One of my favorite clichés is that golf is a game of good misses, which means that nobody hits the ball perfectly every time. Next time you watch golf on TV, notice how many times they miss fairways and greens. Remember, these are the best players in the world! A good miss is when you can honestly say to yourself that you know you didn’t hit the ball solidly, but you’re still on the correct hole and the ball went in the direction you wanted it to. A bad miss is a ball that dribbles 10 feet or goes way left or right of your intended target. Bad misses add up on scorecards very quickly, while good misses usually don’t get you into a lot of trouble. The best way to know that you’re improving as a golfer is that your misses get better. The reason that golf is a game of good misses is because the clubface is only square to the target line for a very short period of time. As much as we’re led to believe that the club is square from a foot behind to a foot in front of the ball, this is simply not the case. The club is actually squaring as it’s passing through the impact zone. Also understand that the club is traveling at anywhere from 70 to over 100 miles per hour at its fastest point through the impact zone. A golfer’s ability to make the club perfectly square at exactly the right time takes hours and hours of practice. It stands to reason that as you practice more, your swing will improve and you will be better equipped to square the clubface at impact. There are two foolproof ways to know that you have hit a good golf shot. First is the feel of hitting the ball. If you can barely feel it come off the clubface, you’ve hit a great shot. If you shank it, your hands will sting as if you struck something much heavier than just a golf ball. The second way to know your shot is a good one is by the sound of it. A well-struck golf ball makes a very pleasing “click” sound, while a mis-hit usually yields a sharper clank sound. Work on your swing regularly and you will find that golf will feel and sound better with every round you play.
Tony Roberto is Head Golf Professional at Tower Ridge country Club in Simsbury, CT. He can be reached at (860) 651-9393 or tRobPGA@aol.com