It might be obvious to some, but the perfect iron shot is often the opposite of an ideal driver shot. You hit up on the ball with drivers, but with irons, you hit down on the ball. Doing this well means your stance and attack must be slightly different to get the maximum impact from your irons.
But how do you hit down on a golf ball?
The way to hit down on the golf ball is to shift your weight to your lead side. The ball should be aligned with the logo on your shirt, and the golf club handle should be in front of the ball.
Additionally, you should pull the club with your lead hand rather than push it with your trail hand.
The term “hitting down on the ball” can be grouped with phrases like “compressing the ball” and “taking a divot after the ball.” These all correlate with getting the best shot from those best new golf irons you sprung for!
If you’re serious about improving your golf game, consider working with an online golf coach who can provide personalized instruction and feedback.
In the meantime, read on for some tips and drills to help you hone your hitting-down skills.
7 Tips on How to Hit Down on The Golf Ball with Your Irons
Knowing how to hit down on a golf ball with your irons is key to getting the ball on the green from the fairway.
And we’re not talking about taking a scenic detour through the rough, although that happens to the best of us. That’s because a common misconception about hitting down on the ball results in slicing the ball, which is what we want to avoid.
You want the face of the club to scoop the ball to a degree, but not so that the ball soars high that it has a short distance.
We need direction and distance, which might require a little bit of earth moving – i.e., taking a divot after you’ve hit down on the ball.
1. Where’s The Low Point Of Your Swing?
To hit down on a ball, you need the low point of your swing to be in front of the ball. But what is the low point of a swing?
The low point is the club’s lowest position in the arc of a golf swing. This means the iron should contact the ball before reaching its low point.
It is at the low point that you take a divot.
By then, the golf ball is well on its way, so your little farming exercise shouldn’t impact its course.
How do you plan your attack so the low point of your swing is in front of the ball?
2. Check Your Ball Position
When positioning yourself to hit down on the ball, the ball should be in about the center of your stance. Doing this will help you to catch the ball behind the club’s low point and hit a quality iron shot.
Another tip is to line up the ball with the lead side of your chest. For right-handed golfers, this could mean lining the ball up with the logo on your shirt, for instance.
3. Check Your Handle Position
The handle position in a swing will determine the angle of the club’s head. For example, if the handle position is behind the golf ball, the swing’s low point will be behind the golf ball. Conversely, if the handle position is in front of the golf ball, so will the low point of the golf swing be in front of the ball.
So, when preparing your stance, angle the golf club with the head behind the ball and the handle in front of it.
4. Create Extra Compression With A Palm-Down Strike
An essential key to compression is to ensure that your trail hand is facing palm down as you reach the delivery zone.
Doing so will create alignment by squaring the face of the club and providing an excellent downward strike.
5. Lead The Swing With Your Lower Body
When you’ve raised your club to its highest point before cracking the shot, shift your weight to your lead side. It’s almost like subtly bumping your hip toward the target. It will help if you do this before your arms start with the downward swing.
The subtle movement should be such that your belly button is in front of the ball before your club makes contact with the ball. Shifting your weight and center ahead of the ball will help you to reach the low point after you’ve hit the ball.
Stay in the posture as you follow through with your downswing. Many golfers straighten up prematurely either because it’s difficult to turn while staying in this posture or because they try to lift the ball.
6. Pull the Club, Don’t Push
Something else that can help with hitting down on the ball is to pull the club instead of pushing it during the swing.
Pulling the club with your lead hand during a swing will help pull the bottom of the swing forward. However, pushing the club with your trail hand during the swing can move it backward, behind the ball.
Pulling the club with your lead hand and keeping the handle position forward should help you hit down on the ball. You can practice this position with your practice swings or pre-shots. Practice the shot with your lead hand alone, excluding the trail hand. Doing so will give you a feel of how to pull through the impact of the swing.
7. Use Props To Help You
- GOLF ALIGNMENT STICKS: Master your swing with perfect alignment every time! Set includes 3 golf alignment sticks (48 in length) for improved training that will shave strokes off your score
- IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT: Practice fundamentals to land closer to your target: ensure proper posture (shoulders, feet, hips), ball alignment, club alignment, and swing plane for achieving...
- PRACTICE SMARTER: Alignment sticks feature a pointed tip for easily staking into the ground and setting up for ball striking drills and more
Sometimes it’s helpful to have a few props that act as a guide in practicing hitting down on the ball.
This video uses a strike plate (or Fat Board) to help line up for the swing.
Additionally, a golf head cover is placed at the top of the strike board to indicate if there’s unwanted movement. The head cover shouldn’t move in such a setup because you’ve avoided the strike plate.
Another helpful prop to help improve your golf swing is a set of golf alignment sticks. These can help you refine various aspects of your golf swing, like attack or backswing angles.
3 Drills To Help You Hit Down On The Ball
Drills are a great way to create muscle memory and train your brain for different situations. Below are six drills to help you hit down on the ball.
1. Stance Drill
You will need a short iron, and a classic Elvis pose for this drill. Take your stance as you usually would, but angle your back knee inward so you’re standing on the toes of your back foot. Doing this will transfer the majority of your weight onto the lead side.
From this stance, hit a few half and three-quarters shots. Again, having your weight forward at impact will help you to make ball-first contact. Additionally, you’ll feel a stronger push-off from your back foot with the follow-through.
You can also practice some regular swings in between, pushing your weight firmly or your lead side.
2. Taking Divots In A Line Drill
This drill helps to keep your swing on the straight and narrow. If you’re practicing at a driving range, you’d need a can of white spray paint and permission to paint a stripe on the grass.
Step 1: Preparation
Place a tee in the ground where your ball would be. From this point, spray a straight line of about one or two feet toward the target.
Step 2: Ball Setup
Place a ball at the beginning of the line where the tee was. Aim to take a divot out of a part of your painted line when hitting the ball. You should hit the ball before taking a divot. Then, place each consecutive ball in front of the most recent divot.
Step 3: Work Your Way Down The Line
Continue taking divots after the ball until you run out of line. When you’re good at taking divots, you won’t need a practice line anymore.
3. Impressive Compression Drill
Achieving compression on the ball when hitting down requires the correct angle of attack. A way to improve your line of attack, you can try the following drill:
Before hitting the ball, slide a tee into the ground behind the ball at an angle. Then, before you take your swing, imagine that you’re going to use the club head as a hammer. The idea is to push the head of the nail further into the ground under the ball. Then, swing as if you’re going to do just that and send the ball flying.
Conclusion: This is How to Hit Down on the Golf Ball
Hitting down on the ball requires compressing the ball between the club and the ground. Therefore, the lowest point of the swing should be after the golf club has made contact with the ball, creating a divot in the ground.
Doing this requires a weight transfer to the lead side of the body. Additionally, the lead hand should pull the club instead of the trail hand pushing it out of alignment.