So many golfers I come across hit the ball too low. Some of those golfers even try to hit the ball low. But today’s launch monitors and the science of ball flight tells us that if you want to hit the ball farther, you’ve got to get it up in the air!
PGA Tour pros hit the ball a lot higher than you’d think. On average, the apex point of a tour pro’s ball flight is close to 100’ with every club in their bag. So when I see an average player hit what amounts to a line drive I know that they are losing lots of distance not to mention the proper spin on their shots.
There are a lot of reasons why you might be hitting the ball too low. On my lesson tee I see swings of all kinds but there are some really common mistakes I see all the time. Some of those mistakes are starting position mistakes and others are swing mistakes but they’re all robbing golfers of hitting higher, longer shots. Obviously, the problem seems worse with your driver, but in fact, you could be losing distance with every club. If you think you’re just hitting your drives too low, try more loft but if you’re one of the many golfers I see who hits every shot too low, here are 5 possible reasons why:
Your Hands Are Too Far Forward At Address: Many golfers instinctively move their hands too far forward at address. Placing your hands too far forward not only de-lofts your club, it also tends to pull you out of balance and opens up your upper body alignment. Next time you’re practicing, make sure your hands are just slightly forward of your belt buckle and check to see if your forearms are parallel to your target line. Better hand position at address can add loft to your club and lead to higher shots.
Your Ball Is Too Far Back: Golf is a forward swinging game. At our golf school we like to see the ball 2-3” off the forward heel with all irons. There’s an old thought that the ball should move back in your stance with shorter irons but that is a faulty idea with today’s equipment. Different swing shapes will lead to slightly different ball positions for some players but, in general, get your ball forward if you want to hit your shots higher.
Your Grip Is Too Strong: A strong grip in golf is a real loft killer. If your hands are turned clockwise too much as you look down at them they’ll have a real tendency to over rotate through impact and de-loft the golf club. Do yourself a favor and learn the correct, neutral grip (see photo 3 of grip closeup) or you’ll spend the rest of your golf years fighting a hook and hitting low shots.
You Hit Down Too Much: Many golfers believe that they should try to hit down at the ball. And if you’re a golfer who lifts up through impact or has trouble with topping the ball, that’s not a bad thought. In general though, hitting down is a bad idea because it leads to less loft on the club and less forward motion to your target and finish position. On the PGA Tour the average downward hit with a 7 iron is just 3 degrees. Pros do hit slightly down through the ball but it’s because of their proper swing and their ball position, not because they try to hit down at the ball.
Your Outside/In Path De-lofts Your Club: If you slice the ball you know about an outside/in downswing path. That path is a ball flight killer because it leads to shots pulled to the left (for a right-handed player) or sliced off to the right. That path not only leads to pulls and slices, it also de-lofts your club so you’ll hit down too much on the ball and decrease important launch angle conditions. The result is once again lower shots and less distance. So, if you can fix your swing path issues, you’ll not only fix your slice, you’ll also flight the ball higher.
/Kevin Haime @KevinHaime – PGA of Canada Class A Professional