What is Sweeping the Ball?
There are so many different types of swings and strategies used to hit great golf shots, and sweeping the ball is one of them. This technique truly requires a great skill level and a lot of practice to master. Unlike more common swing techniques that make the use of hitting into the ground to make a divot, sweeping the ball is much cleaner and can produce the same type of shot. Curtis Strange is probably the most prolific PGA player to use this strategy, but it is beginning to grow in popularity again.
One of the greatest benefits of sweeping the ball is that you are much less likely to hit it fat because you won’t come down from the backswing too quickly. This also makes the angle of the club head much flatter, so you’ll have more time at the impact point. This flatter plane provides more opportunity for better ball striking. Sweeping the ball reduces the chances of a poor shot by sliding over the turf and into the ball.
This technique is usually used with the driver to begin, but it can easily be used with any other clubs in the bag. The theory does make a lot of sense. Consider actually sweeping with a broom. You use a wider angle than you would if you were hammering a nail at an angle. Even with your short irons, this sweeping motion can provide you with more solid shots. One of the disadvantages is that most players typically cannot generate as much spin as when hitting down on the ball, so that should be considered when you’re trying to stick one.
Sweeping also parallels a variety of swing paths from sand traps. A popular teaching idea is to imagine swinging by using the letters “V” and “U”. If you’re ball is buried or you only have a little room between your ball in the bunker and the flag stick, you may use a steeper swing. Striking down on the ball like the letter “V” can help the ball get out faster with more spin. Conversely, if you swing like the letter “U”, you’ll be able to carry the ball a little farther and get out more easily. Both techniques have value and mimic the process behind sweeping the ball from just about anywhere on the course.
Players who sweep the ball tend to position the ball forward in the stance. It’s more advantageous to do this because you’ll really want to be hitting on the upward part of the downswing. By moving the ball forward, players have more of an inclination to strike at that moment.
The swing arc is also essential. Again, it should closely resemble more of the letter “U”. Legendary golfer Tom Watson offers this practice method to improve your sweeping skills. He states that, “Players should take practice swings without a ball while focusing on hitting the turf just forward of the center at the bottom of your arc.”
It’s important to note that you don’t have a coach out there on the course with you to guide you in the right direction, but this method does provide you with the ability to correct yourself. You should pay close attention to the size of your divots. If you are having large divots, you aren’t sweeping the ball at all. Smaller divots may indicate that you are really trying to sweep, but you still need to come into your shots less steeply. If you aren’t having any divots or hitting worm burners and are producing great shots, than you are probably sweeping correctly.
For players who don’t already sweep and are thinking about doing so, it may take some time to master the technique. You’ll have to flatten out your swing a little and truly be satisfied without having divots.
There are plenty of benefits to sweeping the ball. For example, you’ll have far less bending over to do and save yourself a lot of steps by not having to replace your divots. Sweeping also reduces the amount of stress put onto your body because you aren’t digging down into the hard ground with every shot. It is definitely worth considering for many more reasons.
If you enjoyed this lesson, you’ll really enjoy what you’ll learn at Keiser University’s College of Golf. Contact us today at 888.355.4465 to see how we can help you get on a path to a career in golf.