old school hogan thinking. This teacher had me more swing tthe club with a free flowing “ swinger style “ of of hands flip over release and stalling the left lead leg bump versus rotate of the body. When I was on I really gained some massive distance his way. But really hard changing from a rotation of the body player while pulling the handle into my left pocket. Versus a free flowing swing motion. If that makes sense … a flip swinger release does feel powerful 

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