For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.
I’m just finishing up a vacation in Florida as I write this newsletter and I wanted to pass along a couple of thoughts to help you get your ball striking in order after your winter layoff.
I had the pleasure of playing with my son and two brothers while I was on the East coast of Florida, but my ball striking was not up to par. We would find ourselves meeting somewhere between Port St Lucie where my son lives, and Jupiter, where my brother lives, to play – and it seemed that there was never time to hit balls before our rounds.
So it was fun, but I discovered that I had work to do.
When my wife and I headed to the West coast to our timeshare on Marco Island, I made time to get to the range and work on my ball striking with pretty good success.
I did two task constraint drills that I work on when my ball striking gets raggedy.
A task constraint drill is one that helps shape a movement pattern, decisions, and thoughts.
Here are the two drills that I did (in order) to get my ball striking back up to par.
Drill 1 - The Towel Drill

Drill 1 – The Towel Drill

Start with the towel further back than 2 inches from the ball, then work the towel forward to the 2 inch mark as you become more proficient.

I just laid a thin golf towel about 2 inches behind the ball and practiced taking swings making sure that my iron didn’t hit the towel on the way down to the ball. It took about 15 reps to groove that swing.
After the successful reps with the towel drill, I scratched a line in the sandy soil of the range, perpendicular to my aimline. I took a several iron swings starting with the club grounded on the line at address, making sure that my divot was occurring on the target side of the line, not behind it.
Drill 2 - The Line Drill

Drill 2 – The Line Drill

Above is the setup for a line drill exercise using chalk instead of a line scratched into the ground. Your range will probably prefer a line scratched into the ground vs. a chalk line.
After ten successful swings without a ball, I placed balls on the line and made iron swings, making sure that the divot (the low point of my swing) was falling in front of the line. A divot that started right on the line was acceptable, since the middle of the ball was centered on the line. A divot that fell behind the line indicated a fat shot.
I worked myself into an acceptable percentage of good strikes with my divots occurring ahead of my ball placement.
In the past, when I was really striking the ball purely on a consistent basis, I used to do these drills all the time. My plan is to return to that good habit.
A key point when doing this type of drill is to focus on the result – not thinking mechanics. You absolutely need exposure to fundamentals when you learn a swing. However, after you are initiated to a swing you can give your brain a chance to make corrections automatically with task constraint drills.
Try it, you’ll like it!
Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,