Knuckles Down for Penetrating Ball Flight
by TJ Tomasi, College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
What the clubface is doing at impact determines the quality of the strike – in fact where it’s pointing determines 75-85% of the initial starting direction of your golf ball.
In addition to directional control, good players decrease clubface loft at impact to create laser-like penetration, while poor players add loft, producing out of control wobblers that blow all over the lot.
Studies show that a tour player’s 6-iron with 30 degrees of loft built in at the factory has approximately 25 degrees of dynamic loft at impact, whereas the average player starting with the same 30 degrees of loft ends up with approximately 34 degrees of dynamic loft at impact.
How can you hit laser irons by de-lofting?
It’s what you do with the palm of your trail hand that determines penetration.
If your palm is up facing towards the sky halfway into your downswing, you’re forced to aggressively manipulate the face to square it and deloft it at impact.
Now this can be done, but when you have only a fourth of a second until impact, it’s all too easy to “hold on” and leave the face open, producing a high weak slice.
The usual amateur fix – swinging your arms faster on the next shot – only makes the slice worse, because you’re not squaring the face, you’re simply making the club go faster with an open face.
To change the quality of your ball flight from powder-puff to piercing, turn the knuckles of your top hand to the ground through impact.
You should start this early in the downswing, because it’s best when it’s done slowly/smoothly.
Exactly when to begin turning your knuckles down is discovered through practice.