Impact & the Golf Swing

Impact is the moment of truth in a golf swing. If your impact position resembles the picture at right for your irons, you’re already a very solid player. This position is the key to power and consistency, and you can see it among all the best players in the world. As unique as every professionals swing is, their impact positions are pretty much identical. There are two key features to an ideal impact position.

1) Your head should be behind the ball.

As you swing into impact your body is transferring all the power created by your larger muscles into the smaller quicker muscles into impact. Anatomically, power is generated first with your core, as your weight begins to transfer over your legs kick in and add to the power. This power is then transferred to your shoulders, down your arms and finally as your wrists release from their cocked position, into the club.

With the rotation and movement your body is experiencing, your body center must remain relatively still to ensure you make contact with the ball. This balanced position is what creates consistency. So what does this mean to you? If your head is ahead of the ball at impact, you’re not creating power properly, and your swing is inconsistent.


2) Your hands should be ahead of the ball it impact.

This is a sure sign of creating and using lag on irons. If you can get into this position (shown above), you can be sure you’re not casting and losing distance.  As described above, this picture captures the last moment of the power transition. This is where the wrists are transferring the power at the last moment to the clubhead.

Again, I want to reinforce that this particular tip is only true for the irons… and let me explain why.  As you can see in the image of Tiger Woods hitting a driver to the right – he’s in a similar position as I am,  however he’s a good 6-inches from making contact with the ball.  Your driver swing will bottom out before the ball and contact it on a slight upswing – the difference in ball positioning (being further forward in the stance) will allow your wrists to “catch-up” and they will be close to level with the ball at impact on driver swings.

You will see this position on every professional on tour.  Even when I compare my swing to Tiger Woods’ we reach similar pre-impact position (despite us using different clubs).  To get into these positions however, is not a matter of copying what you see above, it takes a combination of proper transition at the top, transferring your weight and creating lag. Understanding why this position is so important is the first step to incorporating it into your swing.


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  1. Hey Lukas – this position is ideal – if you’re hitting the ball too low, the problem is likely either your shoulder position at impact – too level – or possibly your shaft kick point.

  2. But Tiger’s hands are NOT ahead of the ball in this image – and the club head is not yet at impact. Tiger is using a driver and, if you watch the slow motion video that you took the photo from, you’ll see that his hands are slightly behind the ball at impact. For irons (where you want a downward blow of ball then turf), then yes hands should be ahead at impact. For woods off a tee, we want to strike the ball with a sweeping motion on the upswing (which gets the ball in the air without a lot of spin). Hands ahead of the ball with a driver is NOT good advice for the majority of club players out there.

  3. Hey Phil, I really appreciate the comment. You’re right, and I’m going to update the article.

    Driver swings tend to hit the ball on the upswing, whereas iron swing tend to hit down on the ball. The wrist positioning on the driver swing should be, as you say, either level or slightly behind the ball at impact, but ahead for irons.

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