Striking thought: do not watch the ball

Now I would like to persuade you to watch the strike. Forget for the moment about keeping your eyes on the ball. Just relax and watch the strike.

Put down a ball. Take a club. Now make several swings over the top of the ball, watching the passage of the clubhead.

Try to note that the clubhead is moving on a true arc through - i.e. over - the ball. See if you can get the feeling that when it is right over the ball the clubface is square.

Don't force anything. Don't make the clubface come through square. See if it does. After a dozen or so passes you will probably find that you can see that it does. Just look and swing over the ball.

A lot of golfers get a bit scared of the ball. A few even jerk up as they try to hit it. Many stare at it.

It may help beginners to know that early golfing great Harry Vardon, winner of six British Opens, never looked at the ball. He looked instead at a spot on the ground half an inch or so behind the ball.

Many of today's finest golfers look at the exact spot on the ball they intend to strike. But I tell the Vardon story specially to do away with any tenseness at the address. Don't look hard at the ball, or at a particular spot on it, until it feels easy and natural for you to do it. Until then, look at the Vardon spot if you like.

But above all, when practicing watch the strike.

In play when you take your practice swing see if you can catch the blur of the swinging clubhead.

Then step up and swing through the ball, not at it. I am sure you will find a tremendous improvement in your game.

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