Here is a great exercise to practice that will increase the quality of ball strike and help to hit the ball much more consistently, rather than topping the ball or hitting the ball fat - ground first.
Whilst watching professional golfers hit iron shots on the television, we see the ball fly upwards and forwards having been struck correctly. Following the club drive through the ball, we always see an explosion of grass being struck out of the ground. This is called a divot.
Most golfers, when hitting an iron shot, do not do this. Instead of striking through the ball and into the ground, they tend to do two things. The first common shot is to hit into the ground early, taking a divot before hitting the golf ball. Here, the ground has been hit first and is often described as ‘heavy’ or a ‘fat’ shot. The ball does not travel very far as all of the energy created by the golfer disappears into the ground rather than into the golf ball, and can sometimes be quite painful!
The second popular shot performed by most golfers is a thin or a top shot where the ball is struck on a slight upswing, causing the ball to fly low with a very low or no ball flight, producing a stinging sensation in the fingers as the ball is contacted by the sharp leading edge of the golf club.
The ideal ball strike with an iron is one where the club head strikes down and through the golf ball, driving into the ball first and then hitting the ground, giving the golfer a correct, clean contact. This action forces the golf ball to ride up the loft of the club face, creating huge amounts of backspin and generating the launch angle for the ball to travel up and away into the air. When we see a good ball flight, it is this action that has caused it as the ball begins low and then rises into the air as the backspin is creating the lift rather than the standard up and down U shape shot that most golfers experience.
To set up this drill, use two tour sticks and place them side by side on the floor, approximately half an inch apart. Make sure that the two sticks are pointing directly at the target. Then place the ball on top of, and directly in the middle of, the two sticks. The ball should balance on them with no problems. The objective is to strike downwards through the ball and hit into the sticks. This action will create a great ball striking contact, yet, if the club hits the sticks first, it will bounce into the ball and create a miss hit, giving instant feedback on the ball strike.
Please note that this drill will not hurt physically or damage any golf clubs or the tour sticks. It will, however, help practice striking into the ball with better quality than before and improve the consistency of the shot.