“Oh, great,” you’re thinking. “The wind is blowing 20 mph, and I couldn’t keep the ball down if my life depended on it.”
Sure you can. You just need to understand what makes the ball fly low, and what adjustments will achieve the correct launch properties.
So, how are some golfers able to hit penetrating, laser-like shots that rip through a gale and reach the green? By de-lofting the clubface at impact. Their hands are ahead of the ball, the shaft tilted toward the target, the club approaching the ball on a descending angle with the face square.
Sound simple? It is. Follow these easy keys to hitting low shots when you need them:
- Ball back in your stance: A foolproof method for de-lofting the club. Simply play the ball an inch or two farther right in your stance, but don’t go beyond the center of your feet. (You’ll risk coming in too steeply.) The key is to keep your hands in the same position as you would for a normal shot – level with the inside of your left pocket, for instance – and make sure the clubface is square to the target line. Your normal swing should produce a lower trajectory.
- More club, less power: “When it’s breezy, swing easy,” goes one of golf’s most useful clichés. The worst thing you can do when playing into the wind is to force the issue by swinging harder, which adds backspin and height. Instead, play more club (a 7-iron instead of a 9) and make a smooth swing at 80-90% power. A low, boring shot with minimal spin will result.
- Stand farther away, finish low and around: Low-ball hitters usually have flat swing planes. A couple of quick adjustments will flatten your swing when the situation warrants. After taking your stance, shuffle back an inch or two from the ball while maintaining good knee flex. (Don’t bend over to reach the ball.) As you swing, visualize finishing with your hands at shoulder height and the club parallel to the ground. You’ll strike the ball at a shallower angle with an inside-to-out path.
Drilling waist-high punch shots may seem like an exercise in futility, but don’t give up until you’ve tried these tips. It’s a lot easier than you think.