Day 2: Hitting Low Shots

How to master the clubface at impact for low, penetrating shots that will cruise through the wind like a missile. This piece is critical to master as the other shots build on this clubface control.

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Tom
A point of confusion for me - I am a left side release guy. When I try to imitate this motion my free-wheeling left side release gets messed up because I am trying to get my hands a little farther forward and still have a square clubface at impact. I also note that when Chuck shows a low shot with a fuller swing he does not appear to let it freely release but instead uses a body release of the club. Fact or fiction??? Thanks for helping me understand this important shot. Tom
June 15, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tom. I think the looks of the body release may be a little deceiving. To flatten the wrist (Knuckles Down Video). You want to stay a little more soft, but that doesn't mean the face isn't rotating. From the notes, it sounds like you are increasing tension to force a bow which is delaying face rotation instead of dragging the pain brush handle further ahead.
June 16, 2021
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Tom
Excellent answer. Thank you.
June 16, 2021
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Mark
Why couldn't you just choke down on a stronger club to get the same results?
April 18, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. You could do that. But, the more you choke down you are giving up some speed and different characteristics of ball flight. A low flighted 8 iron flies much different than a choked 6 iron into a green.
April 20, 2020
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Paul
I had great results today hitting this shot on a windy course hit every green I used it on which made me think why not hit like this with most irons shots elevated greens is the only reason I could come up with not to what am I missing
May 24, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Paul. Elevated greens and some greens are like concrete where you would need to bring the flight in higher so the ball could land like a butterfly with sore feet.
May 24, 2019
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Kevin
When do you begin to bow the wrist in a full swing without steepening the downswing too much? I’ve watched the square the club early and trace your plane video.
February 21, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. The wrist will gradually lose cupping throughout the swing (Using the Wrists in the Golf Swing Video). As you start the transition the lead wrist will start to flatten out more and start bowing. Depending on the severity of the bow, or how low you want to hit the ball. The club starts adding lots/or little bowing entering the trail thigh area.
February 21, 2019
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gordon
On a recent visit to the driving range I spent time experimenting with low running shots. For me reducing the amount of axis tilt brought the better results. However I suspect this may be a blind alley. Should I abandon that approach and try to train bowing of the lead wrist, which is more difficult for me at the moment? Also, when using the bowed wrist should the follow through be kept low and shorter as well? Thanks in advance, Gordon.
May 26, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. My preference would be mastering the lead hand control for the low shot. Take a look at Knuckles Down for further help. Also, It will tend to be a little shorter and lower. But, unless you are practicing impact, or extremes. You won't tend to see a big difference.
May 26, 2018
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Mark
Any thoughts on distance control when hitting the ball low in this manner? Is it necessary to take a longer club considering it should roll further (depending on the course, of course)?
January 31, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. There are many factors that depend on yardage control when hitting it low. Sometimes when you de-loft you will actually hit it further because of better compression/lower loft and effect of the wind on flight. It's something you have to play around with and practice. Working on yardage and trajectory is something pros spend a lot of time working on.
February 1, 2018
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Mark
Thanks Craig. I'm trying to pick the right tactic to use on a particular hole at my course. It's a 165 yard par 3 so I pulled out my 7 iron, hit it clean toward the green, but it just got pushed left by he wind into a parked car. Very embarrassing! If I hit low trajectory I'm worried about hitting it out the back, but if I land it short for the roll the ground is wonky and could go anywhere. Anyway, I tried to counteract the wind on my second from the tee with a fade but the wind didn't hold it up and I lost it right into the green keepers compound!
February 1, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. It is tough to bank on how much the wind will help, or hurt. Sometimes it dies mid swing. What is your normal 165 club. Do you feel more comfortable in golf being aggressive with the swing, or smooth?
February 5, 2018
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Mark
I prefer to give it a good whack so I don't duff the shot. 165yd for me would be a 7i or 8i under the right conditions. My practice at hitting low shots with 7i mostly result in hooks (but low hooks at least!)
February 6, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mark. I would use the video above combined with the Knuckles Down Video using an 8 iron. See how consistent you can make the flight and yardage.
February 6, 2018
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Kevin
Whenever I add a bowed wrist to lower my ball flight I end up over-drawing the ball. Is there a common cause of that? My fades and straight shots always end up very high.
January 18, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Kevin. Sounds like you are manually turning over the wrist too much instead of it being gradual. Take a look at Fix Your Release practicing a bowed impact. And, then watch Flip vs Release to understand it is a gradual process. Not a quick second flip at impact.
January 19, 2018
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Arnie
Other than hitting into the wind, in what other situation might I need to use this shot?
January 13, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Arnel. Typically, wind and distance control are the main reasons for lower flighted shots.
January 14, 2018
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Arnie
Thanks. Should I expect more or less spin with this lower shot, compared to my stock shot with the same club?
January 14, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Arnel. When playing in the wind and lowering the ball flight your goal is to have less spin leading to less lift.
January 14, 2018
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gordon
We are having a mild but very windy winter here in Germany and the wind is playing havoc with my approach shots! I take on board your advice about lowering flight trajectory by bowing the lead wrist at impact and will practice it diligently. Due to lack of talent, however, I need a quick fix for the windy rounds and will have to use the longer club approach. To moderate distance what do you recommend, gripping down?, limited swing (e.g. 3/4) at normal speed? or full swing at reduced speed? Best regards, Gordon.
January 6, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. Spin is the killer with wind. I would recommend tighter backswing, more club, and bowed impact. Slight gripping down will help as well.
January 7, 2018
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gordon
Thanks Craig, - what exactly is meant by „tighter backswing“? I should add that in windy conditions I think I am a little too tight!! Best regards, Gordon.
January 7, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. Shorter (1/2-3/4 Length). I apologize for the confusion. Not excessive tightness, or tension. More compact.
January 7, 2018
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Dave
So, why not just take a longer club and make a shorter swing? Instead of a 7 iron, take a 5 iron and just make a 3/4 swing, say, or choke down a bit. Not sure when to try delofting and when to just go to a club with less loft.
August 31, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. That is definitely one way you can play the shot. However, this helps you fly the yardage you need with staying moderately aggressive in the swing. You can add a couple extra yards to your 7 iron quickly versus taking 2 clubs up and trying to find the sweet spot in pace/length dialing down a 5 iron.
August 31, 2017
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David
When is the best time in the swing to create the bowed left wrist. Is it before the club reaches the top of the backswing, during the transition or during the release? For me it seems to be more naturally achievable during the release.
August 30, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. All depends on how much you are trying to de-loft. The wrist will be "gradually" rotating and bowing as you transition into the downswing. But, some players don't feel it until the release phase. No worries.
August 30, 2017
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JOEL
Awesome! I didn't think I could do this, then I tried it. Although I haven't mastered it yet, I'm already noticing much better ball compression and consistency with my irons. Taken together with releasing my wrists to hit baby draws, I'd say my game has just gone up a significant notch. Looking forward to the. next 5 days!
August 29, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Joel. Great. I like that you are enjoying the new series and seeing the results.
August 30, 2017
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Martin L
Thanks for this new series. Could you add or point me to a video on pre-shot routine. I find that I'm thinking too much about all the lessons and need to get them out of head on the course so I can play.
August 27, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Martin. Take a look at the Trust Line Video.
August 28, 2017
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David
I am struggling to see how it is possible to create the same club head speed with the hand's in front de-lofting the club lie this. For a normal release the club will be passing the hand's earlier with more speed?
August 23, 2017
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Chuck (Certified RST Instructor)
The club should never pass the hands before hitting the ball, that's the dreaded old flip. As for the speed, we're only talking a few more degrees of forward shaft lean so the speed difference in neglible until you start getting to extremes, at which point you should just grab a longer club! Also keep in mind that speed doesn't matter too much here because we're delofting the club, which adds distance of course without speed. To understand this, go put your 3 iron head on your pitching wedge shaft, it's going to go a lot further than your wedge!
August 24, 2017

All right. So on the first day we talked about starting to work on hitting a little bit of a draw, a little bit of a cut, and how you can use that to warm up every day to start developing a sensation and feel of what impact feels like on both of those shots, because it's critical for taking your game to the next level. Now in today's video what we're going to talk about, is hitting the ball low. Now hitting the ball low is one of the most critical fundamentals that you're ever going to develop in your golf game, because it's going to give you total club face control, because you're actually manipulating, and even holding off the release, while getting your wrist into the proper position. Now when you're going to hit release shots where you're really releasing the club with a draw, or hitting the ball high, those shots are different because the club is doing a lot of the work for you, if you just kind of get out of the way and slowly guide it.

                Now when you're going to hit a low shot, it's different, because we now need to manipulate our wrist into a position to get bowed to help drive the ball low and keep the club face from passing our hands and de-lofted. So what this is going to look like? Again you can reference the five minutes of perfect release video, because I talk about doing this exact same motion, so I'm not going to get into all the details about it. But what I am going talk about today is a couple of little nuances that are going to help you with hitting the ball low, so that when we start stacking on hitting on low draws, low cuts, high draws, high cuts, all of these fundamentals are going to start being built upon. One of the most critical mistakes that I see people make all the time when they try to hit the ball low, is they move the ball back in their stance really far.

                It's the worst thing you can do, believe it or not, because as you move the ball back in your stance ... I'm going to put two balls here, one where it would normally be. So let's just say that's about where the ball normally would be. And one where people tend to put it. Now that's not a big difference. There's maybe a ball, two balls difference between these two ball positions. However, if I made a normal swing and I shifted my weight correctly, I would hit this ball very, very thin or maybe even top it, as the club was still traveling down normally where it should be at impact. So also, what people are going to do because of that, is they're going to start hanging back on their right foot, because they sense that if they shifted their weight correctly, they'd top the ball or miss it. So their weight shift starts to disappear. So they start losing a ton of power, and thus, the sequencing of their swing goes away.

                The trick to hitting it low, is not by changing radically the ball position, it's changing radically your impact position. The ball position, believe it or not, can be in the exact same spot, or even move further forward. That's going to freak you out but, yes, you can even move the ball further forward to hit the ball low. Now why would I move the ball further forward to hit the ball low? It seems so counter intuitive. Again, think about what's the primary thing controlling the club face angle in the golf swing. Well by now you should know, it's this guy. There's a reason you have a glove on this hand and not on this one right? This guy is doing all the heavy lifting in the golf swing. It's the only thing from a physics perspective, that can continue to guide and lead the club head into impact, because the right hand can only push. You know all the push versus pull stuff.

                So as my left hand gets into this position where I want to bow it and really de-loft the club, this is going to be an exaggerated position. What's the club face going to be doing? Well as I really exaggerate my left wrist to get it super bowed to hit a really low one; now I've taken the seven iron, I've made it almost like a two iron, this is an extreme low shot. But as I'm doing this, I'm pulling the club head further ahead, because it takes awhile to get my left wrist that bowed. I can't get my left wrist that bowed back here, the clubs not at the ground yet. So as I move it through here and shallow out my angle of attack, another key, as I shallow out my angle of attack instead of coming down really steep, not only is it building in margin of error, because the shallower my angle of attack is, the less chance I have of hitting the ball fat, which is what most people do when they move it back in their stance.

                But as I move my hand forward, the club is also being moved forward, because my hand is further forward than it would be normally at impact. So believe it or not, you can actually move the ball forward. Now first I'll tell you just to keep it in the same spot, and that's not to say that you can't move the ball back in your stance either. I'm going to talk more about that when we start talking about hitting different trajectory draws and cuts, because that's when you really want to start moving ball position, because that's going to effect club path. Right now we're going to assume the path is the same. We don't want to manipulate our path. That's crazy because you don't want to try to have 16 different golf swings. Let's have one golf swing and make one slight change to it.

                So I'll show a normal impact position might be like this for me. So the seven iron's got to ... Close to a true loft, I'll de-loft it a little bit there. Now I'm going to get here. So as I bow this left wrist, the club, or the ball ... Excuse me, oops I chunked that one a little bit. The ball is going to be super low. So that ball barely got off the ground. You can see my hands were much further ahead at impact. That's what I'm trying to learn in this drill. Hitting these balls super short. That one went 25 yards. The purpose is learning impact. I don't care where the ball goes yet other than it goes low. Now as you start getting more comfortable with this, we're going to start adding some more pieces onto this. So I want you to get to the point where you can hit the ball with a seven iron at least a hundred yards, and keep it this high off the ground. Now that's maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but in your head I want you to visualize that.

                And one of the best visuals that I used to use with all my students, is I would either put something here like a club or something like that, or I would tell them to imagine their favorite pet was just in front of them. You don't want to kill your dog, so you've got to get the ball underneath the dogs belly, so you really need to concentrate on getting your hands really de-lofted. That ball didn't even leave the ground but still went 20 yards. As you start adding more speed to it ... Now that ball went about four feet in the air and flew about 100 yards. Again same thing, getting my wrist in this position. I want you to start out really small and get to the point where you can get comfortable with this wrist being in this position.

                If you've forgotten all the stuff I covered in the impact videos, go back and watch that where I talk about kind of visualizing your logo pointing at the ground, or a nail going through your hand looking this way. Those types of things really help you work on the shot. But master both the release shots that you learned on day one, and now start getting the ball to go low in day two. 

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