I go to the range regularly because I really enjoy working on my swing and my ball striking. I use the term “ball striking” because that’s what I am doing…at least I think so. I have heard that term used on TV by the commentators. They often talk about so and so golfer being a great ball striker. I found the following definition of “Ball Striker” on Golf.About.com.
Definition: Most simply put, “ball striking” is just a reference to the full swing. A golfer who is said to be a great ballstriker is one who excels at the full swing.
A little more in-depth, ball striking refers to a golfer’s ability to put the clubface on the ball at impact in the desired manner, time after time, and with great command. When you hear that this or that golfer is a great ballstriker, there is also the implication that the golfer can make the ball do what he or she wants – that the golfer possesses a great ability to “work the ball” (producing the desired amount of fade or draw, for example). Which goes back to the above: put the clubface on the ball at impact in the desired manner, time after time, and with great command.
By that definition, I was certainly working on my ball striking at the range this past week. It wasn’t too crowded, so I took a spot where the ground wasn’t torn up too badly which was about 6 positions from the end. On the very end of the range (in the direction I was facing) was an older fellow who was slight in build and stature (is that the same?). He had a very large amount of balls spread out in about a 2 or 3 foot area where he was sitting in one of the 5 chairs that dot the range. It appeared that he was serious about his practice session…or very sloppy with the balls.
Just a few minutes after I completed my warm up (which I perform every time I practice…and recommend you do as well), I noticed a man with what appeared to be his son (maybe 16 years old), set their clubs at 2 spots in between me and the man at the end of the range. Since I generally focus on my own practice, I don’t spend much time watching other golfers doing their thing.
After about 5 minutes or so, I heard the man at the end making comments about someone’s swing. It turned out that he was talking to the father (I assume) about his son’s (I assume) swing. I then realized that the man at the end had been relaxing with all the balls laid out awaiting the arrival of someone to whom he could pass along his expertise.
As he made some suggestions to the father about his son’s swing, I picked up on one statement that gave me pause. He began to inquire if the son was right or left eye dominant. Since neither the dad (I assume) or the son (I assume) didn’t know which eye was their dominant one, the older fellow commenced to demonstrate how to determine same. For me…I already knew the demonstration and know that I am left eye dominant. By the way…I hear that Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and several other great “ball strikers” are left eye dominant. I’m just sayin’.
Here is a quick video explaining how you can establish your dominant eye:
Having established that the young man was left eye dominant, the older fellow then directed his instruction around that left eye. He told the young man that when he set up to the ball, to turn his head to the right and focus his left eye on the back of the ball. He then had him swing the club not caring where the ball went, but to make certain that he kept his left eye focused on the ball throughout the down swing and impact. The whole time maintaining his head cocked slightly to the right.
Here is a picture of Mr. Nicklaus at address with his head cocked to the right and his left eye trained on the ball.
I remember buying the book by Jack Nicklaus called, “The Full Swing” in which he talked about his somewhat unique manner of setting up to the ball. The pictures clearly supported that technique. I always thought it was to get his chin out of the way for a more complete left shoulder turn.
Back to the range…I had just pulled out my driver when I heard more about “keep that left eye focused on the back of the golf ball”. He was talking to the young man, but I thought I should give it a try since I am left eye dominant and all.
Well, I’ll be darned…I cocked my head to the right (just like Mr. Nicklaus) fixed my left eye on the back of the ball, and started stripping the ball straight at the target I had picked out. I even kept looking down to the spot where the ball was for a split second after I made contact. I felt as though I got through the ball much cleaner from that point on. To be clear…I am not saying you need to adhere to the tired old mantra…”Keep Your Head Down”. I am saying that I focused on the back of the ball with my left eye and it helped me strike the ball better.
I have heard several teachers, including my favorite, Martin Chuck, downplay the idea of head down and keeping your eye on the ball. I have watched videos by Martin where he, to make his point, takes that theory to the extreme by keeping his head down through the swing and the follow through. That would certainly be detrimental to a smooth complete swing.
When I watch slow motion swing videos of the best players in the world, they all (or nearly all I have seen) keep that head behind the ball for a split second after impact and allow the head to come up with the shoulder.
I fully acknowledge that mine is not an expert opinion or observation….but man, it sure is working for me, and it wouldn’t hurt for you to try it on the range before you add it to your golf game.
There are not many videos out there that are specific to dominant eye and the golf swing, but here are two links to YouTube videos that I found interesting regarding a golfers dominant eye.
If you have more information about a golfers dominant eye and the golf swing…I would love to hear about it.
Thanks for reading.
President & Creator of GolfGym LLC