The Truth About Ball Flight

Why things happen the way they do in the golf swing

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Okay, I know you've probably seen Tour players make huge divots after they make contact with the ball, right? So have I. And if you have Tour player-like swingspeed, hitting down on the golf ball will certainly allow you to shape the ball to your advantage.

But what if you're not a Tour player and you have an average swingspeed? I'll tell you right now, hitting down on the ball with the intent of making a big divot is going to hurt you more than help you. Without the necessary swingspeed to impart extra backspin on the ball, you'll end up hitting the ball lower and shorter than you should. Instead, what I suggest for better iron play is to hit the ball on as shallow an angle as you can while still aligning the iron's sweet spot behind the ball at impact. This doesn't mean hanging back or trying to lift the ball up. No, sir, if anything, you still need to hit down on the ball (it's on the ground, after all), but you just don't need to hit down as steeply as you might think. Instead, think of sweeping your iron shots and playing the ball at the low point of your swing arc. Once you let go of the fixation to hit down on the ball, you may soon find it a lot easier to hit solid iron shots. If you've been told hitting down on the ball steeply makes it go up, well, that's not true either!


Set up in a way that helps you hit more fairways. Be confident, and align to the right to hit a big powerful draw.

To start the swing correctly, you have to set up correctly. With a driver, that means I want you to set up with the ball forward in your stance, the hands slightly ahead of the shaft and the lower body orientated to the right of the intended target. This helps you hit on that desired inside-to-outside-the-target-line track.

With an iron, because you want to catch the ball slightly before the low point, play the ball center to slightly forward of your stance, and align the shaft so it acts as an extension of your left arm. I like to flare my toes a little to help me make a better rotation. Why slightly forward? Simple. When you make a downswing, there's always a natural slide that occurs, moving the arc to the left.


They're hard to see, but placing two tees in front of the ball is a quick way to practice swinging on the right path.

This is a great drill for practicing that inside-out path with the driver. First, tee up a ball as normal, then place one tee directly in front of it about 2 feet along the target line. Then, add a second tee a few inches to the right of that tee. The goal is simple. Align your clubface at the first tee in front of you, but consciously try to swing the driver out and above the tee to the right. Sometimes simple visual cues like this are what you need to practice to develop the right path for hitting your driver.


Add Comment