No matter how you swing the golf club, only one position matters in the swing – impact. Your impact position is the moment of truth and will determine how the ball flies.
If you come into impact with an open clubface and straight path, you will hit a cut or slice. If you come into impact (aka the strike zone) with a closed face and left path, you’ll hit the dreaded pull hook. Or, a square club face with a straight path leads to a ball in a straight line toward your target.
Impact is everything!
Luckily, there is a training aid that has been around for decades that can help you get into a better impact position every single swing. They are known as golf impact bags and are one of the most trusty devices that can do wonders for your golf swing.
Keep reading to learn more about the best golf impact bag drills for a more consistent and powerful golf swing.
Golf Impact Bags 101
Impact bags, also known as smash bags, are one of the oldest and best training aids in the golf world and have stood the test of time. They rank right there alongside other classic game improvement tools like the Momentus Swing Trainer and classic wrist trainers.
Before getting into the best drills to use with impact bags, let’s first talk about why they’re such a great tool for solid contact. Here are three reasons why every golfer should invest in one of these bags for better practice and a more consistent swing.
Improves Your Impact Position
Obviously the name of the bag gives it away but it’s easy to forget that only one position truly matters in the golf swing. It’s not where the club is once it’s parallel on the backswing or at the top of your swing – it’s impact.
As Butch Harmon, one of Tiger Woods’ first golf coaches said in a Golf.com article. “We can go down to our greatest players of all time; nobody’s going to teach you to swing like Arnie, or Jack with his flying right elbow; Lee Trevino aiming 50 yards to the left and hitting it to the right,” he said. “You don’t have to have a perfect swing to play golf. The secret to playing golf is to get the clubface on the right path and square at impact. That’s it.”
Impact bags are great for helping you square the face at impact and groove a consistent golf swing. It doesn’t matter how you get into that position, whether it’s an inside or outside takeaway, strong grip or weak grip. All that matters is what the club face is doing at the bottom of the swing.
Ingrain Proper Feel
One of the biggest moves in the golf swing so many players struggle with is the weight shift. Too many players either reverse pivot or leave too much of their weight on their back leg. This leads to hitting a lot of shots thin or fat.
While great ball strikers make sure to shift the majority of their weight to the lead leg. This move happens at the start of the backswing, which allows you to almost step into the downswing. Then you can open your hips and maximize power with every golf club in the bag.
The impact bag can help you feel that weight shift and ensure that your hands are ahead of you (known as forward shaft lean). When the club shaft is ahead of the hands it will lead to compression and actually delofting the golf club, a move that is common among top ball strikers.
Effective Practice At Home
Finally, an in impact bag is such a great tool in your arsenal as you can use it at home without hitting golf balls. Or take it to the practice facility too.
Even if you don’t have a mat/net or full on golf simulator at home, this bag can help you get in reps whenever you have time. This is great if you live in a place with cold winter months and don’t have an indoor driving range nearby.
The bag provides immediate feedback and how it moves can also identify if you would push or pull the shot. SKLZ makes a lot of training aids and a smash bag too. Here’s what they said on their website about why this device is so effective.
“All you have to do is line up and swing, then take a look at the angle of the proprietary target map to see how you did. If your swing was true, the bag would remain aligned. If your swing misses the target or hits it at a skewed angle, the bag will retain the depression for further analysis. On the whole, the bag helps eliminate fat and thin shots and cure slices.”
Plus, they are affordable, super durable and work for a left and right-handed golfer.
Impact Bag Drills
As you can tell, there are a ton of benefits to this low-cost and durable training aid. Now, let’s get into the best drills so you can make the most of your new impact bag.
Mr. Short Game Golf, a top YouTube golf coach, provided five awesome drills in this video to help you make the most of your investment. We’ll explain how each of these can have a big “impact” on your game.
1. Push Forward Drill
The first impact bag drill is the most common way to use this device. With a mid-iron, set up to the bag like it’s a golf ball. The back of the bag (where the impact target is located) should be in the front/middle of your stance. Once you are set up, take a less than full swing and don’t try to swing hard like Bryson DeChambeau.
Like most training aids, you want to start slow and understand how to use it first before swinging hard. But even when you are expert with this device, avoid swinging super hard as you can damage the bag.
With this drill, the goal is to push the bag slightly forward with the club head; the more you can push the bag forward, the better. When you’re able to move the bag up several feet that means you’re getting more weight to your lead side.
It also means your hands are in front of the club head at impact and will compress the shot. This will help you create a forward shaft lean and get into a proper impact position.
Do this drill 10-15X whenever you need to feel a better weight shift for your golf game.
2. Between Your Feet Drill
The second impact bag drill is one you can do at the golf range.
Another training aid that is very popular is the Down Under 2.0 Board. This device rests between your feet and helps you learn how to use ground force to hit better golf shots. An impact bag can help you achieve the same feeling.
With an iron, set up like normal and set the impact bag between your feet. Try to squeeze the bag with your feet and lower legs during the swing. Having the bag in this position will help you stop swaying and rotate around your body.
The bag will help you understand how to use the ground and keep the body down through your entire swing. It will help provide the resistance to rotate around and through impact to finish your swing.
As the Down Under Board website said, “The best golfers in the world understand that you don’t just exert a vertical pressure down into the ground. The key is to also use a horizontal force. This is the feeling of squeezing the board with your feet, not just downward, but inward.”
If you’re someone that tends to move their weight instead of rotate around your body, this is a great drill. Plus, you don’t even need to hit a ball to ingrain this great feeling either. But you can hit balls too so it’s a win-win.
3. Backswing Drill
As Butch Harmon mentioned before, there are a lot of ways to get the club into a powerful impact position. But most golf instruction tries to teach a solid takeaway, not one that looks crazy like Matt Wolfe’s. The impact bag can also help with this so you can improve your takeaway and get the swing started out effectively.
With a mid-iron, place the impact bag directly behind the club at address. Then push it back and keep pushing it back with your takeaway. The shaft or hosel is the part of the golf club that should be pushing it back.
If you find the bag isn’t moving very much it’s likely because you’re whipping it too much with your hands. Instead, try to feel a one-piece takeaway and use your arms to push it back. Keep pushing it back until it’s out of the way (without resetting the bag off your front foot) to feel a proper takeaway.
Not only can this help your impact position, it can also help you reduce your slice too. One of the reasons so many players hit a slice is from sucking the club back too far on an inside path.
This typically leads to an over the top downswing and often with an open club face. If this sounds like you, this drill can do wonders for your backswing.
4. Downswing Slot Drill
While impact matters above all else, one way to get into a great position at the strike zone is with a great first move on the downswing. The best ball strikers in the world create lag and re-reroute the club to the inside on the way down. While most everyday golfers rotate with their upper body and get too steep on the downswing.
To swing like the pros and learn how to generate lag, use the bag to feel like you’re pulling the club down. Sergio Garcia, who has arguably the most lag in a golf swing, has said you want to feel like you’re pulling a chain down.
To understand this feeling better, drop your golf club and pick up the impact bag. Hold it underneath with the zipper on the top side. Then, rotate your shoulders to swing around your body and see how the bag feels when you start your downswing. While it’s not as heavy as pulling a chain, it should give you a clear idea of the feeling you want to create.
Since the bag weighs 5-10 pounds when fully loaded, it should feel like you’re dropping it down to the ground. Which should make your body feel like you’re pushing off the ground to generate maximum force.
There’s no limit to how often you can do this drill. If you hit a lot of slices and get too over the top on your downswing, the more you can do this drill the better!
5. Explosion Drill
The final impact drill is to use the bag like a large medicine ball at the gym. A lot of golfers like to do “wall slams” where they heave the ball against the wall to train their core. But the impact bag can also work for this and train your follow through.
Hold the bag like you did in the downswing slot drill and once you feel your feet press into the ground, push off and throw the bag to your left side. Obviously, you’ll need to make sure no one is around on the driving range or won’t damage anything at home.
Make sure and hit a garage wall and not accidentally throw it through a door frame. This drill will help you feel the power of getting your weight transferred effectively.
Explode and release the bag 10-15X to see how it feels. Then, make some practice swings or hit golf balls to see how much more effectively you can transfer your weight. It should lead to more distance and better contact.
After 15-20 swings, make practice swings or hit shots if you’re at the driving range to feel the club come more from the inside. The club will feel very light compared to the bag and should make it easy to shallow the club.
Next Step – Buy an Impact Bag
As you can tell, impact bags are incredibly versatile training aids that can help multiple parts of your game. Unlike other devices, you can use this for all aspects of your swing and even get a little workout with the explosion drill too.
Here are a few of our best picks to help you find a bag that can help train your swing.
- Veasears Golf Impact Bag: This budget option comes in yellow or black and comes with accessories as well.
- SKLZ Smash Bag Trainer: This bag works with full swings and is very durable thanks to the ultra durable ballistic nylon.
- Impact Bag Golf Swing Trainer: This bag by Dr. Gary Wiren is the classic impact bag and will help get you into a good impact position.
FAQs About Impact Bag Practice
Have more questions about using an impact bag and other ways to make the most of your practice time? If so, keep scrolling through our frequently asked questions and answers below.
How do you practice with a golf impact bag?
There are a ton of ways to use impact bags for practice. Use the five drills above to work on the area of your swing that needs the most attention. Impact is the most important part of the swing and these will help you start hitting better shots asap.
Does a golf impact bag work?
Yes, golf impact bags work great and can do wonders for your golf swing. Whether you need to improve your strike position, weight shift, or takeaway, these bags can help.
Can you use a driver on an impact bag?
No, do not use a driver with these bags; you should only use these bags with irons or wedges.
What should I put in my golf impact bag?
It’s best to fill your impact bag with clothes or old towels. While you could fill it up with sand, it’s not recommended and might make it too heavy to do some of the drills provided. Not to mention, if the bag does get a slight tear or hole, the sand would go everywhere.
By filling it up with towels or old clothes, you also will minimize the risk for injury too. Just remember, this isn’t a speed bag and you shouldn’t try to swing hard with this device. Otherwise, you could tear the bag and potentially injure yourself in the process.
Are impact bags worth it?
Yes, impact bags are definitely worth the small investment and have been part of the golf instruction world for decades. They’re worth it because you can do so many drills with them and they last for a long time thanks to the high quality design. Unless you swing too hard (which can bring potential injury), these can last you for years to come.
How can I improve my impact position in my golf swing?
Impact bags are great but there are other ways to get in a great strike zone position. One drill I do on the driving range is start from the impact position. I set up to the golf ball with my hands ahead, my hips rotated to the target, and my chest over the ball.
Then, I take the club back like normal and try to feel what I just felt. This is a good way to constantly remind yourself of what an ideal position looks like and try to replicate it with full swing shots.
Final Thoughts on Impact Bags
Impact bags can help you improve in the moment of truth like few other training aids can. A smash bag can help:
- Transfer your weight properly
- Understand how to use your left wrist and left arm in the swing
- Get into proper impact position and build muscle memory at home
- Create the same sensations of elite ball striking with hands leading the way (something most golfers don’t do)
While it can help you get into a powerful impact position, it’s also great for a handful of other drills. All of which will help you add distance, improve accuracy, and ingrain the feelings of a more consistent golf swing.
Not to mention, it’s one of the most affordable devices out there. Plus, you can use it at home or on the driving range. It’s stood the test of time in the golf world so clearly there are tons of benefits for the everyday golfer.
Invest in one of the bags above to help you groove a powerful golf swing for years to come.