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Ben Hogan - Pure Ball Striker for the Rotary Hitter
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Published: February 18, 2014
Both Rotary Hitters and Rotary Swingers have a lot of different feelings to look for in the golf swing.
We talk about "feel" a lot in the Rotary Swing, teaching you what it should feel like to carry out different movements in the swing.
With the Rotary Hitter we sometimes get a little more mechanical - talking about plane, rotation, face, etc. - but feel is still extremely important, and that's what we're going to look at today.
Specifically, we're going to talk about the right arm throwing motion in the Rotary Hitter downswing.
A Simple Device
Another golf instructor has come out with a great little training aid that's perfect to help the Rotary Hitter develop this feel. It's called the Pure Ball Striker, and it's a very simple, inexpensive little device.
It's a small rubberized form that fits on the side of any club. Just fit it onto the grip so that it sits directly opposite the target, on the aft side of the shaft.
It should sit against your right forefinger - we'll talk about this pressure point in more detail shortly.
The Rotary Hitter's right arm throwing motion causes the club to press against a point on or just below the first knuckle of your right forefinger (see photo in the next section).
Being aware of that pressure helps you keep from coming down into impact and just flipping the club with your hands and letting everything break down.
Using the Pure Ball Striker will help you become really aware of how that should feel.
Place the device on your club so that it sits right against that forefinger joint. The extra thickness in this key spot helps you feel the lag on that pressure point in the downswing.
You'll feel it right away. You'll find that you can apply pressure in a way you couldn't before because the normal grip is so thin at that point.
Building up this key point helps your focus on this key pressure point in the swing.
Get the Feeling
Take your normal grip so that the Pure Ball Striker lies right against the pressure point on your right index finger as it lies on the side or back of the shaft.
As you go to the top of your swing you should feel a new pressure on that joint.
Focus on that pressure point and fire the Pure Ball Striker down, aiming it at a spot maybe 18-24" ahead of the ball.
It will feel like the Pure Ball Striker traces a straight line from the top to your target point.
Obviously, that's not what actually happens. The club and the Pure Ball Striker will still travel through a normal arc, but it will feel like a very direct path. It's very important that you get that visual in your head.
Use the lag drill with the impact bag from one of our recent lessons to ensure that you don't release the club early, losing that pressure and flipping the club.
Pick a spot a couple of feet in front of the ball. To you, it will actually look like it's more down your feet line because of course you don't want to swing your hands out away from your body to where the ball is.
The spot should be almost in line with your feet, a couple of feet in front of the ball.
You're trying to drive the Pure Ball Striker on a path from the top of your swing to that point.
This will get your hands in that leading position at impact as you feel that throwing motion with your right arm and drive through with your right shoulder.
It's a great device to help you groove that feeling and get power and compression into the ball. Really drive that point down.
Are you very flippy through impact? Do your hands release really hard without much compression, creating a weak, high ball flight? If so, this exercise will introduce you to a very different feeling.
Instead of thinking about flipping your hands and getting the ball in the air, your goal is simply to take the Pure Ball Striker and drive it straight down into the ground.
You're going to hit down, and you're going to hear compression like you've never heard before in your golf swing.
If you're not used to hitting the ball very solidly, this is going to be a great change for you.
Start out by hitting half and three quarter shots, even if they're head-high.
You're striving for compression and that feeling of driving the Pure Ball Striker toward your target point, rather than focusing on driving the club head.
If you go back to driving the club head, you'll lose contact with the pressure point. You'll flip it and you won't compress the ball.
Overcome the Flip!
Swing back to the top, just a little three quarter or half swing. Take that Pure Ball Striker and drive it down at the target point you've chosen a couple of feet in front of the ball.
Don't flip the club. Just drive that pressure point all the way down through impact.
You can get a lot of compression on the ball even with these little half or three quarter shots. It doesn't take much, just a little back and through, and there's a lot of hit to be had there.
Again, this is for Rotary Hitters only - Swingers, go do something else!
It's Rotary Hitters who need to get a feel for driving through with the right arm, the right shoulder, the right forearm, the right tricep - all these driving motions for good compression.
You need to feel that pressure as you lean and drive the shaft and the pressure point down through the ball, into impact.
You'll find that you'll get a lot of compression on the ball without a whole lot of effort. Listen for that hiss we've talked about.
Get ready to feel and hear the ball take off the face in a whole new way. The Pure Ball Striker will help you get there.
Once you've practiced on some smaller swings you can go ahead and hit balls with it.
We even recommend that you take it out on the course and play a few rounds with the Pure Ball Striker in place so you can get the feel of it. Play with it for a few days or even a few weeks to get used to that pressure point.
You'll find that when you go to take a swing without the Pure Ball Striker that you'll be searching for that pressure point. Even without the device, you'll know exactly what the swing should feel like, back and through.
Just develop that awareness. It's a kinesthetic thing; you're actually changing your perception of the golf swing. You're changing how it feels, and you're changing how you think about it, all thanks to this one pressure point.
Checkpoints for Practice
- The Rotary Hitter swing often focuses more on the mechanics of plane, face, rotation, etc. but the "feel" is still very important
- The Pure Ball Striker is a simple training aid that fits onto the shaft of any club to help you focus on a pressure point
- Place it on the aft side of the shaft, next to the first joint on your right forefinger
- Focus on this new pressure point and drive it down toward a spot 18-24" ahead of the ball, on the feet line
- It should feel like the Pure Ball Striker travels a straight line down toward your target point - you'll hit down, avoid the flip, & get great compression
- Start out with smaller shots, then work up to full shots - keep the Pure Ball Striker on your club for a few days or even a few weeks to learn the feeling of driving that point down into the ground