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Zach Johnson - 2 steps to better ball striking

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If you're like me, you probably hate to mishit the golf ball and probably find yourself saying "I just want to hit the ball solid like the guys on T.V" In this video, I'll show you 2 key points in Zach's swing that allow him to be a consistent ball striker week after week. I'll show you how to use your trail foot and your lead eye in the swing for perfect ball striking.

Video Practice Points
  • Keep your trail heel down in the downswing.

  • Role to the inside part of the trail foot to make sure your weight is fully shifted.

  • Lead eye on the back of the ball during the downswing and release for as long as you can.

We all know how frustrating it can be to mishit golf shot after golf shot on the course. It makes you want to pull your hair out as you keep searching for a solution on how to find the center of the clubface to compress the ball properly!

Zach Johnson, the 2015 British Open Champion has become a consistent contender on the golf course and not because of his length, but because of his solid ball striking and solid putting.

If you look at Zach’s swing from beginning to end, most would call it a bit unorthodox in modern day golf. He has a strong grip, gets a little flat and a little deep at the top of his backswing and then works hard with the rotation of his body during the release of the club.

If you stop and look at what causes mishit golf shots, you will notice that the angle of the spine throughout the swing as well as the movement of the head are BIG culprits to the cause.

The tendency amateur golfers is to drive way too hard off the trail foot in the downswing. This move can actually cause your hips to come forward, which in turn can cause the angle of the spine to change. Driving hard off the right side can also cause your body to spin hard through the hitting area and cause you to lose speed in the swing due to the radius shrinking.

How do you fix this pesky problem you ask? Well, you must learn how to sit into the left side (lead side) properly. You must also learn how to use your trail foot as a brake in the downswing. If you have been prone to spinning your hips to hard or noticing that your spine angle is changing, then you must watch the videos sitting into the left side and the role of the right foot in the downswing.

Now that we have discussed how to control the spine angle and body rotation, let’s talk about how to keep your head quiet in the golf swing.

Most right handed golfers tend to be right eye dominant. Believe it or not, this could be a big part of your issue. What do I mean? Well simply put, your eyes can start to wonder in your downswing and get ahead of you and cause the head to rotate or to tilt. This can cause a shift in the swing plane and in turn make it very difficult to strike the golf ball solidly.

How do you fix it? Try this…

Focus your left eye on the back of the golf ball, just like one of the greatest players of all time, Jack Nicklaus used to do. Leave your focus there for as long as you can in the downswing and the release and you will see how easy it is to compress the golf ball every time.

Quick recap…

  • Keep your trail heel down in the downswing.

  • Role to the inside part of the trail foot to make sure your weight is fully shifted.

  • Lead eye on the back of the ball during the downswing and release for as long as you can.

Zach Johnson Swing Analysis

Hey, hey, what's up everyone? This is RST Instructor Chris Tyler and we are back again with this weeks tour analysis on the 2015 British Open Champion Zach Johnson. Congratulations to Zach. I've had the luxury of playing a lot of golf with Zach in the past and he's a phenomenal guy and an extraordinary talent on the golf course.

             If you find yourself struggling with hitting the golf ball solid or in the center of the club face every single time then you want to pay close attention to today's review. I'm going to show you two key moves in Zach's golf swing that allow him to not only hit the center of the club face but become a very consistent ball striker week end and week out. I'm going to show you a great drill towards the end of this video that's going to talk about your lead eye and how to focus it in the proper spot in your downswing. Let's go ahead and get started.

         All right guys, so if you're anything like me you know how frustrating it is to miss hit golf shots, either hitting them fat, or thin, or out towards the toe, or in the heel. I want to focus in on two areas in Zach's golf swing that allow him to hit the golf ball very solidly and in the center of the club face every single time so that you can use these particular drills and start to hit more solid golf shots more frequently and then we're all in this happy world of ball striking. Looking at things from a down the line perspective, we're going to focus on the trail foot in Zach's golf swing. That's going to be our primary focus point for the first point.

                   Now let's talk about some of the common faults that lead to miss hits. The first on that we'll see or talk about is going to be the angle of the spine changing throughout the downswing or even in the backswing. If you've notice that your spine angle from where you were at address starts to change, you see that it's more vertical, then we need to figure out what the problem is, what caused that to happen. Chances are it's your trail foot. And what do I mean there? We tend to try to drive too hard off of our trail foot and that brings the hips forward in your downswing. That's going to cause your spine to actually move more vertically. That's where our focus point is going to be, it's going to be in that trail foot. We've got a great video on the website called the Roll of the Right Foot and that's going to be over to the recommend tab to the right hand side of the video player here so just click that tab. These videos will populate.

            Again we are going to focus on the trail foot. You see Zach's golf swing here. It's a little bit shut going back, it's a little bit flat, just a fraction deep, and then in the downward move he does a really good job of controlling his lower body here with the trail foot. Notice how the trail foot is staying pretty well close to the ground here. Now the trail foot can act like a break for the rotation of the body so we can start to release the club through the hitting area. That's a great tool for a lot of you guys that have been prone to spinning your body through the hitting area. You want to use that right foot as a brake so you can start to release the club and in turn you'll have a lot more spin in it.

             Zach does release the golf club but he does work hard with his body post impact here. You'll see that his shoulder plane does steepen quite a bit. That can put a lot of shear force on the spine, but in turn, he's a great ball striker and it's a good key move to understand in your own game so watch what your trail foot is doing in your downswing. If you see that it's coming up off the ground then 9 times out of 10 that's probably the culprit that's bring your hips forward or spinning your body open.

  Now to the second fix here, the second part, we see a lot of movement from the head. There is a very, very, well known person within the game of golf named Jack Nicklaus who actually use to use his dominant eye as a focus point in his downswing. What I mean there is most right-handed golfers are right eye dominant, I should say, most. Now I'm actually a right-handed golfer and I'm left eye dominant. Jack Nicklaus was left eye dominant as well. What our tendency is, and I'm going to show you this in the end of this video I'm going to show you where some of the faults come in with this focus point but I want you guys to see it first hand with what Zach does from a reverse angle. Pay close attention to the brim of his hat right here. You see that tiny bit of black showing there? We're going to start the move and we're going to see his hat start to tilt. See the head tilt right there? What he's going there is he's actually shifting his focus, his lead eye, right there to the back of the golf ball. You're going to see how important this little move is for not only rotation but you're going to see how it can create a lot of consistency down in the hitting area. Let's go ahead and take a look at this drill now.

         Okay guys, if you've had a really hard time hitting the golf ball solidly in the center of the club face where it counts the most, I'm going to go ahead and show you guys a very simple and effective drill that's going to help solve a lot of problems in your golf swing believe it or not. It has a lot to do with the way we focus on the golf ball. Some of the common issues that we see from a lot of amateur golfers or just students to the game in general is we see a lot of head movement through the hitting area. Whether it'd be a lot of tilt from the head, or we see a lot of rotation from the head, or in turn we see the head moving out in front of the golf shot.

                 Now what's the real big cause of that? If you look at right-handed golfers, most of them are right eye dominant, aside from Jack Nicklaus. Jack Nicklaus was actually left eye dominant, I also am left eye dominant and I'm going to get into the drill here in a moment. The problem is, when you're right eye dominant, your tendency is to start to let the eyes want to see what is going on, it's the way we process information in our downswing. It's part of the vestibular process. If you want to see what is going on early chances are that's going to make your eyes move, which in turn can make your head move, which in turn can make your shoulders move, and then so on and down the line. If you've noticed that your body is really spinning open or you've noticed a lot of secondary axis tilt, this is a great drill to help you eliminate both of those issues. All right, and I want you to try it out.

   When you take your address position, your setup position here, what I want you to do is I want you to now focus your left eye right on the back of the ball through the entire swing. So you're going to focus your left eye on the back of the ball all the way through the release. What you're going to notice is that it's going to actually take a lot of the rotation out and a lot of that secondary axis tilt that's causing you to get hung back. This is a great way to hit the golf ball more solidly, more frequently. Try it out. Left eye on the back of the ball and you'll be on your way to playing some great golf. 

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