By Rick Flagler

PGA Director of Instruction

Bala Golf Club

In this tip I want to focus on impact. Obviously, there are many important things that can be focused on during the golf swing. Grip, stance, posture, swing plane, shoulder plane, body rotation and the list goes on. With my students I like to focus on proper ball/turf contact and the position the body and hands should be in to achieve solid impact.impact-1

To achieve solid impact you have to have what I refer to as Positive Shaft Lean. PSL can really only be achieved by allowing the hands to lead the club head into the golf ball. This allows you to have the proper ball turf contact or “trappin
g of the ball” that we all strive for. Most problems usually surface when people don’t allow their hands to lead long enough in the swing before they strike the ball. In essence they release the club too soon and they achieve Negative Shaft Lean. NSL is where the club head has been allowed to pass or flip past the hands before impact and this leads to poor and inconsistent ball striking.


A great training aid to use to get the proper feed back you are looking for is an impact bag. The impact bag has been around for a long time and there is a reason for it. They are simple and effective which is a nice combination. To get started, use a six or a seven iron and place the back of the bag in the middle of your stance. Make some smooth swings, about half speed, and take note of where the club head is in relation to your hands at impact. If you do it properly you should have Positive Shaft Lean which means your hands will be slightly ahead of the club head at impact.

We can focus on the proper position of the body at another time.




If you have questions on this or anything else, please let me know. Play well,

Rick Flagler

PGA Director of Instruction Bala Golf Club


Thinking is Succeeding

By Mark Sheftic

PGA Director of Instruction

Merion Golf Club

For over twenty years in the golf field, I have competed, taught and attended many professional seminars that examined the golf swing, short game, and course management. Now as I progress in my teaching career, a common question is frequently asked of me. “What is the key to the golf swing?” Following this complex question my students want to know, is there a magical move that will take me to the next level?

My answer to this significant question is always the same and catches most by surprise. “The key to a great golf swing takes place before you grip the club!”

Without a player consciously knowing this, he or she determines the success of the shot before the ball is in flight.  This illustrates one of my favorite statements, “A player hits the desired shot or misses the desired shot before he or she swings the club.” This declares the importance of mental preparation.

Ones mind is the 15th club that completes the golf bag.  The six inches between your ears is the most powerful tool or most destructive piece of equipment we carry.  This brings me to the main point of this article, “The most important part of a golf shot are the decisions you make prior to hitting the ball!”

Here is a checklist of questions that need to be considered to determine the type of shot to play:

  • How is the lie?
  • What are the conditions of the wind?
  • Where is the pin?
  • How far do I need this ball to travel?
  • Is the putt up hill or down hill?

After one evaluates these questions and answers, then …


Here are visual examples that model a pre-shot routine that utilizes strong mental preparation.


  1. Start behind the ball analyzing the shot at hand. Figure out the highest percentage shot to play. Stand behind the ball and go through the mental checklist that will lead to a clear and decisive decision.


  1. Create a picture or a visual image. The stronger the image, the more focused and committed one becomes. This is an example of a clear, narrow path leading up to the pin.


  1. Carefully work into the ball making sure alignment is perfect. Notice the clubface and the attention to the target.


  1. Complete the set up.


  1. Without wasting time, execute the shot. Keep the focus clear and mental image on the desired outcome.

Creating the right mental attitude and building a strong mental foundation, is more important than hitting the club.  It takes practice and determination to strengthen the mind and utilize it to our fullest.

Mark Sheftic

Director of Instruction

Merion Golf Club