Improve your distance and direciton
Hitting the ball out of the centre of the club can increase your distance and improve your direction, but how many of you know which part of the clubface you tend to hit the ball from? I'd hazard a guess at not many of you but it's easy to find out and then use that information to improve, often significantly.
All you need is either a non-permanent marker or some impact tape - both available from the shop. If you use the pen, draw a dot on the ball about 5mm in diameter (photo 1 above) and place it on the ground so that it is looking at the clubface at address. Then hit a shot and it will leave a removable mark on the clubface indicating where the ball was struck from (photo 2 above). With the face tape, you get a mark showing some of the dimples, which again indicates the position of the strike (photos 3 & 4 below).
If you hit the ball more towards the heel it will cost you distance and make you more likely to slice the ball (ie. curve it from left to right for right handed golfer). At the extreme it can lead to that most debilitating of shots, the shank. If you hit the ball more towards the toe, again you will lose distance and the ball is more likely to draw/hook. At the extreme, you will "toe-end" it and the ball will shoot off at almost a 45 degree angle. So the resulting ball flight would be very similar to that of the shank but for a very different reason. In fact I've had pupils who were convinced they were shanking the ball and we've used the face tape to show them that actually they were hitting the ball from the opposite end of the club - the toe! So can you see what can happen here? A golfer can in a effort to fix their fault literally work on the exact opposite of what you should be doing! No wonder some golfers practice and end up getting worse.... :(
So use the non permanent pen or the face tape, discover what your striking tendency is and then work on doing the opposite. For instance I tend to hit a little from the heel if I'm not careful. Using my launch monitor I've noticed that a one cm or so off centre strike towards the heel rather than in the middle of the clubface can result in a loss of distance of 8 - 10 yards and a fading ball flight rather than my customary draw. To combat this I simply feel like I am trying to hit the ball from the toe of the club, get some feedback by looking at where the strike actually was and using that information to help me plan how I attempt to strike the next shot. All this feedback is 100% accurate and will force my swing to become more functional if I keep working away at it.
This is a simple (simple doesn't mean easy by the way!) but profound drill which can potentially make an enormous difference to the quality of your ball striking. Try it for yourself and see......