Cover the ball golf swing

Gary Alliss explains how covering the ball better will lead to pure ball striking.

Cover the ball golf swing

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Gary Alliss explains why you should make a cover the ball golf swing - a simple technical key but one we often get wrong!

Cover the ball golf swing

If you are a keen watcher of professional golf on the TV, you will sometimes hear commentators explain how the best players in the world, ‘cover the ball’ through impact.

When we use this phrase, what we are referring to is the way the player retains his posture and spine angle through impact. It is one of the most important elements to good ball striking.

There is no lifting or dipping of the upper body but a simple rotation around the angle of the spine, which remains constant from set up, through to impact. As the player keeps his sternum over the golf ball through the impact area, he is effectively covering the ball for better strikes.

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If you can master this, not only will your ball striking become sweeter but you’ll also swing the club on a better line to produce more consistent shots. To see what I mean, just take a look at the way Henrik Stenson swings the golf club.

As you impact the ball, the butt end of the club should be ahead of the hands and head of the club through the impact zone. This is a pre-requisite for hitting crisp, solid iron shots.

The move described above results in the club head compressing the ball into the ground, ensuring a divot is taken after the ball, not during or before.

The final component in the search for pure ball striking is controlling the clubface through impact. In short, the club face MUST be square at the moment of impact.

Many golfers have an open club face at impact, causing miss-hits that lack power and distance. What we are looking for is the clubface to rotate from open (pre impact) to square (at impact) to slightly closed (post impact).

The timing of this face rotation through impact is what determines ball striking quality. Proper practice can and will improve this timing, and make you a purer iron player.


Try this!

Stand upright at address, then, keeping your back straight, set your upper body over the ball by bending at the hips.

Then flex your knees so that you are in an athletic position. This is the solid posture you should set at address and then look to retain.

Thomas Patrick Clarke
Sports Digital Editor

Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 being promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014, before becoming Sports Digital Editor for the Sport Vertical within Future in 2022. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including Strategy and Content Planning for the website and social media - Tom also assists the Cycling, Football, Rugby and Marine titles at Future. Tom plays off 16 and lists Augusta National (name drop), Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.