How to hit the golf ball higher, according to a Top 100 Teacher
Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
Every time I play a round with my buddy Gray, it amazes me how high he’s able to hit his golf ball.
Off the tee, with his irons and with his wedges; each club he uses just sails the ball into the air like a flock of birds taking flight.
While this skill isn’t something every golfer might need — especially while playing a links course or a track with lots of headwind — learning how to hit the golf ball higher comes in handy in plenty of scenarios during a round.
For instance, say you slice your drive into a neighboring fairway and there’s trees obstructing your shot back towards your hole. Instead of punching it out and staying low — which sacrifices distance — a player who can hit it high can be more aggressive and try to carry the trees. This is an advantage Gray has over me anytime we find ourselves in this situation.
Additionally, knowing how to hit the golf ball high means you’re typically hitting the sweet spot of the club, leading to a flush shot that’s maximizing distance.
So if you’re interested in learning how to get more height on your shots, take a look at some tips below, as GOLF Top 100 Teacher Mark Durland provides his advice in today’s Play Smart lesson.
4 tips on how to hit the golf ball higher
In the video above, the first question that Durland asks is a simple one: Why would anyone want to know how to hit the golf ball higher?
He offers a few compelling examples, explaining different scenarios where a higher ball flight might be beneficial.
In addition to the aforementioned dilemma when trying to carry trees, Durland says that higher shots are helpful when playing on firmer greens — where a steeper landing angle is preferred. Another time when higher shots are useful is while playing elevated greens in mountainous terrain.
Durland then goes into some tips for hitting the golf ball higher.
Take as much loft as possible
Even if you aren’t capable of hitting the green from where your shot is, defaulting to a higher-lofted club is the smartest strategy. So even if the shot calls for a 7-iron, take an 8-iron — which will, naturally, provide some height. This philosophy also comes in handy while in fairway bunkers with big lips. The worst outcome by doing this? Not making it over the obstacle in front of you, causing the ball to only advance a few yards.
Move the ball forward in your stance
By moving the ball forward in your stance, you’ll apply more loft at impact. This is an adjustment to experiment with more on the driving range than on the golf course — so be sure to carve out some focused practice next time. Just remember not to have the ball too far forward, as this could result in poor contact and diminishing returns.
Create some tilt at address
By looking up towards the clouds at address, you’ll create great tilt to the spine. This helps us avoid hitting too far down on the ball (which points the loft into the ground and produces lower launching shots). So be sure that clubface is pointed towards the sky when you’re looking for high-launching, majestic golf shots.
Use a mental strategy for hitting the golf ball higher
In the video, Durland refers to a study where students visualized clearing an obstacle and used their athleticism to execute the shot. For those who did this, they had a much higher success rate than students who just stepped in and hit their shot. While hitting a high shot might appear tough, mentally play it out in your head prior to swinging the club. By doing this, you’ll give yourself a plan of attack and, oftentimes, see the result you want.
Once you begin to implement these simple tips into your setup, you’ll start launching the ball much higher into the air. Not only will your playing partners be impressed with your newfound ball-striking ability, but you’ll give yourself more opportunities at shooting low with such great ball control.
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