Striking a golf ball solid can be elusive at times. I often find the biggest culprit is the amount of lateral movement throughout the entire swing. Simply put, the distance the head moves back away from the target during the back swing can adversely affect the chances of solid impact. In the last few years there has been a lot of discussion about this topic. The discussion was brought to the forefront when the Stack and Tilt method of hitting a golf ball introduced the idea that the overall weight during the swing should stay centered with more emphasis on the front foot. This gives the address position and swing a forward (toward the target) leaning appearance. Compared to the Traditional swing method that encourages the golfer to move the weight back as the swing is initiated, placing more weight on the back foot at the top of the back swing. Which is correct?
I do not think either method should be followed as a rule. While the proper point of impact requires that a significant amount of weight be on the front foot regardless of the method, every golf swing is different and the swing changes needed to better the point of contact is often different. However, the tendency for many average golfers is to move the weight back (away from the target), which makes the downswing difficult to properly time. With that, the Stack and Tilt method warrants merit. The method suggests that if so much weight needs to be on the front foot at impact, then why move back (away from the target) when the swing is started? I agree. But the level at which this is adhered depends entirely on the swing tendencies for the individual golfer.
As I mentioned before, many golfers move away from the target during the back swing. As a result the heel of the front foot lifts off the ground. Often when the heel lifts the hips slide away from the target with very little turn. When the hips slide away from the target the swing path generally moves away from the body making the hands rise above the swing path, creating an outside-in path. This scenario most often creates a fade or slice.
A good practice session includes hitting balls with the front foot solid on the ground. If the front foot had typically lifted, holding it solid will immediately keep the overall balance more centered and create a more downward motion toward the ball. This drill will also move the bottom of the swing further forward so that any divot is in front of the ball.
After working through the timing issues created by the new impact position the second step is to turn the back hip (right hip for right handed golfers) when the swing starts. A good thought when starting the backswing is to feel like the shoulders, hips, and hands all start at the same time while keeping the front foot planted on the ground. The back hip should turn and essentially move away from the ball. Think of a swivel motion with the head or chest as the center point. Turn. Do not sway or slide away from the target.
By turning the hips and holding the front foot solid on the ground will keep the body more centered. The added emphasis on the hip turn during the take away will allow the hands to naturally stay lower and on plane. Keeping the hands low is a key fundamental to striking the ball from the inside and promoting a hook or draw ball flight. So anchor the swing on the front foot and turn the hips for better balance and more solid impact.