Trajectory Tricks

The loft on the clubface at impact is largely responsible for the launch of the ball. When it comes to wedge play friction also plays a significant role in determining the launch angle, but the purpose of this article is to share an idea to help you improve the loft you deliver to the ball at impact.

Most of us will either hit the ball overly high or too low. This video illustrates a simple drill to get you to feel what you need to feel in order to grasp what is required to deliver either more, or less, loft.

For the high ball hitters:

  • Using a pitching wedge get set up with a narrow stance
  • Position the ball off the tip of your front foot
  • Feel the handle or butt of the club travel a long way forward into impact
  • It’s not easy but do all you can to hit low launchers

For the low ball hitters like me:

  • Stick with the PW and a narrow stance
  • The ball should be in line with the tip of your back foot
  • In the downswing you’ll feel the clubhead swinging a ton. The clubhead should feel like it outraces the hands
  • This will feel scoopy and that’s a good thing

Notice where my hands are just post impact in the image below - the low ball hitters need the hands less forward while the high ball hitters need to sense how much more forward they need to be…

It’s never easy making changes as they always feel so uncomfortable. Let’s get away from associating discomfort with ‘wrong’ as you work towards improvement. I know this exercise seems like it’s the opposite of what it should be, but as the task becomes more challenging (which this one is) we have no choice but to adapt.

The good news is that this drill applies directly to your long game too, so don’t be afraid to incorporate a few of these drills with those full swings too.

Thanks for checking in and I hope this helps you to enjoy your golf a little more.

Better Shots - Out of the Rough

There seem to be so many different formulas when it comes to getting out of rough I thought I would share my philosophy in an attempt to simplify your approach.  It all really depends on the quality of the lie, because even in very long rough, it's still possible to get decent access to the back of the ball.

Here are a few examples:

In this situation the clubhead needs to get so far down into the thick grass that most of the velocity created in the swing will be dissipated.  The challenge here is not only getting the clubface on the ball, it is getting the ball over/through the grass in front of it.  I would always use a very lofted club here (9 iron max) and plan on getting the ball back in play.  Hit down more by moving the ball slightly back in your stance and thus steepening the angle of attack and do not be greedy here.

In this scenario the ball is perched on top of the longer grass and we're smiling.  Be careful though as this is a perfect lie for a flyer.  A flyer occurs when the grass does not slow the clubhead down through the hit and just enough of it gets caught between the ball and the face.  As this grass/matter fills the grooves at impact and gets trapped between the ball and the face, there is very little grip on the ball and as a result the ball launches closer to the dynamic/delivered loft (higher) and spins very little.  Ever heard of "high launch, low spin"? That's what we're looking for with our driver, but not with an 8 iron from 130 yards and explains why you airmailed the clubhouse from the 9th fairway last week.

With this type of lie also watch for hitting under the ball.  When it's perched on top of the grass like this try to view it as being on a high tee - an easy one to swing under!  Make your practice swings where you just brush the very top of grass and duplicate that during the actual shot.

This is a tough one - it doesn't look bad, yet the hard part is deciding which way it will come out.  It could be hot, yet it could also come out very soft and dead like the first example.  The best thing you can do here is take a few extra seconds to assess the lie and then commit fully to your decision.  Make the call and be committed.

When hitting out of very long grass (ankle/knee high) remember that the long blades of grass will get to the shaft and hosel first.  As they wrap around this lead part of the club it will slow down dramatically, causing the face to deloft and the toe of the club to close.  Notice how hard Phil Mickelson is working to keep the face from closing in the picture at the top of the page.  Having hit out of the fescue more than a few times at Atlantic Golf Club this summer I know this for a fact - take a lofted club, aim a little right, swing hard and don't ever be greedy.

Should you have had enough trouble getting out of the rough and you'd like to attend a sporting event or concert Click Here

Additional Resources: 

Hitting Out of the Rough | Golf Lesson | Golf Tips

Getting More Out of Your Driver

I know that in the past I have made it known that it is okay to hit down on the ball with the driver.  This was primarily due to the fact that the PGA Tour average for attack angle (hitting up or down) was 1.3 degrees down.  I have since come to learn that the vast majority of us could greatly benefit from an upward strike with the big stick.


Research has shown that the most efficient way to strike the driver is to impact the ball from the inside and with an upward/ascending direction (the clubhead must travelling away from the ground).  This encourages a higher trajectory, reduces spin and leads to more roll once the ball comes back to earth. Ever heard of high launch, low spin? How can you incorporate these two important keys into your tee shots?

Let's start at address:  In order to move your swing plane to facilitate an in-to-out path drop your back foot and shoulder inside the target line - basically set up with a slightly closed stance

Face On Set Up

 Tee the ball high and make sure it is not too far back in your stance.  You should have a sense that you are behind the ball and are preparing to "swing uphill" as you get set.

 In the swing you will need to feel that you are staying behind the ball with your upper body as you aggressively drive the hips and weight over onto the front foot.  This is where the "uphill" sense comes from - as the hips drive the head stays back you create the body motion that allows for the clubhead to move up into the hit. I like to refer to this as body curve.

Believe it or not when you hit 5 degrees from the inside, coupled with 5 degrees up on the ball the clubhead is travelling straight at the target at impact (assuming you aligned correctly of course)!  A fantastic recipe for long and efficient tee shots.

If you cannot seem to get the sense or feel for hitting up on the ball it could well be that your are working your body incorrectly through impact.  It is very common for golfers with tight hips or general flexibility problems to overuse the upper body and try to muscle the hit with their arms.  This will always result in a downward, spinny strike on the ball.  You may also need to consult with a golf specific fitness trainer to help you become more physically able to get your body into the correct position.

Remember - this can be overdone! We are only looking for the clubhead to be moving a few degrees from the inside and a few degrees up so take it easy and go slowly.  I have had startling results this summer just by getting golfers to execute these two simple keys with the driver.  One golfer actually gained over 50 yards! I'm sure we could all benefit from a few extra yards....not to mention 50!