How many times have you heard golfers advise you to learn how to hit down on the Golf Ball? Well, that only reiterates how significant the technique is. As twisted as it sounds, getting a hang of it is also not going to be easy. We don’t mean to scare you here. We only said that it would be difficult. But, with the right tactics, you are going to get it and soon.
Prepare yourself for what is ahead. Learn the technical details behind the whole thing. This would ease your mind a bit. You would not be scared of trying something that you understand. That’s exactly how I began learning it too. I was always having all the odd misconceptions about hitting the ball before I started playing golf the golfer’s way. But then, here goes, the techniques I learned all the way through my journey, from professional golfers all around the globe.
What Do You Need, To Begin With?
If you are a total beginner on the field, the phrase itself might sound a bit confusing. You want to send the ball up in the air to the target and people are asking you to “hit down on the ball”! Trust your golfer’s instinct. The moment you hold your Club you would perceive the whole set up in a whole new way. Of course, the material of the club, the golf ball, the field itself and other factors would determine the strike, the response, and the result. But what good would it be to start without the right techniques?
Learn the techniques well and then you can always improvise. It is all about the “fun” at the end. These techniques are not to confine your play but only to prevent any associated pain and injury. Ask any golfer that complains of shoulder pains and backaches due to the wrong swings they made! Save the trouble and start with understanding what is required to get you golfing.
Getting back to our “how to hit down on the golf ball” theory, here is what you need:
- 1. A Golf Ball: Not just any golf ball- the right one. If you are a senior player, choose one specially designed for senior golfers. There are those meant for the beginners. It is all about the swing, the spin and other factors associated with every strike. So get the right one to support you in your journey.
- 2. The Right Club: Choose the right material of golf club. Remember that though “hitting down” works in most cases, it might not entirely be true with irons. This is, in fact, one fact that raises several disputes. There are some who are against hitting down and some who swear by it. The skepticism mainly arises due to the difficulty of replicating the technique with an iron club. So remember when you use your irons you would have to slightly vary the strike. You can hit down on your irons once you have mastered your strike and learned the nuances of the technique.
- 3. Perseverance: Like every other technique out there this one takes time. All along your path you might be bombarded with huge pieces of advice and do’s and don'ts. But then every golfer has his own theory. If you wish to start at a common point, if you wish to get that perfect divot you have seen golfers make, you are at the right place.
- 4. A Great Posture: It is all about your body language on the field. When you get the right angle when you strike, you would never miss. To get the right angle you would have to focus on coordinating every aspect of your body language to support the desired result.
Once you have got all of the above, just hang in there. Few practice sessions are all it would take for you to totally understand the technique.
Hitting Down And The Compression Connection
Compression of the golf ball is something that is considered to be a difficult one to master. But this is one thing that makes the pro golfer hit that perfect shot. Hearing the perfect “thud” carving out the perfect divot- is that not what every golfer dreams of? To get that you should get the compression right. But what is with compression? You are told to go steep to get the perfect compression. Is that right entirely? It is true to the extent that you should go down, but the key is to maintain the right level.
How steep? That is the billion dollar question. Hitting down a golf ball is one thing that would create the perfect contact required. This is what gives the ball the rise it needs to reach the target eventually. So if you have heard about hitting the ball up, think again.
Remember that hitting down steeply on the golf ball is in no way going to increase the compression by itself. So when we say work on your compression, do not go too steep. It is an undeniable truth that there is no single “correct strike” when it comes to golf. But we are talking about getting a strike that would get your ball up in the air to the target at the right angle.
Remember that hitting down would not alter the spin of the ball either. This is particularly true when you out in the field with your irons. If that sounds confusing you are not alone. So was I when I first started. But know that the essence is here to hit down at just the right level. And combine your strike with the required swing speed. If your strike angle is steep and the swing slow, then your ball would not go far. The lift given might appear impressive due to the impact. But the length of the trajectory would be badly impacted.
Getting The Perfect Divot
Who wouldn’t want to get that perfect divot during their shot? First of all, you should be lucky enough to get to practice on lush green grass fields. If you choose the shallow mat fields then your strike might be tuned differently. This is one reason why you might notice a change in your hits on the grass fields and mat fields. The response of the ground beneath matters a lot.
Though we talk so much about divots here, huge divots don’t always mean great shots. Bigger divots might dampen your strength in the strike. This might bring the ball down sooner than it normally would. When would you get a huge divot? When your shot goes deep. Or when the club hits the ground at the wrong angle. Now can you relate the picture?
You don’t need a steep hit period! So you hit down, not steep!- repeating that now for the 100th time. The steep hit would not be required for compression. The steep hit would not be required for the perfect divot!
Why am I telling you the don'ts first? Because these are the mistakes that I made and I find most of the other golfers make in their early days. I got so carried away by the term “hitting down” that I started hitting really down. This slowed my progress a great deal. This made it longer for me to get the hang of this wonderful technique. So there you have the misconceptions first so that you do not start with any wrong assumptions.
One Last Misconception About Titting Down
“Hitting down can be very harmful”. This is another argument that you often tend to hear. But if you would like to hear it from the pro golfers, they tell you how this relates to hitting deep. To get the right shot, work on your swing speed first.
Then find that sweet spot near the ball. This would be the ideal position where your club strikes to give the ball the perfect hit. And yes, you get the divot too! If you are a recreational golfer you can simply focus on keeping your strikes shallow but powerful. But if you are looking to work on your techniques then you should start with finding the perfect balance of your body and the club.
Deep shots would put more strain on your body as well. This applies if you are using an iron club in particular. So drop it!:
The How’s Of Getting The Right “Hit Down” On The Ball
1. Starting With The Control Of Your Low Point
Remember the sweet spot we mentioned earlier? This is what we call the low point. Imagine a circle. This circle would be the path taken by the head of your club. The circle begins from the point where you start the strike, to the point where it hits the ground, and goes all the way round.
As the name indicates, the low point is the lowest point in the circle that you imagined. Ideally, on the field, you would be keeping this low point behind the right? But it is time you reconsider this.
The low point is the point at which your club would hit the ground. Now getting back to our “hitting down” theory, if you hit the ground behind the ball, you would be lifting the ball upward right? But you are supposed to hit it downward and this is why your low point should be on the front of the ball. I believe I’m making sense here.
The club would go downward till it reaches the low point of the curve and then travel upward. For the perfect shallow hit, your low point should be just in front of the ball. This way you would get the ball to be hit downward for that perfect depth. You then have the perfect turf contact as well.
2. Tuning The Hand Grip
To gain the perfect control of your shot you should first strike the right balance. To strike the right balance, you should grab the club with the perfect hold. This would give you a better grip and thus a great control on your hit. It should neither be a strong grip nor a weak grip exerted by your palm. Get the right neutral grip to get the flexibility to swing. This would be with the thumb pointing slightly up with the perfect “v”.
Correcting your wrist action would also help enhance the speed of the swing. There is going to be the firm hand and the flexible hand, though you should have the right flex in both. Position your hands such that your wrists can twist the right amount. The flex applied to the club would depend a lot on the wrist movement.
So pull back just the right amount. Then bring the club down (remember the low point is on the front). And then see your ball rise as the club goes a full swing upward. Working on your shots would give you results for that particular sessions. But working on your hand grip can give you long term results.
3. Body Language Matters The Most
Once you have corrected the grip work on the whole body posture. When we talk about hitting down on the ball one main area to work is the chest position. The elevation and the posture of the chest would determine the swing you get on the arms. This, in turn, affects the length of the swing. When you take your strike the first step is to pull the club back at the right angle.
But one thing you miss here is the position of the chest. When you take your hands back, your chest should not rise. If it goes back too, then to bring your whole body aligned down again to hit the ball down would be difficult. Instead, start with firmly pointing your chest downward.
The ball should be lying on the imaginary line drawn along the exact center of your position. The middle setting allows you to give the perfectly balanced swing. Once this is achieved hold your chest facing downward.
Swing only the arms. So when they return you still have room for movement and take your hit. It doesn’t end there.
Your posture should be held stable till you give the ball a nice lift. So move along with the club once you have taken the hit.
Summing It Up
- So you start with working on the hand grip, getting the perfect neutral position
- Position both your palms such that you get the right flex to the swing
- Hold your chest facing downward
- Work on correcting your low point and bring it to a spot in front of the ball.
- Take your strike with a shallow downward hit
It might now sound a bit overwhelming. But give it a shot. You would definitely not be able to frame a picture of the whole thing unless you try it out in the actual field. Work on your grip and the body posture before you step on the field.
Pick out the right ball and the club for your practice. It is ok to skip the iron for the first few days. But eventually, your iron would give you the perfect shot. Know the technical details and put them to good use without getting too carried away.
Are there any other misconceptions that you broke as you trained to master your shots? Do let us know so we could add to the list. Try hitting down and let us know about that perfect divot you managed carving!