…or more accurately, you must not hit up on the ball with any club.
With the exception of really good golfers trying to go vertical over trees, a bunker lip or on a flop shot from a good lie, you hit down on every shot.
Yes I said it, you hit down on every shot. A large % of you are scoffing and saying to your self, “you don’t hit down on drivers,” or, “I pick my iron shots.”
Well, you would be incorrect. Now if you want to tell me that drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and “picked” irons shots are the club leveling out at impact, I buy that for sure.
What I am trying to stop here is hitting up on the ball, which is the bane of existence for almost every amateur out there who tops woods and skulls chips…in addition players who don’t get that good trap on iron shots and chips and a glancing blow on woods.
Look at it this way and it will make perfect sense. At the top of the back swing, depending on how tall you are and where you set your hands, the club head is 5-7 feet in the air and must have a downward motion to hit the ball.
If you hit up on it, you are changing the direction of a object (the club head) moving 80-130 mph at the last second before it hits another object (the ball). Imagine the timing that would require. It’s tough enough hitting the ball square swinging at it from one direction, never mind changing that direction just before impact.
I want to be clear before I move on. I am not advocating hitting down on driver, or taking massive divots with woods and hybrids. I am telling you you can’t to hit up on the ball to get it in the air.
With a proper swing and ball position, driver and other clubs will level out properly without you assisting it up in the air.
Here are some things that happen when helping the ball up in the air and some things you can do to stop them. (PS-I am sure some of you, who have been inundated with technical nonsense by the golf media, will want to tell me about the loss of power at PP#3 or some stuff like that. Read my post on golf and physics. A 28 handicap won’t be helped by “correct physics of power loss”)
The biggest offender of hitting up on the ball is the shoulder turn stalling and the left shoulder going up or right shoulder going down. It’s basically the same subconscious swing thought and the differences are not important, but you need to keep your shoulders rotating level to the spine through impact.
The next big problem I see is the “chicken wing.” There is a left chicken wing, a right chicken wing and the dreaded double chicken wing. A chicken wing is when one or both arms are bent too much at the elbow during the downswing. There is a position just past impact where you want both arms in full extension and they form a triangle with your shoulders. The shaft will go right up the middle of the triangle. Depending on your swing and club head speed, this is usually 1 frame on a slow mo video past impact.
Most of your topped drives and skulled chips is a right, left or double chicken wing at this frame…not the cliche, “lifted my head.” Many will say they are hitting fat shots and are afraid to extend their arms. Well, there is the double whammy. If you have any “poultry” in your swing, your body will want to dive at it with your head and that is what causes the fat shots. Another cause of the fats is pulling the hands into the body, increasing the chicken wings and losing the angle of attack.
People who have been taught to lag the club too long will often have a right chicken wing just before impact and people who throw or cast the club have a left chicken wing right after impact.
All of this fun and meaningless analysis aside (which everyone seems to need before they make a change), here are the important points.
1. You need to hit down on the ball, regardless of what club or shot you are hitting. Proper ball position will level the club out for longer clubs like driver.
2. Whether it is a chip, driver or anything in between, you need both of your arms to be extended just after impact. One or both chicken wings will cause all of those ugly shots you hate…thin and fat.