SEAN FO­LEY

Find­ing the sweet spot.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 2/ 15 -

When you un­ex­pect­edly smother-hook a tee shot or hit a low liner that goes nowhere, don’t panic. The common mis­take is to over­anal­yse what went wrong and start swing­ing dif­fer­ently. But in many cases, the cause of the mis-hit was sim­ply that you didn’t hit the ball on the cen­tre of the club­face. In­tro­duc­ing gear ef­fect. That’s the sci­en­tific term for what hap­pens if you make con­tact any­where but on the sweet spot. For ex­am­ple, if you hit low on the club­face, the ball will fly lower and with more backspin. If you strike the ball on the toe, you’ll pro­duce more rightto-left spin, and hit a hook. Gear ef­fect is most pro­nounced with driv­ers and fair­way woods but can af­fect iron shots, too.

My ad­vice? Be­fore you over­haul your swing, check to see where you’re mak­ing con­tact. Spray your driver face with foot pow­der, hit a shot, then check where the ball’s dim­ple pat­tern ap­pears ( above). Is it near the toe or heel? Is it low on the face? Just be­ing aware of where you’re hit­ting the ball on the club can im­prove your swing and your ball-strik­ing. Re­mem­ber that the next time you hit a bad shot and start freak­ing out.

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