Here’s Where to Focus Your Eyes When Hitting a Golf Ball
Written by Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8

Updated on December 12, 2023

The other day I got an email from a reader asking where to focus their eyes when hitting a golf ball. I thought about it for a while because I focus my attention on the impact zone at address. I go into autopilot, and follow my pre-shot routine, then induce my golf swing.

The reality is that your eyes should follow your clubhead from impact through to the top of your upswing. That helps you get your body in a position that launches the ball high along your target line.

In this post, I’ll explain where you can focus to maximize your power, distance, and accuracy.


How Your Eye Focus Impacts Your Shot

Where you focus your attention does not necessarily determine the outcome of your shot. Of course, that is prompted by the position of your clubface relative to the target line through impact. However, it does help you focus on achieving the desired shot shape and flight.

Look at it as a golfer’s meditation. You clear your mind of every thought and envision the shot you intend to play. This eliminates negative thoughts of poor shot execution and landing in the water or a bunker. Instead, it offers clear vision and puts you into the zone.

My vision work focuses directly behind the equator of the golf ball. This aligns my eyes with the impact zone, precisely where I wish to see the sweet spot of the clubface before contact. From there, I follow the clubhead to the top of my upswing. This motion produces optimal launch, and I find it is easier to clear my hips through impact.


Keep Your Down Until Impact

My late father always preached to keep my head down and follow-through, which confused me. When I kept my head down and followed through I consistently hooked the ball. That’s because it felt awkward clearing my hips through impact.

As I gained more experience, I realized it helped to keep my head still on my backswing and downswing. However, when the clubhead reached the impact zone, I turned my high visual acuity to the clubhead. I would watch the clubface strike the ball and follow it in the air. This requires optimal timing of your body movement to keep every element synchronized.

Not only did this improve my consistency, but it also made it easier to find my ball. Especially when I generated a slice into the left-hand rough.

Therefore, I suggest keeping your head down until your clubhead reaches the impact zone. Then follow the clubhead through to the top of your upswing.


Where to Focus Your Eyes to Hir a Draw

If you want to learn how to hit a draw, you should follow our step-by-step guide. This tip is to help you get into the zone before hitting a right to left shape if you are a right-hand golfer.

Golf coach Clay Ballard suggests employing eye dominance to the back right side of the golf ball. This is to help you envision swinging along an inside-out line with a closed clubface. Swinging your club along this line will start the ball to the right and curve it left towards your target:


Where to Focus Your Eyes For a Fade

You should set your eyes on the back left side of the golf ball to compose yourself to strike a fade. Opposite to a draw. You must swing the club from outside to inside and connect the ball with an open clubface.

Turning your attention to this part of the ball makes it easier to visualize bringing the club in from the outside inwards. Your swing path and the angle of the clubface at contact start the ball left and fade it right towards the flag.


Where to Focus Your Eyes For a Straight Shot

You watch the left side of the ball to induce a draw and the right for a fade. That leaves the center of the golf ball. This is where Ballard suggests focusing your attention on producing straight shots.

Focusing on this spot encourages you to deliver a square path and clubface through impact, leading to straighter shots and more time on the fairway.


Where to Focus Your Eyes For a Bunker Shot

When I’m in the bunker, my focus shifts slightly. Instead of paying attention to an area of the ball, I focus on the sand. The aim in that scenario is to strike the sand before my ball. That helps me get under it and impart spin on the dimples. A common fault by amateurs is not committing to your bunker shot and being afraid to take sand.

If you strike your golf ball cleanly out of the sand trap, you lose control and generally fly the ball well past the cup. The quantity of sand that you take before your ball depends on the type of shot you wish to play and how far you are from your target.

When there is limited green to work with, you want to take at least 2-inches of sand. Conversely, on longer bunker shots, an inch or less is sufficient to generate sufficient ball speed for the given distance.


Where to Focus Your Eyes When Putting

The difference between a good player and a high handicap golfer is their putting skills. Superior golfers roll more putts in and possess a killer up and down record. Besides their ability to read greens and produce magical touches with a wedge and putter, they visualize each shot.

Golf Coach Todd Kolb recommends that his students always start their putting setup with their lead eye on the back center of the golf ball. In other words, if you are left-handed, that would be your right eye:

I recommend this tip is to set your eyes up for a straighter stroke with limited face twisting. As a result, it helps you strike the ball with a square putter face at impact to start your golf ball on its intended line.

That is not to say other techniques do not work. I, for one, prefer looking directly down onto my golf ball. I find that this position keeps everything aligned. However, you may find that focusing inside or outside the line works.

I suggest following Kolb’s advice for starters and seeing how you get on. If that doesn’t work, you can try the other setups to identify the most comfortable option.

Once you have determined the ideal eye position, I recommend marking the relevant points on an alignment stick to help you consistently practice this setup.


What Do The Pros Do

Focus on The Whole Ball – Jack Nicklaus

The player with more major titles than any other in history explained that he didn’t waste time with a part of the ball. Word is that he was interested in seeing the entire thing. That was enough to visualize his shot, execute, and lift trophy after trophy.

This is different from Clay Ballard’s advice for amateurs, who need to scale down their target for improved results.

Look Ahead of The Ball – Annika Sorenstam

Annika does not tell others how to swing a golf club, but maybe we should listen to her. The highest-earning LPGA Tour player clearly knows how to operate. She found that looking ahead of the ball through impact produced the most consistent results.

Focusing a few inches ahead of your golf ball encourages you to take a divot after impact. This promotes a cleaner striker for consistent distance and accuracy.

Look at The Logo of The Ball – Tiger Woods

Golf Magazine explains that Tiger fixates on the logo of his golf ball to ensure maximum concentration. They note that when the big cat is on the driving range, he alters the setup of the golf ball to reflect the logo in varying positions. This enables him to zero in on the spot where he wants to connect the golf ball.

The idea behind this method is to reduce the size of the target. This helps you to reduce the severity of your misses. That is why it helps to pick a spot, focus on it, and visualize executing the ideal strike.


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Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8