Day 5: How to Hit High-Flying, Soft-Landing Golf Shots
Welcome to Day 5 of the "9 Days to Amazing Ball Striking" series. Today we're going to talk about how to add some loft to the club and get the ball to go higher.
This will be useful if you're playing on greens that are very firm or fast, where your ball will tend to roll over the green if you get a low, penetrating trajectory. Sometimes you need a little more loft on the ball to get it to hold the green.
Or, sometimes you get tucked pin. Maybe there's a bunker guarding the front of the green and the pin is tucked back behind the bunker. Getting a nice high trajectory helps the ball come in at a much steeper angle, hold the green and get closer to the pin.
On Day 4 we talked about how to deloft the club head. Today we're going to reverse that and add loft, but instead of exaggerating everything like we've done for some of these drills, we're only going to add a small amount of loft. A little bit goes a long way.
Most people tend to get too much loft on the club head already, so many of you will find this exercise pretty easy.
Step 1: Keeping the Wrist Flat
As always, we're going to begin by working with just the left arm and hand.
Go ahead and set up in your simulated impact position, just as we have in the last few drills. Get into neutral joint alignment with your weight on your left heel. Your hip, ankle, and shoulder should all be stacked on top of one another.
Again, you're going to make your backswing movement as if you're turning to shake someone's hand. Keep the left wrist nice and flat, just as it was in yesterday's drill.
Now swing forward, and instead of letting the left wrist bow to deloft the club face, you're going to keep the wrist flat all the way down into impact.
The logo of your glove will be facing directly forward. You're using the natural loft of the club to get a higher trajectory on the ball.
Do 20 repetitions of Step 1 with just the left hand - swinging back, swinging down, keeping the logo on your glove facing forward toward the target.
Once you've done that you can go ahead and grab a club and move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Mini Swings With the Impact Bag
You know by now that Step 2 is to swing the club into the impact bag with the left hand only.
As you swing down, focus on keeping your left wrist flat. Look down at the club head and make sure it's nice and square at impact.
If you find that your club face is not square at impact, think back to the first few days of drills and remember you can adjust it by rotating your wrist either clockwise or counter clockwise through your swing, depending on whether it needs to be more open or closed.
Once you've got the motion down and the club face square at impact, go ahead and do 20 reps with the impact bag.
Preset your weight on the left, bring your arm back to about waist high with the left wrist nice and flat so you don't deloft the club face, and swing down. Do that 20 times and move on to Step 3.
Step 3: Hitting Over the Noodle
Now you're ready to go back to the noodle setup. Last time, we delofted the face to hit the ball under the noodle. This time we'll be preserving the loft of the club and going over it.
Start from about 15 feet away with an 8 iron. The noodle should be set up roughly waist high as a good starting point.
Repeat the movements of the drill. As you're coming through, picture both the logo on your glove and the club face pointing up at the sky on your follow through.
The sensation will be very similar to what you felt when you were learning to work the ball from left to right for a slice.
Make sure your left hand is nice and flat at impact. Don't let it bow forward at all.
Hit a few little shots with your left arm only, trying to get them over the noodle. You're aiming for a nice straight ball flight, so make the necessary compensations if it starts out too far to the left or right.
You don't want to hit a slice here. You just want to get a little more loft on the club head.
Hit the ball over the noodle 20 times, and then you can start making some full swings.
Step 4: Full Swings
Just as you did yesterday, start out by hitting a couple of normal shots so you can watch the ball and identify your normal trajectory.
Pick out a cloud or something on the horizon at the peak of the ball flight with your normal swing, then hit some full shots 50% higher than that reference point.
Try to hit the ball as high as possible.
Make sure your left wrist stays nice and flat. As you swing through the ball your wrist and the club head club head should be pointing up, giving you a little more height on the ball.
Once you're getting the ball about half again as high as your normal trajectory go ahead and do that 20 times.
Now you've learned how to hit a big hook or a big slice, and how to hit the ball very high and very low.
On Day 6 we're going to start talking about how to tone these moves down and control them.
You'll use your new skills, get them under control, and work some shots. We'll play a game to help you learn to get less and less of each effect until you can send the ball just a little bit higher or a little bit lower than normal, or hit a tiny fade or a tiny draw.
Checkpoints for Practice
- Getting a higher trajectory helps hold the green on a firm, fast green or tucked pin
- Step 1: Get into impact position, turn back, then swing your arm down keeping the left wrist flat
- Step 2: Swing into an impact bag with the left hand only, again keeping the left wrist flat
- Make sure the club face is square when it hits the bag - if not, adjust accordingly
- Step 3: Set up a waist-high horizontal target and hit mini left handed swings over it from 15 feet away
- Step 4: Check the trajectory of your normal swing, then try to hit full swings that go half again as high