July 8, 2007

Find the sweet spot

My drill will help your top-of-the-backswing and finish positions

Yes: Shift hips forward (left) to hit the inside of the ball. No: If hips stay back (right), you'll cut across from outside.

Yes: Shift hips forward (left) to hit the inside of the ball. No: If hips stay back (right), you'll cut across from outside.

Where the clubhead contacts the ball is the most important impact factor in determining the starting direction of any shot. Seventy-five percent of that starting line is due to where the club hits the ball; swing path accounts for the other 25 percent.

Ideally, you want the club to approach the ball from inside the target line and make contact on the back of the ball. To do this, transfer your weight to your left leg on the downswing. I initiate this shift by pushing off the inside of my right foot. This gets my hands slightly ahead of the ball at impact and brings the club into the back of the ball from the inside.

If you don't initiate that forward shift on the downswing, your hips will be moving away from the target at impact. The only way for the club to get back to the ball is to come over the top and approach it from the outside. You'll cut across the ball, the clubhead will be ahead of your hands, and the shot will start left of the target.

Ranked No. 4 by his peers among Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, Haney owns six golf school/practice facilities in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.