Correct Shot Height Problems - Why You Should Hit Down To Make The Ball Go Up - Senior Golf Tip 1

Golf theory often does not make sense and in a lot of cases tends to work in opposites.

One of the big misconceptions by golfers is to try to lift the ball to make it go up into the air. Actually, if the golfer drives the golf club downwards into the ball the ball will travel upwards. Find out why and how with this tip.

The ideal ball flight for a golf shot, the one that will be seen when a professional hits a golf ball, is one that travels forwards and upwards through the air gently rising to a peak before dropping down nearly vertically and stopping not far from where it landed. Conversely, when most golfers hit golf shots, the flight of the golf ball looks more like a 'u' shape. This is one that is straight up and down causing the ball to keep bouncing and rolling once it hits the ground rather than stopping. A ball flight such as this often means that the ball travels too high rather than being driven forward causing a loss of distance.

To generate the correct ball flight with an iron club, the golfer needs to drive the club head downwards through the back of the ball and into the ground. An action such as this means that the golf ball rolls up the face of the club which generates huge amounts of backspin as the ball drags on the club face. It is this backspin that gives the ball lift as it makes the ball rise into the air. When struck in this way, the ball will start fairly low as it has forward momentum from being struck downward. Then as the ball travels through the air, the backspin on the ball provides lift and makes the ball rise, peak and then drop. Following the strike of the ball, the golfer should find that the club head drives down into the ground approximately two to three inches after the ball and takes a divot (lump of turf) out of the ground.

If the golfer performs the opposite and tries to get under the ball and lifts the ball into the air, the initial launch of the ball is too high and there is less drag of the ball on the club face. This means that the ball begins it's journey too high with not enough backspin to keep it in the air. This action costs distance and control as the ball falls out of the sky early and then the ball bounces forwards when it lands rather than stopping.

There are many reasons why a golfer does not strike down into the ball and ground. Often these are due to misunderstanding how the ball should be hit, being scared of hitting the floor for fear of hurting themselves or that they may have had bad experiences of hitting the floor too early before the ball, creating a poor shot.

An exercise to help get the correct strike action is to place the ball on the floor and put an object approximately two inches in front of the ball on the line connecting the ball and the target. If the practice takes place on the driving range, the object could be a very small stone, or on grass it could be a tee peg placed in the ground. Focus on the object rather than the ball when taking a swing to practice hitting through the ball and down into the floor, making sure that the club head drives through the stone or tee peg.

This exercise will improve the consistency of the strike of the golf ball which leads to better shots more often with more distance.

Correct Shot Height Problems – Why You Should Hit Down to Make the Ball Go Up

Correct Shot Height Problems – Why You Should Hit Down to Make the Ball Go Up

The average golfer spends the majority of his or her time concerned with the left-and-right component of a golf shot. Getting the shot on-target is usually the primary goal, as it is expected that a shot which is on-target will wind up close to the hole (or in the middle of the fairway). Unfortunately, golf is not this simple. In addition to getting the ball on the right line, you also need to hit it an appropriate height for the shot at hand. Some golf shots call for high-arcing ball flights, while others are best played down near the ground. To take your game to a higher level, you will need to find a way to hit the ball the right height at the right time.

For most players, hitting the ball low is not much of a problem. When you first start out in this game, nearly all of your shots fly low along the turf. It is only with experience and plenty of practice that most players are able to move the ball higher and higher into the sky. Of course, these shots do not happen automatically. Without the right technique in place, you will continue to hit the ball low – no matter how long you have been playing the game.

In this article, we are going to help you correct your shot height problems by offering advice which should move your ball flight higher into the sky. There is a mechanical discussion to be had here, of course, but there is also a mental component to this topic. A significant number of golfers simply don't understand what it is that makes the ball fly high in the first place. Without that understanding, you will always be trying to make the wrong move through the hitting area. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a clear picture of what it is that makes the ball fly high, so you can adjust your swing accordingly.

It should be noted that you don't have to hit the ball as high as the average professional golfer in order to improve your game. Pros hit the ball incredibly high, but that is a skill which takes years to develop – and it requires plenty of power, as well. Fortunately, the average golf course meant for amateur play is not going to demand such towering shots. As long as you can hit the ball high enough to stop it relatively quickly when needed, you should be good to go.

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.

Making the Ball Fly High

Making the Ball Fly High

So, what is it that makes the golf ball fly high up into the air? At first, you might be tempted to believe that it is the loft on your clubs. And, to be sure, the loft on your clubs does play a role. After all, if you were to make a swing with a club that had 0* loft, you certainly wouldn't be able to get the ball off the ground. However, loft alone cannot do the job. In order to hit golf shots which fly high into the sky and come down soft when they land, you are going to need to have backspin on your side.

Every golf shot has backspin. Whether you know it or not, the ball is always spinning backward when you send it up into the air. Low shots tend to have lower backspin rates, while high-flying shots have a tremendous amount of backspin. Not only does the backspin on the ball provide lift to help the shot climb, but it also helps the ball to stop quickly when it lands. If you have ever seen a professional golfer land an iron shot on the green and have the ball come back toward the front of the putting surface as if it were on a string, you have seen backspin in action.

Now that you understand it is backspin which is your ally in getting the ball to fly high, the next thing you need to know is how to create that backspin. The following points highlight the key ingredients in the backspin recipe.

  • Hitting down through the ball. By far, this is the most important piece of the puzzle. If you want to create a high rate of backspin on your iron shots, you simply must hit down through impact. When you hit down, the ball will compress against the face of the club and the grooves on the face will 'bite' into the cover of the golf ball. The friction created at the moment of impact will cause spin to be created, and the ball will rise high into the air as it travels. When playing short irons, you want to hit down aggressively, taking a rather significant divot out of the ground after the ball has been struck. With longer irons, you can still hit down, but your path should be shallower. Rather than taking a big divot, you should aim to pull just a thin strip of turf out of the ground. In order to hit down effectively, you are going to need to work on perfecting the mechanics of your swing. You simply can't hit down through the ball without good mechanics, as your body won't be in the right place for a successful strike. If you have long been struggling with an inability to hit high golf shots, learning how to hit down through the ball is the obvious place to start.
  • Use the right ball. You may be a bit surprised to learn that there is a significant difference between the types of golf balls you find on pro shop shelves. Yes, they are all round, and most of them are white, but that is where the similarities end. The way a ball is constructed, and the materials which are used in its construction, will have a lot to do with how much your shots spin. A high-quality ball – with a premium price tag – will spin at a very high rate when struck properly. On the other hand, a cheap golf ball is barely going to allow you to create any spin at all. For most amateur golfers, the right pick is somewhere between these two extremes. If you choose a golf ball which falls somewhere in the middle of the price range on the market today – roughly in the $25 - $35 range for a dozen – you should be in good shape. Only complete beginners should use the cheapest golf balls available, and only experienced players with advanced skills should use premium models.
  • Care for your clubs. It is not necessary to invest in expensive, high-end golf clubs to play well. It is necessary, however, to take care of your clubs. When it comes to your irons, you want to pay particular attention to the grooves. Before each shot, make sure your grooves are clean and ready to do their job. Dirt and grass will accumulate in your grooves as you play, so it is important to clean them out regularly. Get into the habit of cleaning off the face of your club immediately after hitting a shot and the club will always be ready to use when needed.

By this point, the picture should be pretty clear. You need to create backspin in order to hit high shots, and you need to hit down on the ball in order to produce that backspin. Keep this correlation in mind and you should be on the path to a higher ball flight in the very near future.

Getting in Position

Getting in Position

As mentioned above, you are going to need to be in the right position at impact if you hope to hit down on the ball properly. Many amateur golfers have no chance to hit down through the ball – even if they want to – because they are in completely the wrong position by the time impact arrives.

There are two elements that you need to sort out in order to make sure everything is positioned properly at impact. First, you need to be in a good stance before the swing begins. You should be on balance, your knees should be flexed, and your chin should be up away from your chest. Check these boxes and you will be left with an athletic stance that allows you to do just about anything you need to do with the club.

Once the stance is successfully in place, you then need to make sure your body performs properly during the actual swing. The list below includes three keys to watch as your swing develops.

  • Stay off of your right side. This is an extremely important point, and one which is missed by the average golfer. When the swing starts, many golfers want to slide to the right, loading up their weight on top of their right foot. While that might feel like the correct thing to do, it is actually a serious mistake. Once on your right side, you will need to find a way to make it back to your left side prior to making contact with the ball – and that is a task which is much easier said than done. Since you will have to slide left quickly to get your weight in the right position, you won't be able to do much rotating toward the target. In the end, you will be left with a weak swing that doesn't transfer much power to the ball, even if you do make solid contact. A better plan is simply to keep your weight in the middle of your stance while you turn. Contrary to popular belief, there really isn't much lateral movement in the golf swing. You should turn away from the target going back, and turn toward the target going through. It's just that simple. By swinging this way, you will keep your balance and you will be in a great position to hit down through impact.
  • Don't let your swing get too long. This point actually goes along with the point listed above. When your swing gets too long going back, you will naturally be pulled to the right and away from the target. Now that you are off balance, you will be left to again find a way back to the left before impact arrives. You may not be able to pull this off properly, and you could wind up hitting up on the ball instead of down (or you may simply hit the shot fat). You don't have to make a long swing to hit the ball hard, so keep things tight and under control. As long as you are making a solid shoulder turn, you can keep your arm swing relatively short and still hit powerful shots.
  • Let your lower body lead the way. As long as you can maintain your balance during the backswing, you will be off to a good start with regard to hitting down on the ball. However, you still have to get the downswing right to bring everything together in the end. That means leading the downswing with your lower body while your upper body and the club trail behind. This is a difficult skill for most golfers to learn. By letting your lower body rotate toward the target while your upper body lags behind the action, you will be putting yourself in a great position for a perfect strike.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of spots along the way where things can go wrong with regard to hitting down on the ball. Even after you have formed a solid stance, and even after you have gotten through the backswing cleanly, you still need to make sure that you are leading the way with your lower body through the hitting area. Only when everything comes together nicely into one cohesive package will you be able to achieve a solid strike which generates a high rate of backspin and a high-flying shot.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Too Much of a Good Thing

It is a good thing to hit the golf ball high in the air. High shots usually carry farther than low shots, and they stop quicker as well. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing in this case. When you start to hit the ball too high, you may find that you have trouble getting around the course successfully.

So how do you know when you are hitting the ball too high? Watch for these warning signs.

  • Loss of distance. If you start to lose distance as your ball flight moves higher, you may be hitting the ball too high for your own good. This is usually the result of excessive spin. A golf shot which has too much backspin will balloon up into the air as it flies, getting higher and higher before falling straight down to the turf. Usually, this pattern results in a shot which is shorter than you could have achieved with a flatter ball. To goal is to settle into a ball flight which is high enough to provide you with carry distance and control, but not so high that the trajectory works against you.
  • Unplayable in the wind. Do you feel like turning around and driving home when you arrive at the course and see that it is a windy day? If wind does excessive damage to your game, you may be hitting the ball too high. While wind makes golf harder for everybody, it shouldn't affect you so much that you have trouble even getting around the course. You should particularly pay attention to your shots that are played into the wind. Do you lose almost all of your distance when trying to hit an iron shot into the breeze? If so, you need to flatten your ball flight and take at least a little spin off the ball. A good golfer needs to play well in all conditions, so you want to build a game which is as flexible as possible.
  • Can't hold wedge shots on the green. It looks cool when you hit a wedge shot that spins back after it lands on the green – but such a 'trick' is actually quite hard to control properly. You don't really want to spin your wedge shots back toward the front of the green. Instead, you want them to land and stop almost immediately. When many of your wedge shots are spinning back off the front, you are probably playing the ball in too high (or you are using a ball with a spin rate that is too high for your game). Moderating the amount of spin you put on the ball will help you find the sweet spot of holding your ball on the surface without bringing it back.

You might be able to impress your friends by hitting the ball way up into the air, but a shot that flies too high is just as useless as one which does not fly high enough. Until you manage to find that elusive middle ground that can help you take the next step in your game, you won't be able to reach your potential on the links.

Playing Around the Greens

Playing Around the Greens

The ball flight conversation usually revolves around shots hit with a full swing, but this topic needs to be addressed around the greens as well. Just as when hitting a full iron shot, you also need to get the ball up in the air when playing chip and pitch shots. You won't be hitting the ball as high, of course, but this is still an important step in the construction of your game. The ability to hit high chip and pitch shots will enable you to stop the ball quickly after it lands, meaning you can get up and down from even difficult locations.

So, when you settle in to practice your short game, should you work on hitting down on the ball to make it go up? Not so much. When close to the green, you won't be hitting your shots hard enough to use spin to lift them up into the air. Rather, this job is going to be left to the loft of the club alone. The more loft you can expose to the ball at impact, the better off you will be in terms of elevation. Adding some backspin to the ball can help in terms of stopping power, but that backspin should not be expected to add any additional height to the shot.

Hitting down on the ball in the short game is a good idea when playing a chip-and-run style shot, but not when you want to hit the ball up into the sky. For a higher shot, you will want to swing flat along the ground while 'picking' the ball cleanly off of the turf. When you combine this technique with a highly-lofted club such as a lob wedge, you can achieve great results. It should be noted, however, that these types of shots are rather difficult. Be sure to work on your high chip and pitch shots in practice before attempting them on the course.

Creating the proper ball flight in your game is a key step on the path to lower scores. You want to impart plenty of backspin at impact to make sure your shots climb into the sky, but not so much that they come down short of your intended target. Practice hitting down through the ball on the range and then observe the results on the course. There may be a period of trial and error required before you find the perfect equation to create an ideal trajectory. We hope the advice provided in this article will help you hit high, accurate golf shots for many rounds to come. Good luck!