The more shots you can hit on command, the easier golf becomes. Can you hit a hook on purpose? How about a slice?
The height of your golf shots is essential. Do you know how to control the trajectory of a golf ball?
In his prime Tiger Woods dominated the PGA Tour because of his ability to hit every shot possible and control the trajectory of a golf ball.
His most famous shot is the “stinger”. Tiger can do it with his 2-iron, his 3-wood, or his driver. The “stinger” is a low, straight shot that always finds the fairway.
This is just one example of a shot you can play if you learn how to control the trajectory of a golf ball.
Every time you play golf you will encounter different shots. The ability to adapt is what separates a scratch golfer from someone trying to break 100.
We want to help you add more tools to your toolkit. Today we are focused on teaching you how to control the trajectory of a golf ball. Let’s get started!
Why Do You Need To Control The Trajectory Of A Golf Ball?
Before we dive into the “how”, let’s discuss the “why”. What situations require you to control the trajectory of a golf ball?
#1: Windy Days
Even if you aren’t playing in Scotland, you may find yourself on the golf course trying to battle high winds.
The wind can cause your ball to spin more, leading to wild shots. A draw becomes a hook and a fade becomes a slice.
The best way to play in the wind is to avoid it as much as possible. In other words, control the trajectory of a golf ball and hit your shots lower.
The only exception to this rule is if you are downwind and want to let your ball ride it. In this case, you would try to hit the ball higher.
Players that know how to control the trajectory of a golf ball can dominate on windy days.
We don’t know about you, but we don’t always hit the fairway. You may find yourself in the woods behind a tree or another obstacle.
How do you hit your shot under the limbs or over the bush in this situation? The answer is simple. You control the trajectory of a golf ball.
Course management and the ability to escape from trouble will quickly improve your scores and decrease your golf handicap.
We have all felt the humiliation of hitting a tree limb and watching our ball fly backward. Avoid this embarrassment by learning how to “flight” your golf ball.
#3: Course Firmness
Great golfers will adjust their game to the golf course they are playing. One example is the firmness of the course.
If the fairways are dry and hard, there is an advantage to hitting your tee shots lower and letting them run out. Control the trajectory of a golf ball to make this happen.
The opposite is also true. If the course is wet from recent rain, you want to fly the ball as far as possible with your driver.
Can you hit your driver at different heights on purpose? It is as simple as learning to control the trajectory of a golf ball!
#4: Tight Hole – Trouble on Both Sides
We talked about Tiger’s “stinger” above. He would use this shot on tight holes to avoid hitting it in a hazard (penalty area) or out of bounds.
This is a great example of creating a new shot by controlling the trajectory of a golf ball. Anytime Tiger wanted to “play safe” he pulled out the “stinger”.
Finding a “go-to” shot when you are nervous about a situation is a great way to improve as a player.
5 Ways To Control The Trajectory Of A Golf Ball
We have talked about when you want to control the trajectory of a golf ball, so now it is time to discuss how you do it.
#1: Draw For Low, Fade For High
The type of spin and curve you put on the golf ball will impact the height. It is much easier to hit a low draw and a high fade.
The reason is that the spin that creates the curve is working with the shot you are trying to play. It is possible to hit a low fade and a high draw, but it is much harder.
Golf terminology can be confusing. For a right-handed golfer, a draw curves slightly from right to left. A fade moves slightly from left to right.
Whenever possible, play the shot that is easier to execute. If you want to hit a low driver, play a draw.
Quick tip to hit a draw or a fade – trust your divot. To hit a draw your divot should point slightly to the right (right-handed players).
The opposite is true for a fade. Your divot needs to point to the left. Use a 7-iron on the range and try to make your divot point in a specific direction.
#2: Length of Swing & Ball Position
When trying to control the trajectory of a golf ball you need to tweak your swing and your setup.
First, let’s talk about ball position. To hit a low shot place the ball back in your stance. To hit a high shot, move it forward.
Changing your ball position will make controlling the shot easier. We also recommend you tweak your swing slightly.
For lower shots, try shortening your swing a bit. A nice compact swing will help you hit down on it.
For higher shots, we like a slightly longer swing. This gives you more time to get the clubface open and launch the ball into the air.
#3: Use Loft As Your Friend
Work smarter, not harder. If possible, let the loft of your club help you control the trajectory of a golf ball.
If you trying to hit a shot under a tree limb and you are an 8-iron distance from the flag, choose a 5-iron.
Instead of trying to change the loft of the 8-iron, hit a 5-iron less than 100%. This will guarantee you miss the tree limb and you can still chase the ball onto the green.
It is always easier to hit a low shot with a less-lofted club. Keep it simple and let the club do the work for you.
The golden rule – when faced with a situation on the golf course, assess your options, and pick the easiest one for you to execute!
#4: Control The Clubface
We will admit this is an advanced tip, but it might work for you. Controlling the trajectory of a golf ball is as simple as controlling the clubface of your club.
A ball will fly lower when your clubface is “shut down” at impact and higher when it is open.
Can you feel the status of the clubface during your swing? If you can, this swing thought might be the easiest way for your to control the height of a shot.
Most amateur golfers cannot “feel the face”, but if you can – go with it! This is a great technique to practice at the driving range.
Trial and error is a great way to learn new shots and develop a golf swing.
#5: Practice Makes Perfect – Learn Your Game
Never simply stand on the driving range smacking drivers. Use your bucket of golf balls to get better. Effective practice is key to improvement.
Create scenarios on the driving range and try to execute the shot. Work on hitting different shots and controlling the trajectory of a golf ball.
Learn the shots you can execute and the ones that don’t work.
If you can’t hit a low fade on the driving range, you should never try it on the course.
You should never try to hit a shot on the golf course that you haven’t figured out in practice. Practice is where you try new shots.
Who cares if you shank, top, or duff a ball at the range? No one keeps score at the driving range so use it to experiment.
Develop new shots and confidence in those shots. Once you have, it won’t be a problem when you need to do it on the course.