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Hitting down on the ball

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm a self taught player and despite my size and stature, I don't get the distance I should be getting.  In a round late fall last year, I got paired up with a random guy and we were talking about ball striking and hitting down on the ball.  He said I'll get the extra distance I'm looking for, which after some research, I believe him.  The problem I'm having is doing it.

 

I've read advise saying to imagine a ball right in front of the ball I'm trying to hit, this causes me to top it.  I've tried looking at the front of the ball, but I still end up hitting just a fraction behind the ball.  I don't know what my problem is, I can't seem to hit down on the ball.  Does anyone have any advice on doing so?  Thank you in advance.

post #2 of 17

You have to truly understand what you are trying to accomplish.  You are trying to strike the ball just before the lowpoint of the swing arch, which will mean that the club is still decending towards the lowpoint, hence "hitting down.  If you place the ball in the wrong place in relation to your arch that is when you will create all of the topped, thinned, skulled, and fat shots.  Each club has a slightly different place on the swing arch that it must be struck on to create the desired shot. 

 

There are two ways to setup for the shot: The first way is to keep the stance the same and adjust the positon of the ball, and the second one is to keep the ball in the same place and then adjust the width of the stance.  I prefer the ladder and here is the video that helped me get squared away:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr0JGugTu0I&list=UUykiLP4DaZ025SSx__-rLMg&index=41

 

You shouldn't have to actively try to hit down on  the ball, the ball should be placed in the proper place in your swing arch so that it happens naturally. Hope this helps.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply.  I'm at work right now and can't watch the video, but I'll watch it as soon as I get home.  I've already tried moving the ball around and it seems like my brain is determined to have the club head strike the ground a fraction before it hits the ball no matter where it is in my stance.  So I'm excited to see what the video says, as it's something I haven't tried yet.

post #4 of 17

I would recommend getting your swing bottom forward without the distraction of a ball. The book "The Impact Zone" has a good drill (as does the Stack and Tilt book) where you draw a line in a sandtrap (SnT book uses spray paint on grass) and address the line as if it were you ball position and practice taking divots on the target sign of the line.

 

Alternatively, what I do at the range when on mats, place a piece of painters tape directly behind your ball and a piece a few inches in front of your ball. Practice striking balls while missing the tape behind the ball and scraping the tape in front of the ball.

 

Both "Impact Zone" by Bobby Clampett and "Stack and Tilt" by Bennet and Plumber will help you (you don't need to convert to SnT to benefit from reading their book, it contains a lot of Universal Truths.)

 

Have'nt seen the 5SK video package but I've heard great things, check it out on this forum.

post #5 of 17

Check out the videos in this thread.  http://thesandtrap.com/t/61376/5sk-video-thread.  Specifically the forward leaning shaft at impact.  This is essentially what hitting down on the ball means.

 

+1 on The Impact Zone as well.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Righty to Lefty View Post

You have to truly understand what you are trying to accomplish.  You are trying to strike the ball just before the lowpoint of the swing arch, which will mean that the club is still decending towards the lowpoint, hence "hitting down.  If you place the ball in the wrong place in relation to your arch that is when you will create all of the topped, thinned, skulled, and fat shots.  Each club has a slightly different place on the swing arch that it must be struck on to create the desired shot. 

There are two ways to setup for the shot: The first way is to keep the stance the same and adjust the positon of the ball, and the second one is to keep the ball in the same place and then adjust the width of the stance.  I prefer the ladder and here is the video that helped me get squared away:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr0JGugTu0I&list=UUykiLP4DaZ025SSx__-rLMg&index=41

You shouldn't have to actively try to hit down on  the ball, the ball should be placed in the proper place in your swing arch so that it happens naturally. Hope this helps.


That video is interesting. Solid logic for sure, I'm just not sure about hitting a PW that far up in my stance. I wish I could try it now, but there is a bunch of snow on the ground. I scheduled time on an indoor range for tomorrow, so I'll give it a try. Maybe it will be my eureka moment on hitting down on the ball.

Ernest, I like the tape idea! I'll try that as well, tomorrow.

Boogie, thanks for the link to the videos. I saved the link in my browser. I'll watch them tomorrow after my range session. I don't want to overwhelm myself with too much stuff at once.
post #7 of 17

You're hitting behind the ball because you're left wrist isn't flat or the weight isn't forward enough.  Good drill here http://thesandtrap.com/t/61376/5sk-video-thread#post_783068

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post

You're hitting behind the ball because you're left wrist isn't flat or the weight isn't forward enough.  Good drill here http://thesandtrap.com/t/61376/5sk-video-thread#post_783068

 

I think I saw that video earlier.  I'm not sure though, I'm at work again and can't watch them right now.  I'll watch it again after my range session, or possibly during it.  However, I don't think that's my problem, my weight and left wrist are two things I've paid close attention to in my swing.  I think it's a mental thing.  For years I've been trying to strike the ball just right at the back of the ball, ground and ball at the same time or ground just a fraction before the ball.  I thought that's where you should hit it.  Now that I realize that's not how it's done, I'm having a hell of a time striking the ball on the downswing.  I became very good at doing it the way I though it should be done.  Now I have to break that, and allow my brain to realize the club should be striking the ground in front of the ball, not at the base of the back of the ball.

 

I've had a steep downswing due to striking the ball where I though it should be.  So I'm sure I will have to flatten my swing out a little.  Later today I'm going to mess with the first video and adjust my stance around the ball, to see how that feels.  Like I said, I'm not excited about hitting a PW and low irons that far forward, but it's worth trying.  I like the logic of it, it gives you an easy way to insure you are always lined up at address.  What are you're thoughts on the first video posted in the tread mvmac?  I'm also going to get some painters tape down and mess with that a little.  I really don't want to get a ton of new stuff in my head and totally screw myself up.  I know why my handicap is high, it's due to my short game.  So it's not like I don't have control with the way I've been striking the ball.  I'm hoping striking the ball the way it should be done will add enough distance so I'm going to the green with a short iron rather than a long iron.  That's going to shave some strokes off as well.  Then this spring I'll start working on the short game.  The goal is to shave 5 strokes off my index this year, which I think it very attainable. 

post #9 of 17

Do you have a FO video of your swing? It sounds like you are losing lag pressure(casting)and hitting the ground behind the ball, throwing the club.

 

Look at how Anthony Kim maintains his angles with his wrists, they call this the flying wedges.

 

 

 

The club is parallel to the ground and you can see how he maintains his right wrist wedge(angle).

 

 

 

Shaft leaning foward at impact(hands leading)and a flat left wrist and a slight bend in the right at impact.

 

 

 

This could be whats going on, but with out video of your swing its hard to say.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Man View Post


That video is interesting. Solid logic for sure, I'm just not sure about hitting a PW that far up in my stance. I wish I could try it now, but there is a bunch of snow on the ground. I scheduled time on an indoor range for tomorrow, so I'll give it a try. Maybe it will be my eureka moment on hitting down on the ball.

Ernest, I like the tape idea! I'll try that as well, tomorrow.

Boogie, thanks for the link to the videos. I saved the link in my browser. I'll watch them tomorrow after my range session. I don't want to overwhelm myself with too much stuff at once.

It isn't far up in your stance at all if your stance is the proper width. When I first saw this technique I thought there was no way the ball was in the correct spot until I saw myself on video and saw that it wasn't.  It really shallowed out my divots and now I trust it.  As long as you do like he says and sole the club naturally and then adjust your back foot until your armpit is roughly right over the handle of the club you will see that it works and greatly reduces fat contact.  You just gotta try it.  Once you have your ball position ironed out then your can address other things.  A flat wrist doesn't in and of itself cause fat contact in my opinion. Your ball position must be correct first.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Man View Post

 

I think I saw that video earlier.  I'm not sure though, I'm at work again and can't watch them right now.  I'll watch it again after my range session, or possibly during it.  However, I don't think that's my problem, my weight and left wrist are two things I've paid close attention to in my swing.  I think it's a mental thing.  

 

What are you're thoughts on the first video posted in the tread mvmac?  I'm also going to get some painters tape down and mess with that a little.  I really don't want to get a ton of new stuff in my head and totally screw myself up.  I know why my handicap is high, it's due to my short game.  So it's not like I don't have control with the way I've been striking the ball.  I'm hoping striking the ball the way it should be done will add enough distance so I'm going to the green with a short iron rather than a long iron.  That's going to shave some strokes off as well.  Then this spring I'll start working on the short game.  The goal is to shave 5 strokes off my index this year, which I think it very attainable. 

I don't care if you have Tiger Wood's mental game, you're going to struggle with low point control, contact, if you're flipping or the weight is back at impact.  From what you're describing and the handicap you've posted there is a very good chance this is happening.  Post up a swing video or look at it yourself.  

 

Yeah I think for a wedge you can play it somewhere between middle of the stance and off the left heel.  I don't think there's such a thing as "proper" ball position, can change depending on the shot, but it's not going to make or break whether you hit it solid.  Higher handicapper will move it back to try and catch the ball on the back side of the arc.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Righty to Lefty View Post

 A flat wrist doesn't in and of itself cause fat contact in my opinion. Your ball position must be correct first.

 

 

Correct which is why I also said weight forward in that other post.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Righty to Lefty View Post

You have to truly understand what you are trying to accomplish.  You are trying to strike the ball just before the lowpoint of the swing arch, which will mean that the club is still decending towards the lowpoint, hence "hitting down.  If you place the ball in the wrong place in relation to your arch that is when you will create all of the topped, thinned, skulled, and fat shots.  Each club has a slightly different place on the swing arch that it must be struck on to create the desired shot. 

 

There are two ways to setup for the shot: The first way is to keep the stance the same and adjust the positon of the ball, and the second one is to keep the ball in the same place and then adjust the width of the stance.  I prefer the ladder and here is the video that helped me get squared away:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr0JGugTu0I&list=UUykiLP4DaZ025SSx__-rLMg&index=41

 

You shouldn't have to actively try to hit down on  the ball, the ball should be placed in the proper place in your swing arch so that it happens naturally. Hope this helps.

Very interesting video, when the snow melts I am going to give it a try. I have always played the ball in the middle of my stance for all of my irons but without a reference point each time who knows where it really is in  my stance. I am just going off what I see when I look down. I think the result is that my swing has become way too steep and has led to inconsistency. This may explain why I have always had difficulty hitting fairway woods off the deck. Thanks for the link.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post

I would recommend getting your swing bottom forward without the distraction of a ball. The book "The Impact Zone" has a good drill (as does the Stack and Tilt book) where you draw a line in a sandtrap (SnT book uses spray paint on grass) and address the line as if it were you ball position and practice taking divots on the target sign of the line.

 

Alternatively, what I do at the range when on mats, place a piece of painters tape directly behind your ball and a piece a few inches in front of your ball. Practice striking balls while missing the tape behind the ball and scraping the tape in front of the ball.

 

Both "Impact Zone" by Bobby Clampett and "Stack and Tilt" by Bennet and Plumber will help you (you don't need to convert to SnT to benefit from reading their book, it contains a lot of Universal Truths.)

 

Have'nt seen the 5SK video package but I've heard great things, check it out on this forum.

 

 

Ernest you totally stole my thunder!  The first thing I thought of when I read the first post of this thread was that this person needs to read the Impact Zone by Bobby Clampett.

 

To the OP:  I started golfing in June of 2012 and struggled with this for a while.  Read the Impact Zone.  It helped me visualize things much better including how the bottom of your swing arc should be 3 to 4" or so in front of the ball on an iron shot.  It took a while but after reading that book, hitting lots of balls at the range, and playing as much as I could, I've gone from consistently hitting fat shots to now consistently hitting solid shots by hitting the ball first.  Am I perfect?  No.  I still hit the occasional fat shot just like everyone does from time to time but I hit way more solid shots now than fat ones. 

 

Also, a drill that I have read about many times and even seen recently on tv:  roll up a towel and put it about a grips length behind your ball.  Practice hitting the ball without touching the towel.  This will help you work on hitting down on the ball and hitting the ball first.  Good luck!

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Man View Post


That video is interesting. Solid logic for sure, I'm just not sure about hitting a PW that far up in my stance. I wish I could try it now, but there is a bunch of snow on the ground. I scheduled time on an indoor range for tomorrow, so I'll give it a try. Maybe it will be my eureka moment on hitting down on the ball.

Ernest, I like the tape idea! I'll try that as well, tomorrow.

Boogie, thanks for the link to the videos. I saved the link in my browser. I'll watch them tomorrow after my range session. I don't want to overwhelm myself with too much stuff at once.

Look at Tiger's wedge ball position in this video His stance is narrow but the ball is off of his front foot but his left armpit is still inline with the butt end of the golf club:

 

 

Or Jack:

 

Both techniques explained in this video:

post #15 of 17

Thanks for posting those videos.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

After three solid days of practice I'm now able to get pretty clean contact hitting down on the ball.  Right to Lefty, I messed with your advice a little, and i wouldn't say the butt of the club is right under my arm pit, but just very slightly behind it.  Using the tape on the floor while concentrating on the address and adjusting the width my my stance depending on the club helped me out.  Thanks for all the advice.  I've added about 15 yards by doing this.

post #17 of 17

In golf i found to fix something i need to do something opposite. For me i played golf for years with the ball back in my stance, weight shifted back and flipping at the ball, actually played good golf. So some would look at tops and fat shots as, "Oh the ball needs to be moved back", well that can help with that. But it wont fix the problem.

 

Get yourself a chalk line from the hardware store, put down a straight line at the driving range, then make sure the divots are ahead of that line. That line must always be ahead of the center of your body. Just get use to getting your divots forward

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