Improve Your Ball Striking (Week 3)

Welcome back to the third episode of GSL Podcast about Becoming a Better Ball Striker. 

This week, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Trillium Rose. Trillium is the Director of Instruction at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland. Her list of awards and accolades as an instructor is lengthy, to say the least. To name just a couple, she’s been recognized by Golf Digest as one of “The 50 Best Teachers in America” and a “Top 50 Master Kids Teacher” by U.S. Kids Golf. Clearly, her résumé speaks for itself. We’re incredibly lucky to share a few valuable minutes with her in this episode.


What Makes a Great Ball Striker?

One of the questions we like to ask at the beginning of the conversation is how instructors define good ball striking. 

To Trillium, good ball striking is “a predictable pattern… and that can have very different looks… ball flight that is predictable… even if that means people aren’t hitting it in the center of the clubface every time.” She’s also quick to point out that not everyone “is going to have the nine-shot shapes on demand.” 

Teaching Philosophy

In her teaching, her main goal is to “help people figure out what their tendencies are… this can help you make some better decisions.” 

When Trillium thinks about the best ball strikers on Tour, she says “everyone has the potential to win any given tournament… But at the amateur level, it’s easy to spot someone who is really struggling on the range.” 

The Importance of Data

Trillium also recognizes the importance of gathering data for students in order to help them get better. She uses a launch monitor in almost every one of her lessons. At the most basic level, she insists that “you need to know your carry distances.” The second most important piece of quantifiable data is dispersion. How far left or right are you missing your target?

Additionally, she makes the point that for most people, there’s a clear distinction between their range game and what reality is on the course. “A lot of people think their range game is better than it is… they’re not really looking at what their ball is doing… you can’t just pick the best ones (from the range) and say, ‘I’m good’”. 

– If you’re interested in gathering real-time data during your practice and play, you don’t have to spend $30,000 on a TrackMan. We’ve had tremendous success with the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor – one of the best, most affordable launch monitors on the market. 

Have a Go-To Shot

While we all watch the best players in the world move the ball in both directions on demand, Trillium is a proponent of having a single, predictable shot shape that you can rely on. “It’s dangerous for people to go down a path where they’re trying to do too many things… They lose feel… Golf is hard enough.” 


Other metrics that Trillium considers in her teaching are things like clubhead speed and ball speed. Maximizing clubhead speed at impact is going to help you gain more distance. Ball speed gives direct feedback on solid contact. Both metrics are crucial in becoming a better ball striker. 

Another important number is launch angle, especially with wedges. Good wedge players have launch angles under 30 degrees. “High spin and low trajectory” are hallmarks of all good wedge players – “one hop and stop.” 

Saving the Data and Figuring it Out

With all the information that’s available via launch monitors, it’s all too important to save data. This is something Trillium stresses so that “you can see what you’re doing over time… Benchmarking… Have you improved, stayed the same?”

Interpreting the data can be tricky. Trillium says that your first set of data should be your baseline. Once you have that established, you can, for example, see “that you’ve hit no greens with your 3-wood… spend some time working on that club.” The key is to make your practice and data-gathering routine ritualistic and consistent. 

Done properly, you should be able to identify trends about your strengths and weaknesses fairly quickly. In turn, that should inform which areas of your game you need to tighten up. 

Making Your Practice Fun

Let’s face it, hitting 7-irons on the range by yourself for hours on end is pretty boring. That’s why Trillium is a huge advocate of practicing with other people. “If you can get a buddy and have a little competition… it holds you accountable… and makes the process more enjoyable.” 

It’s also important to focus on one thing at a time. “Keep your goals and intentions simple.” This allows you to give yourself feedback based on your plan. Having a clear, concise practice plan is of the utmost importance. 

What does having a plan look like? It might be something as simple as “warming up so I don’t pull a muscle… or having good tempo… or balance… or making sure I get some rotation in my pelvis because my hips are tight.” The point is, even the simplest of plans are better than no plan, or intention at all. In fact, simpler is often better. The key is “Intentional instead of reactive.” 

Efficiency is Important

The reality is that your time is probably limited by life’s obligations. In that light, it’s imperative to be efficient with your practice. You don’t need to add time to your practice and training, you need to maximize the time you have available. Trillium “loves getting the most out of practice… seeing results… making the most of your time.”  Don’t forget to “practice how you play.”

Final Thoughts

Trillium is a wealth of practical, applicable information. 

Based on our conversation, she emphasizes the importance of data that can be provided by technology like the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor

In order to become a better ball striker, you need to have, understand, and efficiently apply the information that’s readily available thanks to technology.

However, there’s a fine line between becoming robotic and mechanical on your journey to improve, and adapting to the ever-changing conditions you find during a round of golf. 

Yes, there’s a time for “block practice” of working on a specific drill or sensation. And yes, there’s game time on the course for creativity and adaptability. The key is striking the right balance. 

We can’t thank Trillium enough for hanging out with us here on episode three of the Becoming a Better Ball Striker series of the GSL Podcast. Her insight is invaluable, accessible, and refreshing to say the least. 

As always, thanks for tuning in. If you have thoughts or questions, please let us know in the comments below. See you next time!

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If you want to get in touch with Trillium or find out more about the great work she’s doing you can find her at the following social handles:


The First Step: