3 Quick Tips to Hit the Ball in the Air
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Aaron Grimes hits his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the APGA Tour held at the PGA Golf Club on February 21, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)
With wind, water and woods all ready to take your golf ball and make your day a bit tougher, just getting the ball in the air with a little bit of accuracy is often considered a victory for most golfers. One of the most frustrating aspects of the game is topping the ball. Are you having trouble getting the ball to fly high? Here are 3 quick tips to help you get the ball in the air.
Loosen Your Grip
Gripping the golf club too tightly will restrict the width of your swing arc, causing the club to rise up during the downswing. That elevation of the clubhead as it approaches the golf ball, whether on the ground or off a tee, will cause the top of the ball to be struck (often with an upward blow), rather than the back of the ball with a downward strike of the ground (or level swing off a tee). This will, of course, result in a ground ball and instant disappointment and exasperation.
By loosening your grip at address, you will have the correct pressure applied throughout the swing, including at impact when the body instinctively tightens its hold on the club anyway. You’ll maintain maximum swing arc, ensuring clean contact at impact.
Ensure the Proper Ball Position at Address
Ball position, to me, is the most important facet of the setup. As we address the ball, there is a spot on the ground where the club, based on its length, will meet the ball at the right trajectory and with a square clubface. If you deviate from setting up with the ball at that position, you will push the ball right (if too far back in your stance), or pull it left (if too far forward in your stance), as the clubface will either not have squared to its target yet, or will have already squared and will now be closed at impact. Both scenarios will very often result in the ball heading straight into the ground, whether with an excessively downward stroke or on a misplaced upswing.
Focus on Striking the Ground after Impact or Tee at Impact
Striking the golf ball at the club’s lowest point is the key to consistent contact of the ground after impact with the golf ball, resulting in a divot. When you ask golfers if the divot comes before or after the golf ball, many will tell you the former. That is incorrect, of course. It is vital to strike the ball first with a downward blow and continue through to your divot. You’ll get the ball airborne more than you have before.
When hitting off a tee, you’ll want to concentrate on striking the tee through the swing, enabling the loft built into the club to get the ball in the air. With the ball elevated, you’ll strike it just after bottoming out, again getting the ball in the air.
You may notice that we haven’t mentioned the word “top” other than in our introductory paragraph. That’s on purpose. An extra tip on not topping the ball is to think positively, follow these pointers and just don’t think of topping the golf ball. Rid your mind of those negative thoughts and you’ll see better results!