Irons Flying Too Low Ball Too Far Back

There are plenty of situations that call for hitting a very low iron shot. A knock-down or punch shot into the wind, for example, or a bump-and-run along the ground.

While keeping the ball low can be a decided advantage in windy and/or firm conditions, it can also be a major detriment. Low-ball hitters often come up short of the target or fail to carry hazards. Other times, the ball's trajectory will send it scuttling over the green.

If you struggle to get the irons up in the air even when you hit them solidly, the first thing to check is your ball position. If it's too far back in your stance – i.e. to the right for a right-hander – you'll take loft off the club. Think of it this way: A standard 7-iron has 34° of loft, a 6-iron 30°, a 5-iron 26° or 27° and so on. Ideally, your hands should be about 2-3° ahead of the ball at address (and impact). If your hands are 4° ahead, you've effectively turned the 7-iron into a 6.

When this happens, your shots may start low and then nosedive – and that's no good.

As a basic rule, the correct ball position with a wedge is in the center of your stance. For each successively longer club, move it ½ inch closer to your left (lead) foot. So a 9-iron would be ½ inch forward of center, a 7-iron 1 ½ inch, a 5-iron 2 ½ inches, etc.

At the same time, your hands should be just slightly ahead of the ball with the shaft leaning toward the target. To check this, the club's handle should point just inside your left hip.

Ball position is a critical fundamental that's too often overlooked. It can affect not only the trajectory, but the direction and curve of your shots. Get the ball in the proper spot and your iron play will improve.

Irons Flying Too Low – Ball Too Far Back?

Irons Flying Too Low – Ball Too Far Back?

If you get the chance to attend a professional golf tournament in person, you will notice one thing right away – professional golfers hit the ball incredibly high. Unless they are trying to hit the ball low for some specific reason, such as keeping the shot out of the breeze, most pros launch the ball up into the sky with regularity. It is impressive to watch in person, and you can even notice it on television if you are paying close attention.

So why do pro golfers make a point of hitting the ball so high? Simple – high shots offer a number of advantages over low shots. For one thing, they usually travel further in the air, thanks to the high rate of backspin holding the ball up as it travels. Also, high shots stop quickly, meaning pros can aim for difficult pins and stop the ball before it bounces off into a bad spot. A high ball flight is not going to be the right choice for every situation, but it will work more often than not under normal conditions.

In this article, we are going to address the topic of hitting the ball high in the air with your irons. Well, to be more specific, we are going to talk about how you can avoid hitting the ball too low. If you can eliminate the errors in your swing which are causing the ball to travel low to the ground, naturally your shots will move higher in the air and you will enjoy the advantages mentioned above. As was stated in the title, playing the ball too far back in your stance is one possible cause of a low ball flight with your irons. However, there are more potential causes to consider, so we will look at a number of factors while analyzing this issue.

It is worth mentioning that you are unlikely to start hitting the ball as high as a professional golfer anytime soon – and that's okay. You don't need to hit extremely high shots to play well on the average golf course. As long as you are getting the ball up into the air enough to bring it down under control on the greens, you should be in good shape. It takes tremendous club head speed to hit the ball as high as the average professional golfer, and most amateurs simply don't possess that kind of power. Don't worry about forcing yourself to swing as hard as possible in order to get the ball higher in the air. Stick with a comfortable amount of effort in your swing and master the technique needed to get the ball a healthy distance off the turf.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Causes of Low Iron Shots

Causes of Low Iron Shots

As is the case with most golf swing problems, there are a number of potential causes of a low ball flight with your irons. Before you can fix this issue and move your shots higher into the air, you need to gain an understanding for why you are hitting the ball low in the first place. Take a bit of time to read through the following list of potential causes, and compare these possibilities to your own game. Which one do you think is at the heart of your issues?

  • Ball too far back in the stance. This is the issue mentioned in the title of the article, and it certainly can lead to low shots. When you place the ball too far back in your stance, you are going to lose some of the loft of the club at impact, because your hands will be significantly ahead of the ball. In other words, you will basically be turning a seven iron into a six iron – or even a five iron. This loss of loft is going to result in an extremely low launch angle, and it is going to make it difficult for you to get the ball up into the air. Also, you will be swinging on a steep downward plane, meaning you may have to give up a bit of your speed to avoid slamming the club into the turf. Any way you look at it, hitting shots with the ball too far back in your stance is going to make the game harder than it needs to be.
  • Lack of lower body motion. Using your lower body effectively, especially in the downswing, is one of the keys to good golf shots. If you fail to rotate your lower half through the shot, you aren't going to be able to generate as much speed as you would have with a good leg turn. Since speed is necessary to get the ball up in the air, your iron shots will fly low as a result of your arms-only swing. Until you learn how to use your lower half properly in the downswing, your iron shots are going to continue to travel low to the ground – and they will be difficult to control as a result.
  • Lack of release through the hitting area. Another way to produce low iron shots is to fail to use your right hand effectively through impact. While you do want to keep your right hand out of the action throughout the backswing and early in the downswing, there comes a point where it makes sense to fire the club aggressively through the ball. When the right hand fires through, speed is created and the club is able to use its full loft at impact. However, when the back of the left hand drags through the hitting area instead, a low shot will be struck. Giving your right hand the freedom to help at the moment of impact will not only encourage your ball to fly higher, it will help you hit longer shots as well.
  • Failure to follow through. Often, this point is connected to the previous point about failing to release the club through impact. If you don't have much of a follow through in your swing, the ball will almost always fly low to the ground. As a good rule of thumb, you should try to follow through on your shots in the same way that you want the ball to fly through the air. In other words, if you want to hit a high shot, you should have high hands at the end of your swing. Or, if you want to keep the ball down, hold your hands low in an abbreviated finish.
  • Using the wrong equipment. Sometimes, it is as simple as having the wrong clubs in your hands. If your set of irons features shafts which are too heavy and stiff for your swing, it will be a chore to get the ball off the ground in any significant way. Should you suspect that your clubs are getting in the way of a quality golf swing, head to a local golf shop for a club fitting session right away. A professional club fitter will be able to tell you whether or not your clubs are a good match for your needs. If they are not, you can get down to work on finding a set which will allow your ability to shine through.

As you can see, there are a few different ways in which you can wind up with a low ball flight on your iron shots. No matter what it happens to be that is causing you to hit the ball low, the next step is to figure out how to fix it. Problems in your golf game don't tend to repair themselves on their own – you have to put in the work in order to come out as a better player at the end of the day.

Setting Up for a High Shot

Setting Up for a High Shot

The address position you use in golf is always going to have a major impact on the kind of shot you can hit. It is important that you stand over the ball properly each time if you want to be a consistent ball striker. Specifically, you need to stand over the ball in a way which is going to promote a high flight – assuming that is what you are trying to accomplish.

To build a stance which will help you add elevation to your shots, review the tips below.

  • Place the ball between the middle and the front of your stance. The precise ball position you want to use for your $iron shots is going to depend on the club you are holding at the time. Using a wedge? Play the ball perfectly in the middle of your stance. Hitting a five iron? Move the ball up to a point where it is halfway between the middle of your stance and the inside of your left foot. Ball position is very important in golf, and it is perhaps most important when talking about iron shots. Take time to work on this simple but crucial fundamental during practice so you can avoid any costly mistakes on the course.
  • Engage your lower body at address. Earlier, we mentioned that the lower body is important to hitting high golf shots, as you need to rotate through the downswing properly to create plenty of speed. One of the best ways to make sure you can rotate nicely on the way down is to start the swing with your legs engaged and ready to work. That means flexing your knees at address, at least enough to require your large leg muscles to get involved. Too many amateur golfers stand straight up and down at address, and they aren't able to incorporate their entire body into the swing as a result. You should feel like you are in a partial sitting position as you get ready to swing, with your knees flexed and your backside sticking out behind you.
  • Avoid a closed stance. A large number of golfers set up to the ball with a closed stance in an effort to avoid hitting a slice. While it is obviously important to steer clear of the slice, you would be better served to fix your swing mechanics to do just that. If you try to get rid of the slice by closing your stance, you are going to place a number of limitations on your game – including how high you can hit the ball with your irons. Golfers who use a closed stance usually trap the ball at impact, delofting the club as they move through the hitting area. You might be able to make decent contact this way, but you are never going to hit the types of high iron shots you need to attack the pin with regularity. Play from a square or slightly open stance and correct your mechanics as necessary from that point in order to eliminate the slice.

It is hard to hit high iron shots if you set up with your body in the wrong position at address. Fortunately, building a good stance is something that is within the reach of every golfer, no matter of skill level. It doesn't take any specific talent to create a solid stance – you just have to be willing to spend some time focused on this detail of your game. Work on your stance during your next trip to the range – or even at home in front of a mirror – and your golf game will be better for the effort.

How to Use High Iron Shots

How to Use High Iron Shots

There are a number of hurdles which need to be cleared in order for you to improve your golf game. First and foremost, you have to make the technical or mechanical changes necessary to hit better shots. In this case, you need to make whatever adjustments are required in your swing to hit the ball higher in the air with your irons. Once that work is done, you might think you are 'home free' in terms of playing better golf – but that kind of thinking would be premature.

Even after you have improved your technique, you still need to learn how to use your new shots on the course. This is an important, yet often overlooked, piece of the puzzle. Countless golfers just walk up to the first tee without any plan in mind, assuming their new shots will translate to lower scores. Most of the time, these golfers leave the course disappointed. If you are going to see your newfound ability to hit the ball high turn into a better score at the end of the day, you need to have a plan.

Using high iron shots effectively comes down to a few basic points, which are outlined below.

  • Be smart, and patient. You might feel rather confident about your ability to attack the flag now that you can toss the ball high into the sky with your irons. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that confidence – you should go after the flag when the time is right. However, you have to balance that aggression with smart thinking and plenty of patience. When there are no significant hazards to worry about on an approach shot, go ahead and take aim at the flag. On the other hand, if there is water nearby, or even a deep bunker, you would be wise to play toward the middle of the green for safety. You can quickly wipe out a couple of birdies with a single double bogey, so don't let over-aggression ruin an otherwise good round of golf.
  • Watch the wind carefully. This might go without saying, but you need to monitor the wind more closely now that you are hitting higher shots. Iron shots that fly high into the air are affected more by the wind than those which travel low to the ground – this an obvious, but important point to remember. Not only do high shots have more time in the air during which they can be affected, but they also have a higher spin rate. That higher spin rate is going to make the shot more vulnerable to head winds, meaning you may need to add more club than usual to reach a target when playing into the breeze. Of course, when you are playing in a particularly strong wind, the smart move is to use a lower trajectory to take the wind mostly out of play.
  • Manage your backspin. When it comes to short iron approach shots, hitting the ball high may lead to excess backspin – so much that your ball may tend to spin back toward you once it lands on the green. Some golfers think this kind of shot looks 'cool', but it is actually quite difficult to manage. It is much easier to get the ball close to the hole if you can simply drop it in place and have it stop immediately. If you find that too many of your short iron shots are spinning back aggressively, try playing the ball a bit lower (by moving it back in your stance) to counter that spin. You should be able to find a happy medium where you can stop the ball nicely without having to judge that tricky backspin.

It is going to take some time to learn how to use your higher iron shots effectively. The best thing you can do during this transition period is to pay close attention to the ball as it flies. Watch for any new tendencies in your ball flight, and take note of your distances, as they are likely to have changed as well.

Embrace a Low Ball Flight When the Time is Right

Embrace a Low Ball Flight When the Time is Right

Throughout this article, we have been portraying low iron shots in a negative light. And, of course, it is true that you will usually be better off hitting the ball high as opposed to low. However, there are some situations you will face on the course where a low shot is actually the preferred option. Obviously, that is true when playing into the wind. If you are facing a significant breeze blowing into your face on an iron shot, playing the ball lower to avoid too much lost distance is your best bet. Knowing how to bring your ball flight back down on command is important if you are going to be a good wind player.

In addition to using your lower ball flight in the wind, you can also opt for a lower shot when the hole is located in the back of the green. Rather than trying to fly the ball all the way to the hole – and running the risk of hitting it over the back on the fly – you can hit a lower shot which lands in the center of the green and bounces the rest of the way. This is a smart way to attack such a situation, as you will still have an opportunity to set up a short putt, but you won't be taking on as much risk as if you hit the ball high in the air all the way to the back of the green.

One other time when you may wish to use a low ball flight is when you need to hit an iron shot from a poor lie. Unfortunately, bad lies are just a part of golf, so dealing with them from time to time is inevitable. Rather than trying to hit the ball high in the air from a bad lie – which will be difficult, to say the least – you should consider playing a lower shot toward the target. It is easier to hit the ball low from most bad lies, as you can hit down steeply and punch the ball forward.

In an ideal world, you would be able to create a variety of different ball flights based on the shot you were facing at the time. Of course, golf is a hard game, and varying your shots on command is an advanced skill. Still, you can work toward that goal by consistently adding more and more shots to your repertoire. We hope the advice contained in this article will help you master the art of hitting high iron shots, while still letting you bring the ball back down to a lower trajectory from time to time. Good luck!