Everybody wants more golf consistency. Defining that is sometimes hard and often unattainable in golf’s current form.
For most I would define it as making decent contact most of the time and hitting the ball within a relatively discernable area or pattern. That definition of consistency is definable, and if need be can be measurable.
Case in point: “I hit ten balls and eight of them felt relatively solid while nine of them went into an area of five yards left of the target to fifteen yards right of the target.” That would be absolutely fantastic instead of hitting fat or thin and left/right uncontrollably, right?
However, an important concept to grasp is that in the “inconsistency” that most golfers experience there still in lies a series of patterns.
One that I have seen quite frequently lately involves students perceiving that they are hitting up on the ball as they hit it fat or potentially top it. While that is certainly a possibility, I see far more of the opposite—a lot of very steep attack angles accompanied by the thought that they need to hit down on the ball more to A) hit the ball more solid and/or B) get the ball in the air.
Should I Hit Down on the Ball?
In general the answer is “yes” with an iron. However, the direct answer is not the whole story.
Let’s put a few things on the table and go deeper into why this is potentially a reason you keep hitting behind the ball or topping it.
In the figure above there are three lines—yellow, blue and orange. The blue line represents where the golf ball launches, and the yellow line is the amount of loft that is presented to the ball at the moment of impact. The ball is placed into the air by deflecting off the loft presented to the ball. So, the launch angle (blue) will always be lower than the Effective loft (yellow).
There is also a relationship to be understood with the orange line, which is the Angle of Attack (AoA). If you make the orange line move down more, i.e., hitting down on the ball more; everything being equal it will drag the yellow and blue lines along with it.
This is where the true lesson really lies. We are humans playing a game and we have an input of information as well as preferences like where we want to see the ball launch in the sky. Our hypothetical situation is this: