Getting your game to the next level requires you to understand how to manipulate your ball flight to fit different situations. Being able to utilize these skills will allow you to get the ball over trees, under the wind and recover from trouble whenever its necessary. Personally, I enjoy finding creative ways to get out of difficult situations on the golf course. Use the tips below to really take your golf game to the next level.
With all shots, consider your lie before trying to manipulate your ball flight… it will have a far greater effect on your trajectory than these tips will.
How to Hit it High
1) Place the ball further forward in your stance
Have the ball well ahead of center, aligned with your lead heel. This will force your lead shoulder to rise up encouraging you to hit the ball slightly on the up swing. This move will also add loft to your club.
2) Have your body weight leaning back on your trailing leg
Your body weight should be distributed about 70/30 on your back leg. This will encourage your swing to shallow out before the ball, thereby hitting the ball on the up swing and adding height. Remember to keep most of your weight on your back foot for the entire stroke. Be careful with this one, your lower body must remain stable otherwise you run the risk of hitting the shot fat.
3) Have your hands back or neutral
Consider adding loft to the club by leaning your hands a little to the right. Be sure to do this while keeping your clubface square to the target.
4) Swing hard
The more power you transfer to the ball, the more spin you impart, creating more lift which makes the ball fly higher, faster. Consider up-clubbing, so instead of an 8-iron, swing a hard 9, to offset the fact that you will be swinging more aggressively.
5) Have a high finish
A high-follow through is also important when trying to hit a high shot. This shows you have had a solid release, without de-lofting the club at impact as shown in the left image above.
- Release or flip your wrists early to try and scoop the ball in the air.
- Dip your knees to help get under the ball.
- Lift up at impact in attempt to get the ball up in a hurry.
- Hit this shot on a downhill or sidehill lie… you’ll likely skull or top it.
How to Hit it Low
1) Place the ball back in your stance
The ball should quite a ways back of center; a couple inches ahead of your back foot would be fine. A back ball position will also level out your shoulder angle, which is ideal for creating a steeper swing. Fiddle with this on the range to develop a feel for how your ball position affects your ball trajectory.
2) Have your body weight leaning on your lead leg
A 70/30 weight distribution on the front leg would be ideal for hitting the ball lower. This encourages a downward strike into impact that shallows out after the ball. Furthermore, the club will be de-lofted adding distance and keeping it low.
3) Use a forward press
At address, set your hands ahead of the ball effectively de-lofting the club. You hands should be positioned quite a ways ahead of the ball when viewed front on.
4) Swing easy with more club
As described above, a hard swing creates spin and lift on the golf ball. Therefore, to keep it low, we need to swing very easy… to offset the easy swing, consider up-clubbing. The added benefit to this: more club = less loft.
5) Shorten your follow-through
As shown in the right image above, finish your swing quite abruptly. Resisting the tendency to follow-through and release your wrists will keep the clubface de-lofted through impact, leading to a much lower trajectory.
- Decelerate or collapse into impact.
- Lunge or get too far ahead of the ball coming into impact – you’ll likely shank or a whiff the shot.
- Try this from deep rough.
- Try this on an uphill lie; your ball will likely hit the ground on the way up.
As fun as it is to get out of tough situations, a good player knows when to take their lumps. If you’re truly in an impossible situation – take an unplayable and get your shots back later in the round. Give these tips a try and lower your handicap guys.