Golf instructors can be confusing. “Shallow out the club!”. “Stay on your swing plane!”. “You are not covering the golf ball!”.
General golf terminology is tricky, but when two professionals start to talk about their swings you might think they are speaking a different language.
Our goal today is to define “covering the golf ball”, explain how it can improve your game, and share our favorite drills that you can try the next time you practice.
We believe this swing thought can help you decrease your golf handicap and start breaking your personal score records.
Break 100, Shoot below 90, or finally post a round in the 70s for the first time. Covering the golf ball could be the key that unlocks your game.
Let’s get started!
What Does Covering The Golf Ball Mean?
Covering the golf ball is all about your posture and spine angle during your swing. To do it correctly, you need to maintain your spine angle through your impact position.
Have you ever heard someone say you need to “compress the ball” at impact? This is the same concept as covering the golf ball.
The most common mistake made by high handicappers is that they “stand up” during their swing.
If your chest moves up or down during your swing you will struggle with consistency. Unless your timing is perfect you will hit shots fat and skinny (top them).
Keep your spine angled during your swing and you will hit down on the ball. Watch a great iron player and you will see someone covering the golf ball.
You won’t see any lifting or dipping, but instead a smooth transition around the spine.
How Will Covering The Golf Ball Improve Your Golf Game?
Covering the golf ball will improve your golf swing in several ways.
First, it simplifies your movement which leads to more consistent ball striking.
Secondly, it will improve your attack angle and you will hit down on the ball. This is critical to becoming a solid iron player.
Do you watch the PGA tour on TV? You will notice several different swings, but watch them in slow motion.
You will notice that all great players have the same impact position. They may take different routes, but they end up in the same place.
Covering the golf ball will help you learn this impact position. You will be amazed at how much better you hit the golf ball.
A consistent strike of the golf ball makes the game much easier. You can trust how far each club will travel and you can avoid wild shots.
Wild shots will ruin your round. Start covering the golf ball and they will become a thing of the past.
Now let’s talk about how you can start covering the golf ball!
5 Tips To Start Covering The Golf Ball
Below we highlight some different techniques you can try to start covering the golf ball. You don’t need to do them all at once.
Try them one at a time the next time you practice and see which one suits your game.
#1: Start Your Downswing With Your Legs
This is one of our favorite swing thoughts because it can fix several flaws and it is a simple concept.
Nothing complicated here. When you reach the top of your backswing, start your downswing with your lower body (hips and legs).
The common mistake is to use your arms to start your swing – this can cause your spine angle to change.
Another side effect of this swing flaw is that you may re-route or cast the golf club. This will cause that slice that you hate.
This tip will not only help you to start covering the golf ball, but you will also get more distance out of your clubs.
The power in your golf swing comes from using the ground and your lower body. The more your lower body controls your swing the better.
When you reach the top of your swing let your lower body take over and your arms will follow. Step 1 to better ball striking!
#2: Don’t Get Stuck In reverse
Go visit your local public driving range. Watch the different golf swings. You will notice the same mistake is made by many of the golfers.
It is called a reverse pivot. Assuming you are a right-handed player, you want your weight to shift to your right side during your backswing and back to the left during your downswing.
The opposite of this is a reverse pivot. It is when your weight is going away from the ball at impact.
Why is the reverse pivot bad? There are a couple of key reasons:
First, you will lose power. You need the appropriate weight shift to increase your clubhead speed.
Second, the reverse pivot changes your spine angle. The key to covering the golf ball is maintaining your spine angle throughout your swing.
To put it another way, you can’t cover the golf ball with a reverse pivot.
In golf and life, you always want to be moving forward. Don’t get stuck in reverse!
#3: Film Your Swing
This is great advice anytime you are working on a swing change. It is very difficult to know if you are making the changes that you want.
Covering the golf ball is especially challenging because you can’t see your posture and spine angle while you are swinging.
We hope you have a friend that can help, but if not, you can set up your smartphone to capture a video of your swing.
Always do slow motion and pay close attention to your spine angle. Does it change during your transition or at impact?
Film your swing at the beginning of your practice session and the end. Do you notice any changes?
Swing changes take time. Celebrate small improvements. The important thing is to understand if you are heading in the right direction.
Your swing videos can be your compass. Stay on the correct path!
#4: Shaft Lean – Train With An Impact Bag
We have talked a lot about spine angle, but another indicator of how well you are covering the golf ball is your shaft lean at impact.
When you make contact with the golf ball the shaft of your club should be leaning forward. This is true for every great player.
An “impact bag” is a relatively new golf swing aid that is perfect to improve your shaft lean.
It is a simple concept that you can use anywhere. You can even practice inside your house on a rainy day.
You make a normal swing, but instead of hitting a golf bag, you hit the impact bag. The bag provides instant feedback on the quality of your swing (shaft lean).
If the weather is bad and you can’t get to the course, practice with an impact bag to start covering the golf ball more consistently.
#5: Keep Your Chest Over The Ball
We have talked about what it is, but are you still wondering why it is called “covering the golf ball”?
The idea is that your chest stays over the ball throughout your swing. You are covering the golf ball with your chest.
With that in mind, this swing thought is the most basic way to learn the concept.
No one swing thought is perfect for every player. This is why we provide you with different options.
If the idea of trying to swing and keep your chest over the ball feels weird, go back to a different option on our list.
On the other hand, this simple thought might just click for you. It doesn’t hurt to give it a try. Hit five range balls thinking about keeping your chest over the ball and see what happens.
Golf is often trial and error. Once your find the right swing thought, you might want to write it down!