How to Compress a Golf Ball (7 Steps)
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Golf ball compression is critical for hitting a pure, flush shot with your irons and your driver and experiencing the ball sizzling off the clubface as you see the pros do. But what does compression mean, and what can you do to compress your golf ball better?
Follow these 7 steps for how to compress the golf ball:
- Improve your swing sequence
- Lead with your lower body
- Have your right palm face down
- Get your left side up
- Cover The Ball With Your Chest
- Lean Your Shaft Forwards
- Feel Your Legs Squat
Let’s explore the concept of compression a little more, why it’s important, how it works and the techniques needed to create consistent compression in your golf swing.
What Is Golf Ball Compression?
To get the golf ball to fly, you need to transfer kinetic energy from the golf club into the golf ball’s core.
This occurs at impact when the clubface strikes the ball. At this point, the energy created during the swing from the weight and speed of the club face is transferred to the golf ball’s core.
The core is made from synthetic or pressurized rubber, and the force from the clubface ‘squeezes’ this material at impact, and the elastic properties cause the ball to rebound off the clubface and launch into the air.
The faster the swing speed, the higher the force will be at impact, which means higher compression in the core and the further the ball will travel.
Another way to look at compression is that it measures the ‘hardness’ of the golf ball core and, depending on how fast your swing speed is, will determine what core hardness will best suit your game.
Spin Loft – The Technical Definition Of Golf Ball Compression
From a technical perspective, golf ball compression involves delofting the club on the downswing while hitting descending strike.
This creates a metric called ‘spin loft,’ which is a measure of the mean difference between the attack angle and the dynamic loft of the club, and the goal of compression is to reduce the difference between the attack angle and the club loft.
Having the hands ahead of the ball with the right palm face down at impact and leading with the left side all contribute to delofting the club on the downswing.
For example, let’s say that your 7-iron has a dynamic loft of 34 degrees, a common loft for this club. But, when you are creating your descending strike, the club delofts by 10 degrees making a 24-degree loft at impact.
If you combine that with the attack angle of -6 degrees, you get an effective spin loft of 30 degrees.
Golf Ball Compression Ratings
As the understanding of compression in the golf ball has evolved, golf ball manufacturers have created three different types of compression ratings for golf balls based on the player’s swing speed.
Golf balls are comprised of several layers from a 2-layer to a 5-layer, and as a rule, the 2-layer balls are lower compression while the 5-layer balls are higher compression.
In golf, this means lower compression balls are for players with lower swing speeds and higher compression balls for higher swing speeds.
Hitting a low-compression golf ball designed for slow swing speeds when you have a high swing speed is going to feel like hitting a marshmallow while hitting a high-compression ball with a low swing speed will feel like hitting a small rock – this is why you need to know your swing speed so you can have the correct compression ball to match.
|Swing Speed||Compression Rating|
|Low: 85mph or less||Low- 2 / 3 layer|
|Mid: 85-105mph||Medium – 3 / 4 layer|
|High: 105mph plus||High – 4 /5 layer|
1. How To Compress A Golf Ball – Swing Sequence
To achieve proper compression in your swing there are some simple techniques you can use right now to improve your golf ball compression.
Before we consider those, you need to understand that your sequencing in your swing is a critical aspect as well.
Sequencing is the process of moving the four different body parts – lower body, upper body, arms, and club in the right sequence, and here is where many amateur golfers struggle as their sequence is often in the wrong order.
The sequence is a 1-2-3-4 order, not a 4-3-2-1 order, where 1 is the lower body, 2 is the upper body, 3 is the arms, and 4 is the club.
Pro golfers lead with the lower body, upper body, arms, then club, giving them that 1-2-3-4 sequence and allowing them to have proper compression at impact.
2. To Compress A Golf Ball – Lead With Your Lower Body
The first step in achieving good compression is leading the downswing with the lower body. This is known as the hip bump or slide, and you do this by pushing off from the right foot at the top of the backswing and ‘sliding’ the hip to the left.
This motion moves your center of gravity ahead of the ball and allows you to strike the ball before the ground creating the descending strike.
To do this, you should feel like your belt buckle is shifting left and moving ahead of the ball. If you have watched any golf pros swing in slow motion, this movement happens before the upper body and arms start the downswing.
3. For Proper Compression -Use A Palm Down Position On The Right Hand
The second part of creating compression has the right hand in the correct position to make the descending strike, and you do this by ensuring the right palm is facing down at impact.
Aside from the descending impact, this position also delivers a square clubface allowing maximum contact with the ball and sweet spot, which means more kinetic energy is transferred to the ball’s core, providing higher compression.
A great way to practice this compression technique is to hold a golf ball in your right hand, place a tee in the center of your stance, and then make a backswing. As you make your downswing, throw the ball at the tee to get that sense of your trailing hand facing the ground at impact.
4. Get Your Left Side Up For More Golf Ball Compression
While the right side is moving down at impact, you need to get your left side moving up and back to balance your swing and maximize compression. In the same way as the right-side motion allows you to hit the ball before the turf, clearing the left side will do the same.
5. Cover The Golf Ball For Better Ball Compression
The term ‘covering’ the ball on the downswing refers to the feeling that the chest is working itself down toward the golf ball, and to achieve this, you need to maintain your spine angle. The world’s top teachers cite this technique to improve compression quality.
Doing this correctly in the sequence prevents the hips and torso from extending early. Also, it allows the correct shaft lean -another critical aspect of good compression – to occur in the downswing.
When the spine angle changes during the swing, this leads to early extension, poor contact, and compression and doesn’t allow the shaft to lean at the forward position at impact.
6. Compress The Golf Ball With Forward Shaft Lean
A common error with amateur players is that the club shaft is either in line with or behind the ball at the point of impact, and this creates major issues with inconsistent ball striking and compression.
Forward shaft lean is all about the position of the hands at impact, and as we have mentioned before, having the hands ahead of the ball at impact creates the forward shaft lean and delofts the club so you can strike the ball and then the ground.
Check your position at impact using video or a mirror, and you’ll be able to tell where your hands are relative to the ball at the mark.
7. Feel The Legs Squat During The Downswing
If you have watched the pros swing, you will see how their legs dip slightly as they drive through the downswing. This is another aspect of achieving compression during the swing you need to work on.
The feeling of this is the same as if you are preparing to jump into the air, and the leg squat will help you to keep your spine angle consistent through the downswing. Raising the spine angle pulls the chest away from the ball and leads to the dreaded ‘hand flip’ as you try to lift the ball into the air.
Key Takeaways: How To Compress A Golf Ball
Compression is essential for hitting great iron and driver shots, and by having your hands ahead of the ball at impact with the forward shaft lean, leading with the left side into the downswing, maintaining the spine angle, and covering the ball with your chest, you too can hit those super crisp iron shots in your game.
Get your swing speed measured, and then buy balls that match so you get the best possible performance from your ball during play.
Yes, it takes work, but nothing in this game is achieved without it- but now you know how to compress a golf ball.