Hitting down on the ball is the devil.

Yes, I know, another counter culture rant from The Mad Bomber.

I will let you in on a little secret.

Almost every golfer hits down on the ball too much.

Since I got my Flightscope I have had around 50 people hit on it.  Guess how many have a natural swing that doesn’t fall into one of two categories?:

1.  People with an angle of attack more than 8* down with a 6-7 iron (and even more with wedges).  Considering the tour average is around 3* and around 5* for a wedge, that’s pretty steep.

2.  People who are so steep from getting their upper body forward to hit down on the ball or pulling the handle to get lag from a backswing that is too long… that throw the angle away and come  in shallow or they’d be 10*+ down.

So far…3

That’s right.  47 out of 50 hit down on the ball too much.

Let me add.  I have had several be down 12*-15*

Let me scare you even more.  Many didn’t take divots that were particularly nasty.

Here is the fun part.  The ones who cast the club, actually found some semblance of face and path control…where the steep ones were spitting out crazy numbers.  Paths double digit degrees left and right and club face angles double digits off the path left and right.

Hold the lag just became that much worse.  That’s why you see these 50-70 year old golfers who chuck their right wrists at it and slap it out there straight every time.  While all the pretty lag holders that are hitting down to compress the ball, fight the shanks 3 times a year.

I’d even venture to say most “scooped” chips are a result of beginning the transition by getting steep to hit down on it and the body panicking.

Those of you who have read my blog for a while and have seen my videos will say I knew this stuff already…that is not quite true.  I knew this stuff, but was not aware it was so heinous.

The more I study the swing, the more I realize that total beginners have a better inherent understanding of what to do, but have no frame of reference on how to hit the ball correctly.

Guess what is happening with people who have overactive “hit impulses” and the “I got quick” crowd?

Why do people who whip it inside so often come over the top?

While knowing nothing is universal, especially in golf, I bet the root cause of many of these issues, and many more, are rooted in the deep held belief that started the first time we were told…”You need to hit down on it.”

For those who think I am promoting hitting up on it and casting the club…read it again and buy my wedge video.  😛

 

 

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17 Comments

  1. JB

    Great article- I was about 13 – could putt against anybody- made everything. Although I had no distance and was a little sloppy, and probably 98 pounds soaking wet- my fundamentals weren’t that bad…UNTIL the senior club champ came over to me on the driving range and said “not bad, but you need to HIT DOWN ON YOUR IRONS”……oh sure- I started taking divots, (but DOUBLED DOWN- hehe as Monte would say)……now working towards fundamentals that ALLOW versus FORCE…thanks Monte- great job

    Reply
  2. Tony

    Hitting down is another misnomer, like keeping your head down. Context is key.

    Reply
  3. CP

    I’ve always been a picker or sweeper of the ball. I barely take a divot most of the time. Whenever I try to “hit down and compress the ball” like I’ve been told to, I hit some great shots and some really bad ones. It is good to hear that what I normally do isn’t as bad as I’ve been led to believe.

    “That’s why you see these 50-70 year old golfers who chuck their right wrists at it and slap it out there straight every time. ”

    What do you mean by chuck the right wrist? Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Mark Y

    Monte, you mention that these people that are hitting down (high AOA) don’t take deep divots even though they have a steep swing. You say this is scary.

    Can you expand in this? Steep swing, no divot… What is happening?

    Thanks
    Mark

    Reply
    • Neil

      Goat humping.

      it can be scary to see…

      Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Cast, arms pull in, stand up, etc….all body reactions to steep AoA that can cause a thin shot.

      Reply
  5. Neil

    If there is one thing I like more than the counter culture, it’s a good rant. So here goes mine…

    Having played regularly for just over 4 years, I think I have finally started to see the light…. It’s a long process right!?

    This is probably the best nugget of the whole thing:

    “(people)have no frame of reference on how to hit the ball correctly.
    Guess what is happening with people who have overactive “hit impulses” and the “I got quick” crowd?

    Why do people who whip it inside so often come over the top?”

    I’ve always struggled with hit impulse combined with an uneasy feeling of never having my hands/arms in the right position (read: very upper body dominate, OTT, death grip, closed face, inside of inside, narrow stance, standing close to the ball, stay down, hit down BS!)

    Just never felt confident I would make good contact and kept trying quick fixes to cure my pull slice to no avail. Divots kept getting bigger, wrists kept getting more sore.

    Finally, figured(Read: studied Monty’s rants/vids) I needed to start from the ground up. Foot position, ball position, grip, alignment, ST, turn, arms out front, right arm under, balanced release by feel. Now I am “swinging the club” Voila! Amazing! I’m not playing golf swing with a death grip and super tense upper body with no body rotation anymore.

    I can’t explain the feeling of actually swinging the club with medium grip pressure and letting CF take over and making solid contact with a shallow divot. Pure magic! Ball goes way farther on line with what “feels” like a 75% effort. I can actually hit a draw now. CRAZY! I know I’m probably another year or so out from really trusting it and shooting some good numbers but the new feel of solid ball striking is addictive. And with no huge pelts, toe hits, or wrist pain 🙂

    Really the best part of the whole thing is it feels totally different from what I had been doing. Which is a great thing because everybody already knows the definition of insanity.

    I think everyone really does get caught up in the swing positions. Every body type is different, so everyone’s swing positions will be different. Own it. Like Monte says: 1 thing is universal among good golfers ” impact position with arms out front and ST away from target” if you can achieve this with a good balanced body rotation through the ball, that my friends is a golf swing. Is there a reason why so many pro golfers are good fisherman?? Cast you say? It’s not a cast if your body is turning, right!?

    Just say NO to swing crack and tips/quick fix/instructors that will ruin your game/body/enjoyment!

    Thx again Monty for all the time/effort/feedback/passion and congrats on the new deal. You my friend, deserve it! All the best going forward. Can’t wait to play against you on the Champ tour 😉

    Reply
  6. Dan

    Monte,

    I wanted to ask you about the “hit impulse” when you were in Chicago but I never had the chance. I feel like this is a killer in my swing…I think I understand what it is, but I have no idea how to overcome it.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Your downswing needs to start with something other than pull on the butt end of the grip with your hands.

      Zipper away, right shoulder out, lateral hip move, lead with right elbow…etc.

      Reply
    • Tony

      It’s your inclination to want to have control in transition to the down swing. Which inevitably leads to handle snatching. To overcome the hit impulse you MUST to give that up. I was never able to sequence correctly until I was able to do this. You DO NOT want the leverage in your hands at the start of the down swing. Give that up and trust that everything will work.

      Reply
  7. Don Lissen

    “Hit down” probably came into being to being to stop people from hitting up.

    But, probably a better approach would be to figure out what Colin Montgomery meant when he said, “There’s no HIT in my swing.”

    Reply
  8. north

    So, I was at the range yesterday and the pro is giving a lesson to a septuagenarian and the first instruction out of his mouth is “you have to hit down on the ball…”

    Reply
  9. Mega

    Saw the title so I read this with interest, afterwards I went and dug up my FS report from September 2013 which coincidentally is a time I was working on getting my divot in front of the ball (The Impact Zone by BC but not really trying to generate/create lag as I felt I had plenty). So here are some averages for my AOA:
    6h: -7.7, 7i: -8.2, 8i:-6.4, 9i: -6.9 PW: -8.1 SW: -3.3 LW: +1.6(lipping?) I didn’t list the two GW’s but they were steep as well.

    As you know, averages don’t tell the whole story, I had two or more double digit neg. AofA with all clubs from the 8i and up.

    Now with the driver, my goal has been to try and catch it level.
    Driver: +0.4 early in session and then +0.9 later in session while trying to increase AofA to see it’s impact. That said, I like thinking level with driver because when I try and hit up on the ball with driver I get into trouble, especially with the irons as bad stuff spills over.

    I had looked at the known PGA averages that are out there but didn’t make any conscious changes to address the steep swings, I went back and saw my Pro and he asked me what had I been doing. He got me straightened out. Past two weeks I am fighting a nasty flip (pretty sure its a late flip). The good news is my pro did not prescribe any of the incorrect items you talked about in your GolfWRX flipping article. The number one thing we work on the most is shortening my swing and syncing the body to avoid getting stuck or stalling. Lately he’s had to address wrist position and shaft plane (telling me to feel like I am laying it off, this one is hard to practice on my own without immediate feedback). I’m almost afraid to work on my flipping issue right now for fear of engraining a bad habit. Problem is I will be traveling a lot this summer, I don’t know when I will get in to see my pro. When I know I will be seeing my pro within a week or two, if things are really bad with the full swing I just stop working on it and just play with what I brung to the dance or practice the short game and let me pro get me pointed in the right direction. I’m getting better at self correcting other issues but this flipping one has me stymied.

    Reply
    • Mega

      If I could have attached the FS report I would have…

      Reply
  10. Golf Knut

    Man, I want to buy what you are selling. I’m one of those 50-somethings who have the shaft vertical at impact and hit the ball straight and high. Too high, but it works. Whenever I have tried to develop lag, pull the handle, drive with the legs, any of that stuff, it’s a big failure. It sounds like I should stop worrying about it.

    Reply

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