For many amateur players, the clubs get packed away once the weather turns cold and golf takes a backseat until spring. However, for those looking to level up their game during the winter months, the offseason presents a prime opportunity. Away from the pressure of a scorecard, golfers can dedicate time to honing their putting, full swing technique and engraining good mechanics through repetition.
An excellent training aid to incorporate is the impact bag. The impact bag allows golfers to groove their impact position and aequenxce of mortion. By taking slow, intentional practice swings, players can self-diagnose flaws and ingrain the feeling of an efficient, powerful motion into muscle memory.
In this post, we’ll highllight five benefits of working on your swing with an impact bag this offseason, recommend some options and where to buy them. To be clear, this advice is good for any time of year, but we’re highlighting some drills that you can add to your training plan to keep improving, even when unable to hit full shots. I have been fortunate enough to get out a few hours a week and continue my Club Focused Instruction (CFI) training, but am using an impact bag indoors when weather is prohibitive.
As always, we’ll link some further reading that can give you some good ideas for home and offseason practice, as well as some videos on how to use an impact bag. In the Videos section, I linked my favorite swing drill, which essentially takes the concept of an impact bag and applies it to hitting a golf ball, “Hit Hard, Stop Quick.”
Why You Need An Impact Bag
An impact bag is an invaluable training aid for developing an efficient impact position and ingraining proper swing sequencing. As your club makes contact with the bag, the abrupt deceleration forces you to freeze at the bottom of the downswing. This allows you to assess critical impact alignments like spine angle, balance, wrist conditions and weight shift that are otherwise difficult to feel in a free-flowing swing.
An impact bag provides a platform to rehearse ideal impact mechanics through purposeful practice. Grooving an on-plane delivery with matched face and path promotes centralized contact for increased accuracy. Learning to apply force efficiently against resistance also translates to added yardage.
Solid impact with the bag confirms you are moving in sync, with the lower body leading the downswing and arms extending fully into the ball. The instant feedback trains your muscles and motor system to sequence the proper kinetic chain for maximum power.
- Provides instant feedback on clubface position at impact.
- Ingrains proper impact position, teaches correct wrist angles and weight shift.
- Promotes the feeling of a synchronized and connected swing.
- Portable and durable. Can be used at driving range or home, indoors or outdoors.
- The bag can be used in other drills, with and without the ball – extending its utility (see the Videos section).
Impact Bag – Buying Guide
When selecting an impact bag, key factors to consider are durability, weight, and any included targets or features. Most bags are made of heavy-duty vinyl or canvas material to withstand repeated strikes. Many feature printed targets to provide swing feedback and alignment aid. Additional aspects that vary by model are water-resistance, carrying handles, anti-recoil panels to keep the bag in place, and supplemental training content or videos.
Evaluate your needs and usage, from recreational practice to high-volume training, when deciding on size, padding, and longevity. Prioritize stability and clubface feedback over maximum cushioning. Price often simply reflects brand names and extras like videos over fundamental functionality. With proper care, most bags in the $30-100 range will improve your ball-striking.
The Basics – Setup and Usage
To set up the bag, place towels, pillows, sheets or other soft materials inside to provide some cushioning and weight. The bag should be filled firmly but not overly stuffed or heavy. I used old rags, t-shirts, and throw pillows to achieve a bag that is stable and firm with some give to it. One thing of note – I tend to use old clubs when working with the impact bag, rather than putting stress on my current set.
Place it on the ground, positioned about halfway between your stance line and front foot, angled back towards your trail foot. The printed target on the bag, if there is one, should face the intended ball position. To utilize it, take your normal setup and swing, making contact with the bag at the bottom of your downswing.
Do not try to follow through to finish – we are training impact position here. The bag will stop your swing abruptly, freezing you in the impact position so you can assess elements like weight shift, arm extension and shaft lean. You can take this feeling further when hitting balls, by working on the “Swing Hard, Stop Quick” drill – tutorial is in the Videos section. To me, it’s the logical next step and I advocate switching between the two when the opportunity presents.
Impact Bag Drills
Now let’s look at some great impact bag drill videos from top instructors. We’ll see proper utilization focusing on aspects like matched face and path for centralized contact, fully releasing the trail side for maximum power, and getting connected to your core. Pay attention to both setup and swing mechanics when striking the bag. With some dedicated practice, you can ingrain positions and feels for consistent, powerful impact.
The Practice Manual
by Adam Young
Summary: The Practice Manual is an acclaimed golf instruction book by coach Adam Young that provides golfers an A-Z guide for effective practice by integrating techniques based on motor learning research and neuroscience. It sets out optimal methods for engraining skills long-term, structuring productive training sessions, and hacking the brain for faster improvement with drills, theory and concepts useful for any player or coach. The manual’s action plan establishes achievable goals within a practice regime through its holistic and thorough techniques transferable on and off the course. This innovative guide has become an international bestseller for its groundbreaking approach marrying science and quality instruction to foster lifelong golfing success.
Understanding the Golf Swing
by Manuel de la Torre
Summary: Manuel de la Torre was a leading teacher of Ernest Jones’s swing principles, emphasizing a simpler approach focused on developing a true swinging motion rather than complex body movements. The book covers the philosophy of the golf swing, analysis of ball flights, techniques for special shots like pitching and chipping, the mental side of golf, and understanding golf courses. It argues that if the club is swung properly, the body movements will take care of themselves, so golfers should focus on the motion of the club rather than their bodies. The book blends golf philosophy and practical advice for golfers of all levels, from beginners to professionals.
Club-Focused Golf Instruction
by Edward LeBeau
Summary: Club-focused golf instruction focuses on the golf club motion rather than body motion, an approach used by only 5% of instructors. This method, championed by Hall of Fame instructors Ernest Jones and Manuel de la Torre, allows faster learning and better play. LeBeau combines de la Torre’s expertise with educational principles into a powerful instruction manual bringing together decades of club-focused instruction experience. Scientific studies have verified club-focused instruction’s superiority for improving player performance over traditional body-focused methods.