How To Control The Flight Of Your Golf Ball

How To Control The Flight Of Your Golf Ball

For some golfers, a high ball flight comes naturally and for others their default ball flight is low. Having the ability to hit the ball high or low on demand can be a great weapon to have out on the golf course.

How to control the flight of your golf ball high is a complex question with many different moving parts. But not to worry. below we are going to take a closer look at the different factors that contribute to hitting the golf ball high or low, and we will also equip you with the necessary information to know how to hit the ball high or low.

Different Ball Flights Explained 

High

A high ball flight for one golfer will be a normal flight for another. It is very important to keep this in mind when looking at your ball flight. In general players with fast swing speeds have the ability to hit the golf ball higher than players with slower swing speeds

The average launch angle with a driver for amateur golfers is 9 degrees, a high ball flight will equate to a shot with a higher than normal launch angle. This is a good reference point to use to determine if your natural ball flight is higher than average. To find out what your driver launch angle is visit your local PGA Professional, they will be able to assist you with this conundrum with the help of a launch monitor

Low

A low ball flight is very handy when playing in dry windy conditions. Low shots tend to have less spin on them in comparison to high shots which is why a low ball flight is ideal for windy conditions. Similar to what we spoke about above, a low shot for one golfer might look completely different for another player. 

Players with slow swing speeds tend to have a lower natural ball flight but players with above-average swing speeds can compress the golf ball optimally which in return can also produce a low ball flight. To find out if your natural ball flight is low, seek the assistance of your local PGA Professional or visit a golf retailer that has a launch monitor.

Ball Flight vs. Shot Shape

Ball flight and shot shape go hand in hand. The flight of your shot refers to the trajectory of the shot and this can be classified as either low, neutral, or high. Shot shape refers to the shape of the shot being either a draw, fade, or straight. Shot shape can also include a slice, block, or pull hook.

As a general rule of thumb hitting a slice will promote a higher ball flight and a draw will promote a lower ball flight. This however isn’t a blanket rule, how you swing the club, what your club path is and what your angle of attack is can cause this statement to be false. The golf swing is all about the relationship between various factors and this becomes evident the more you learn about the different technicalities of the golf swing.

How To Hit The Golf Ball High

How I hit the golf ball high might differ from how another player hits the golf ball high, at the end of the day it all comes down to your swing and various angles including club path, angle of attack, and face to path. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with these terms, luckily you don’t have to know what they are to hit the ball high.

Regardless of how you swing the golf club two important factors, angle of attack and ball position will change the trajectory of your shots. Luckily for amateur golfers implementing these changes to hit the ball high is fairly simple, all it takes is some practice on the driving range and a few small changes to your setup.

Angle of attack

First and foremost let’s look at the angle of attack. Your angle of attack will cause you to either hit up or down on the golf ball. When hitting down on the golf ball your angle of attack will be negative, if this is the case for you hitting a divot will be common with your irons. If your angle of attack is up you will most likely not hit a divot with your irons. 

To hit the golf ball high your angle of attack needs to be shallower than your normal angle of attack. For instance, if your normal angle of attack is -2 your ball flight will be higher if your angle of attack is -1 instead. 

The scales do tip at some point, for players that hit the ball high naturally by hitting up on the ball, shallowing out their angle of attack, even more, can cause them to hit the ball thin. This all sounds very technical and in reality, it is but luckily by changing your ball position you can change your angle of attack naturally without having to think about angles or degrees or hitting up or down on the golf ball. 

To learn more about the angle of attack click here

Ball Position

As mentioned above, to hit the golf ball high, hitting up on the golf ball compared to your normal angle of attack will promote a higher ball flight. By moving the ball forward in your stance the low point of your swing will shift which in return will cause a change in angle of attack because the golf swing works on an arc.

If your standard 7 iron ball position is in the middle of your stance, move the ball forward by an inch without making any changes to how you swing the club, this should naturally result in a higher ball flight. Go to the driving range and experiment with your ball position to find out what the perfect setup is for you to hit the golf ball high. 

Benefits of Hitting the Golf Ball High 

Being able to hit the ball high can be beneficial for many reasons. First and foremost a high shot gives you the ability to hit it over a tree if your tee shot was off line or if the trees are blocking you out on a hole with a dogleg.

Additionally, a high shot will have added stopping power when landing on the green. If the golf course you are playing has firm greens, being able to hit the ball high will give you a better chance to stop the ball on the green.

How To Hit The Golf Ball Low 

You guessed it, hitting the golf ball low requires you to do exactly the opposite of what is required to hit the ball high. In addition to technical factors in your swing such as club path and face to patch, angle of attack and ball position are the two most important factors that will deliver a low ball flight. 

Angle of Attack

To hit the ball low a steeper than normal angle of attack is required. With a steep angle of attack, your hands will be in front of the golf ball at impact creating forward shaft lean and effectively less loft on the clubface at impact. 

Similar to when hitting the ball high if your angle of attack is too steep it will cause the clubhead to dig into the ground. Finding the perfect balance between a steeper than normal angle of attack that isn’t too steep is key when hitting the ball low. 

Ball Position

By positioning the ball back in your stance your angle of attack will naturally be steeper which in return will deliver forward shaft lean and a lower ball flight. Spend some time on the driving range experimenting with your ball position to get that desired low ball flight that you are looking for.  

Benefits of Hitting the Ball Low

The ability to hit the ball low is a very handy skill to have in your bag. If you find yourself in the trees off the tee a low shot is required to get the ball back into play or to get it onto the green if the green isn’t guarded by a bunker or penalty area. 

The value of a low ball flight can’t be overstated when playing in windy conditions. Low shots have less spin on them that pierce through the wind with ease. High spinny shots are almost uncontrollable when playing in very windy conditions. A low ball flight is also very handy when playing on a firm golf course. With a low ball flight, you will get added run off the tee and added distance. 

Final Thoughts

The ability to control your ball flight at will can come in very handy during a round. Hitting the golf ball either high or low doesn’t require you to make any changes to your swing, by simply changing your ball position you will be able to hit the ball slightly higher or lower depending on the shot type that is required. 

The biggest mistake that amateur golfers make is that they try to hit the ball high or low out on the course without practicing it on the driving range. Understanding the changes that you need to make to your setup to get the desired results is vital, for one player moving the ball forward or back in your stance by an inch will suffice, for other players, it might be two inches. 

This article was last updated on August 31, 2021 .

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Categorized as Tips
Bertine Strauss

By Bertine Strauss

Professional Golfer, 2016 LPGA Tour Rookie, The University of Texas Alum.