What creates golf ball ‘compression’ — and how to get more of it with your swing
Standing over your ball facing the green, you raise the rangefinder to your eye. After locating the flag, you press the button and shoot. It’s a perfect yardage with your favorite iron. The lie looks good. Even the breeze is helping your draw. You’ve hit this shot so many times in practice, it’s your absolute go-to.
You calmly take your stance, settle in, and make an effortless swing with perfect contact.
It’s flush and it makes an unmistakable sound. The clap of impact between the club and ball.
As your ball climbs to its apex and falls in line with the target, you feel a rush of endorphins run through your system. Someone shouts, “that’s the one that keeps you coming back!”.
It’s one of golf’s best feelings: a compressed iron shot.
This sensation can be felt and similarly described in other sports. A topspin return in tennis, and table tennis, a hockey slap shot, a home run off the center barrel of the bat. Compression has a feeling — and it’s one of the best there is.
What created compressed iron shots?
In technical terms, it’s when you reduce the loft of the clubface on your downswing, while hitting down on it slightly. These combination of factors creates a metric instructors call “spin loft,” which measures the difference between the dynamic loft of the face and the attack angle of the club at impact. That’s the feeling of compression.
In the image of Justin Thomas below, you can see the effective loft of his 28 degree 6-iron is 16 degrees at impact, and his -5.5 Attack Angle nets him a spin loft of 21.5
A swing feeling to get you more compression
In the forward swing, always shift your weight towards the target on the downswing. This helps your club strike down. If you can, practice a few swings on a slight downslope to get the feeling of gently shifting forward. You’ll feel more pressure on the lead side of your stance at impact and the finish.
Get the feeling of “covering” your trail palm to the ground. This reduces the loft of your clubface. To get this feel, place a tee in the ground aligned with the center of your stance, only holding a golf ball in your trail hand. Make a backswing. As you shift forward, throw the ball at the ground using the tee as your target. You will get a sense of how your trail hand palm faces the ground on the downswing. This release is what “covering” feels like.
These two moves are done together. As you shift and cover you will begin to master the flow of the release and do it with efficiency and control.
If the ball curves, it’s your grip. Begin with this step by checking HERE, and then practice compression.