Golf: Help me hit down on the ball

Everyone who golfs knows (or thinks that that they know) that to get a ball airborne, you have to hit down on it and mash it into the ground to consistently get it high into the air. I tend to be more of a “scooper” and am extremely jealous of guys that can hit their 7’s a mile high.

I’m a little uncertain as to exactly what “hit down on it” means in actual practice. Should my follow through be at a different angle than my backswing or does it just mean taking a bigger divot? How do I achieve this?

Also, do you sweep or “hit down” with your fairway woods? I carry the standard 3-5-7 set and sweep (of course) but I’d like to know what others do. I also sweep my 3 and 4 “iron” hybrids and hit them fairly well as well.

Any tips, advice or drills would be greatly appreciated.

A lot of better golfers around her than me, but to hit down on my irons, the single thought that works for me is when I have made my backswing, you’ll realize that the butt of the grip is pretty much pointing at the ground. The main thought on my downswing is to pull that butt down as tho I were going to drive it into the ground.

You can also work at developing the feeling it on short chips, literally chop at the ball with no followthru.

The divot need not be “bigger,” so much as it should be in front of the ball.

I don’t carry a 5 or 7 wood, but yes, my understanding is that woods should be “swept” with the ball being struck after the bottom of the club’s arc. The exception would be if the ball is in deep grass - in which case you might wish to reconsider using a wood.

Most hybrids I’ve seen (and the 2 I carry) can be hit either as a wood or an iron.

Seconding what Dinsdale said, especially about hybrids. I hit my only hybrid (22° 4-ironish) as an iron when I want to (striking more down at the ball), and as a wood when I don’t need a lot of spin, or want more distance.

One way to promote a sweep is to think of taking the clubhead back very low to the ground, which forces your hands away from your body on the back swing. Conversely, when hitting down on the ball, you can raise the hands more abruptly on the backswing. Often, even without any other swing triggers, you will tend to repeat on the down swing what you were doing on the backswing.

Your divot shouldn’t be any deeper even hitting down on the ball, unless you currently take no real divot with your irons.

Try hitting the opposite side of the ball.

I golfed with a guy many years ago. I played well but did not hit down on my irons. After we finished he gave me one of his golf balls. Them said take your sand wedge and cut it in half. I thought he was joking but I had nothing to lose. I did it and hit down and got all kinds of spin on the ball. You have to forcefully break your visualization. Lots of practice is needed.

I played today and tried all of these with fairly good results. As gonzomax says, this is going to take a lot of practice.

All golf changes take tons of changes.

I don’t golf nearly as much as I used to, but I sometimes have the “scooping” problem, too. Part of the problem was that I was lifting my head before I hit the ball (in other words, looking for my shot before I made it). The solution sounds dumb, but you might wanna try it, it worked for me: simply bite your shirt! This forces you to keep your head down, and you can’t move it until your right shoulder pushes it through (assuming you’re right handed). Keeping your head down a bit longer than necessary doesn’t let you scoop, and gives your swing the proper “bite”. Like I said, it sounds dumb, but try it a couple times when nobody’s watching on the range.

What worked for me was just making sure my hands were AHEAD of the ball at impact. Stick a tee right next to the ball then see if your divot is behind, at, or ahead of where the tee is.

What has always worked for my kids is that you don’t look up at all until you think the ball has landed. Initially you are going to pull the ever living heck out of every shot. So, look at ball, whack the ever living crud out of it, and sit there face down for a count of three. Slowly reduce the time that you stay face down until it looks and feels a wee bit more natural. I’ve also taught my kids that on putts under six feet that they can not look up until they hear the ball rattling in the cup. It is kind of comical to see my youngest still sitting there after fifteen seconds or so on the rare occasions that she misses one staring at the ground between her feet. I feel real guilty when I run off for a beer and she actually misses, to come back and see the poor darling still posing over a three minute putt (over dramatization - she knows to look up after about 20 seconds or so but not a second earlier).

This is especially easy to work on around the green, where you can actually wait to look up until you HEAR the ball land.