Impact Bag Drill for Penetrating Golf Ball Flight

By Chuck Quinton, Master RST InstructorFULL BIO

Want to add a quick 10 yards to your shots and fix at least 4 common swing faults with one practice drill? Then scrounge together $20 and buy the best training aid for the money. The impact bag is probably one of the best training aids around for several reasons.

One, it helps return your focus to the only point of the golf swing that really matters - impact.

Two, it helps ingrain the proper sensations one should feel at impact. And three, it helps train you to use the bigger muscles in the golf swing to strike the ball.

That's a tall order for a training aid, espeically for something costs less than $20, but this one can do it all. In this video, I describe two very important, yet simple and effective drills for how to properly use the impact bag to strike the ball more with your core and train your body to be in a solid position at impact.

Using the impact bag is also one of the best ways to "winterize" your swing for those of you living in cooler climates. You can get just as much quality practice time indoors working with an impact bag as you can from hitting one hundred balls on the range.

Here are just a few key things that using the impact bag will help with:

  • Working with an impact bag and making 3/4 swings will help increase clubhead lag for golfers who tend to overswing and cast from the top. The impact bag helps return your focus to impact.
  • Working with the drills from the video will immediately help those who tend to cup their wrist through impact and hit with their hands.
  • Hitting the impact bag properly will help develop the sensation of keeping the arms passive and learning to aggressively hit with the body.
  • Once you learn how to use your body, you will be able to tap into increased power and compress the ball properly with less effort.

Look at the sequence below, they are from the video segment above. The goal that you want to achieve is to have your swing in the hitting area look identical when you are hitting the impact bag and when you are hitting the ball.

Many golfers will do it correctly when hitting the bag, but as soon as they start hitting the ball, their mindset changes and they return to their old habits. Strive to make the exact same swing when hitting the ball.

Note that I have retained the same amount of lag and my wrist has remained bowed the same amount in both swings. My body rotation is the same and I am in a very powerful position to strike the ball and the bag with my body.

impact bag drill

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Checkpoints for Practice

  • An impact bag is the ideal training aid for the one plane swing, especially for indoor practice during winter
  • Drill 1: Get into impact position and use core muscles (not arms & hands) to simply push the bag with the club
  • Drill 2: Practice full swings with the impact bag
  • Be sure to get proper impact position: Body open, arms back & connected to chest, forward shaft lean
  • Be very careful not to "slap" with your hands: Keep hands flat and rotate the body through the shot
  • Start with half shots to make sure you're not releasing with your hands, which can cause injury

Video Transcription: Impact Bag Drill

For years now, people have been asking me, "What's a great training aid for this one plane swing; this idea of swinging the club on the same plane? How do I get a good training aid that's going to help me do that consistently so I can practice, especially during the winter?"

The winter months are coming in for a lot of you guys up North. If you're looking for something that's going to help you maintain your swing and you're looking for some great contraption, the best thing that I've found for maintaining a golf swing is an impact bag.

Impact bagImpact bag

There's nothing better to give you all the proper sensations and teach your body naturally how to swing through the shot than an impact bag. It's so simple. You can buy these things for $20-30. You can buy them from my website. There's a link to Amazon to buy them from my website for $20.

They're absolutely the best bang for the buck, when it comes to a training aid, especially for the one plane swing.

The reason that they're so great is that, as I'm sure you know, the only point that really matters in the golf swing is impact. If the club face is square and it's coming in on the right path, etc., etc., the ball is going to go in the right direction.

One of the things that we need to learn how to do properly is how to get into this proper impact position, and the impact bag is perfect for that.

There are two drills that you can work on that are very, very simple drills, but very, very useful for helping you learn how to use your body in the shot.

Push with core musclesUse your core muscles, not your arms, to push the bag

The first one is just put the impact bag where your ball would be for your normal shot. This is where I would normally set up to the ball. What I want to do is simulate my impact position, so my body is rotated a bit more open here.

I'm pushing the bag, not with my arms and hands; you can see here that I'm trying to really push hard with my right hand. I'm pushing it with my core. My stomach is actually what's pushing this bag. I want to have the sensation that this part of my body - my hips, my core, my chest, everything - is what's moving this bag, rather than trying to push it with my arms and hands.

What that's going to do is give you the proper sensation of how you should be using your body through impact to hit the ball.

Release with the handsDrill 2: Release with the hands

Of course with the heavier object, the impact bag, which in my case weighs several pounds, I can't move it very easily with my arms and hands. I have to use my body to rotate through it.

Of course, when you put a golf ball in the way, the golf ball weighs an ounce and a half, so it allows you to cheat. You can flip at it and slap at it with your hands and get away with it, but you'll never have the same solid, easy, effortless impact that you will if you use your body correctly to rotate through the shot.

Just standing here getting into your address position and then just moving it with your core, your whole core, is the sensation you want to have during impact.

That's more of a static drill, to give you the sensation of using your core.

The other drill is actually making full swings. That's one of the nice things about this, is you can completely make a full golf swing into this impact bag, and as long as you do it correctly you shouldn't hurt yourself.

But be careful; you can hurt yourself. You've got to be careful that you don't make an improper swing and release your hands into impact and hurt your hands. I'll show what that looks like.

Proper impact positionProper impact position: Body open, arms connected to chest, forward shaft lean

In the impact area of the one plane swing, as we come into impact, we really want to use our body to come into impact. What a lot of golfers do is they use their hands. They're so used to using their hands to release the shot that you can actually really hurt your hands.

If you release this club head at full speed, at 100 miles an hour, into that bag, you will very, very seriously injure your hands. You need to make certain that as you come into impact you're doing it properly.

The proper impact position is this. As you come into impact your body is rotated open, your arms are back, arms connected into your chest, and the shaft is leaning forward.

Flat wristWrist is flat at finish

You don't want this motion, where you're releasing with your hands. That's a slap, weak motion, and that's what's going to cause you to get hurt. You want to come into this position where the shaft is leaning, your hands are flat, and the body rotating through the shot is what's releasing and hitting into the bag.

When you do this correctly, you should be able to move this bag several feet as you come into a full swing. Start out at first just by making little half swings to get the feeling of coming into impact like this, with your hands leading the club head.

You don't want the club head releasing in front of your hands. We're just coming into here, making little half swings. You'll notice that my finish - my wrist and everything is flat. The club head hasn't released out in front of my hands.

I'm wanting the butt of the club and my hands to lead the club head into impact. I don't want that club head passing me. I don't want to ever look like this, where I'm really trying to hit it hard with my hands and I'm fighting off this release with my hands.

I should finish more in a position like this, where I'm rotating through and the club head is still behind my hands.

Never do thisYou never want to look like this

As you get more comfortable making half swings and getting into this proper impact position and using your body to move this bag, then you should be able to go into it and start making full swings where you're coming back, making your full swing, and then hitting it with your core, using all your power of your body, the rotation of your body, to hit this bag.

You'll notice that, when coming through impact, I'm not releasing my hands. I'm not fighting it. I'm just using my body to turn and launch the bag.

I should have plenty of power as I go about doing this. Now, when I go in to start hitting a full shot, I want that same sensation at impact. Of course, as I'm making normal golf swings the club head is going to release fully. I'm going to come into a full follow through - the impact bag is obviously not there to stop that release.

But I still want the same sensations that we just talked about; this feeling of pushing the ball more with my core, hitting the ball with my core.

If you imagine that the ball weighs as much as the impact bag, you'll immediately stop slapping at it because it would be foolish to do so. All you want to do is just imagine that this ball is the impact bag; that it weighs the same amount, and you're using your body to hit through this shot.

Full swingOnce you're comfortable with the drill, move on to full swings

You just want to come back and you can start out just making little half swings. Just use your body to hit through that shot. Learn how to start doing this with half swings. Use the impact bag. Take it out to the driving range with you. I use it every day when I teach.

Start hitting half shots with it, and then get up to where you can get into that same solid, powerful impact position in your full swing. Then start putting golf balls there and start hitting the ball the same way as you did the impact bag, and watch your power increase dramatically.

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