As with anything in golf, there are many factors that determine where to focus your eyes when hitting a golf ball. Some of it depends on personal tendencies, but ultimately it comes down to the individual and your own preferences.
I’ll share some recommendations to try for yourself, things that I’ve personally found useful over the years. I think one of the most important aspects of this approach is consistency and mental focus.
But honestly, I personally made the absolute simplest change not too long ago, and it dramatically helped my iron play!
Where to look when hitting driver
There are a few approaches here, so it really depends on whether you are struggling with one aspect of your game or another to consider trying these suggestions.
Focus behind the ball to maximize the launch angle
Do you ever hit the ball a mile high and only 100 yards off the tee with your driver? It’s an embarrassing shot, and I’ve certainly hit my share! Personally, I’ve found my “focus point” also tends to be the low point with my swing.
With your driver, you want the low point to be behind the ball, ensuring. you are swinging up on the ball at impact. If you hit under the ball at times, it is typically a result of hitting down on it. That sounds counter-intuitive…but the point is, your club is going under the ball.
Try focusing behind the ball to correct this.
I have actually started looking as far back as an inch or two behind the ball with my driver. I’ll actually look at the alignment mark on my driver, then as soon as I start to take the club away, I’ll keep my eyes focused on the grass below that spot.
It is a bit odd at first, but it has helped me quite a bit to improve launch angle.
Correcting a Hook or Slice?
First, let’s think about the golf ball in four quadrants. With an overhead view, from the picture above, think about the ball being split down the middle, both up and down, and right to left.
If you struggle with a slice and hit the ball out-to-in, consider looking at the back/bottom portion of the ball.
Conversely, if you struggle with a hook and hit the ball too much in-to-out, you might try to look at the back/upper portion of the ball.
You’ll need to experiment a bit with your own swing and see what works for you. I have experienced problems hooking the ball, but I’ve found it more helpful to focus behind the ball than to look at one of the quadrants.
Where to look when hitting irons
Just like with a driver, there are a few options here that you might consider. I’ll share what I’ve found particularly helpful for myself.
Focus on the front of the ball to stop hitting it fat
I don’t have to tell you how frustrating it is to hit a fat shot. Nasty divot goes flying, maybe even hurts your forearms a bit! Ball travels halfway to the distance you wanted…just sucks!
Speaking of distance – Check out my recommendations on the best balls for distance.
Well, if you struggle with this, consider looking at the front of the ball. This has helped me a TON!
If you focus your eyes on a dimple right at the front of the ball, you may find that you strike the ball perfectly downward, taking a divot in front of the ball….like you’re supposed to with irons!
This tends to work for me really well with any iron shot that is outside of the edge of the green.
Focus on the back of the ball for a bump and run
Maybe it’s just me, but I find it helpful to focus on the back center of the golf ball when I’m really close to the green. I think with the slower shot, I need to prevent duffing it and this has helped quite a bit.
Basically, it the opposite side of the focal point above.
Again, I’d recommend experimenting on the practice green or range to figure out what works for you.
Where to focus on the ball when putting
This is another one that probably needs some experimentation and you figuring out what works best for your own game.
Personally, I look at the center of the golf ball when putting. I find a dimple right in the middle and try to focus completely on that spot.
If you have problems following through, maybe focus on the front of the ball.
You might try to focus your eyes on the back of the ball as well. Go to the practice green and give them a try, figure out which focal point works for you best.
Frequently asked questions
Everyone’s golf swing is different. How you strike the ball and the thoughts that go through your head prior to are unique. I feel strongly that it is important to experiment and figure out what works best for you. This video from Clay Ballard does a great job of explaining a bit more on this topic!
If you have additional thoughts on the topic please share your feedback, I’d love to hear from you!
Good luck on the golf course!