Golf

This mistake is killing your ball-striking consistency, says top teacher

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According to GOLF Teacher to Watch James Hong, if you want to improve your ball-striking consistency, you must learn to stop over-swinging.
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Everyone wants to be a consistent ball striker. When you can reliably hit every club in your bag on command, it makes the game a lot easier. And who doesn’t want that?
Unfortunately, becoming a great ball striker isn’t easy. It takes hours and hours of work on the range, and even more time to make the swing habits unconscious. Great ball strikers aren’t born, they’re made.
The good news is, there is a way to become a more consistent ball striker, and you don’t even need to change your swing to get there. All you need to do is slow down and focus on solid contact.
“Biggest mistake recreational golfers make is they all try to overswing,” says GOLF Teacher to Watch James Hong. “A lot of times when I see them overswing, they’re hitting the ball thinking they have to crush it and swing out of their shoes to make it go far. But instead, they mishit it and it goes nowhere.”
While swinging faster does help you get more distance, it’s all for naught if you don’t find the center of the clubface. The distance gains you see from swinging harder are wiped out when you consistently mishit the ball.
Instead of swinging out of your shoes, try slowing things down and focusing on center-face contact. Start with shorter clubs and work your way through the bag, emphasizing hitting the center of the clubface every time. As you get more consistent at finding the center of the face, start swinging a bit harder.
“You should be utilizing tempo and letting the club do the work,” Hong says. “If you find the center of the clubface, it goes straighter and further. It lets them know that they don’t have to swing that hard to get distance.”

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.
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