Loft and Ball Position Determine Trajectory
Donald Crawley, PGA

Problem Area: Fundamentals
Series: Instruction Feature

Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010 | 11:44 a.m.

Loft and ball position controls trajectory. My comments are intended mainly for the improvement of your short game, but these pointers can be applied to your full swing.

First off, let me ask you a question: How do you determine the position of the ball relative to your stance? The correct answer is: aim the club face with the correct and manufacturers loft, then stand to the handle, with the handle pointing 1-inch in front of your navel, or pants zipper. This procedure guarantee's a correct ball position. The ball position will vary slightly depending on what club you are using. As a rule of thumb, following the above guidelines, the wedges will be in the center of your stance and the woods will be near your front foot with the driver opposite your front instep.

Back to the wedges. Learn to sole your club flush to the ground from front to back edge. The shaft will be angled slightly ahead of the ball, almost as if the shaft is leaning. The ball flight trajectory will be perpendicular to the club face loft. Think about it. If you choose to play the ball back of the middle of your stance you will effectively "de-loft" the club and therefore hit the ball on a lower trajectory. If you play the ball forward of center, the loft will be increased and the ball flight will be higher.

Consequently, I do not recommend playing short shots with the ball too far back in the stance. If you want the ball flight to be lower and running, then choose less loft rather than de-loft. If you desire to hit the Phil Mickelson flop, buy a 60-degree wedge and play the ball only 1-inch forward of center. Keep the face square, there is no need to open it. Sound simple? It is, and should be followed. Thank goodness so many people don't and that keeps my teaching schedule busy. I hope to see you at one of my GolfSimplified sessions for one hour or multiple days.

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