What do you know about Tiger Woods?
Apart from being one of the best golfers of this century, he’s the undisputed master of the stinger.
When you look at Wood’s stingers, it’s poetry and physics in motion.
Don’t you marvel at the tight launch angle, the golf ball flying at Mach speeds slightly above the ground, with pinpoint accuracy? Pure golfing pleasure right there.
Wood has the uncanny ability to hit his dead-accurate stingers that fly just below the radar almost at will.
The stinger is so unique to Tiger Woods that it practically won him the 2006 British Open all by itself.
Well, if you’re anything like the typical golfer, Tiger Woods hitting low shots must be a shocker.
Most people equate golf to those cloud-kissing monster shots that carry for miles. The Bubba Watson kind of monsters.
Nothing could be further from the truth, though; golf is a positional game, and different scenarios require different approaches.
The ability to hit low shots is an essential skill that will improve your golf game and give you an edge over your competitors.
Of course, low shots are hard to control and roll for miles on end (for an inexperienced player). But once you master the trick of hitting low shots, your game will improve a great deal.
Importance of low shots
Forget the hype; you need low shots a lot in golf.
Here are a few instances where low shots are vital.
Golf is an outdoor sport, and more often than not, you’ll have to battle with mother nature while playing.
It’s all fun and games when the weather is crisp and sunny. But what happens when you’re playing on a windy course?
All your balls lack power, lose direction, and your game becomes crappy.
That’s where you need low shots.
A golf ball is small and light. The only way of making sure it travels the required distance and direction is using a shot that avoids the full wrath of the wind; a low shot.
Pro tip – When playing into the wind, use the 75% rule. Do everything on a ¾ basis. Ensure that your swing, club speed, and turn are not on maximum efficiency.
Avoid Overhanging Branches
If you ever find yourself in the rough under a couple of broad canopy trees, you’re doomed. This is because none of the conventional shots will get you out of this rut.
Unfortunately, most players at this stage panic and smash the ball to smithereens hoping that the ball will crush through the canopy and land on the green.
Even if the ball somehow makes it out of the canopies, its speed, energy, and direction at this point will all be wrong.
Keep your cool; there’s a way out.
A low shot will easily and comfortably get you out of this mess.
Improve your shot accuracy
This is a no-brainer.
Golf without accuracy is useless. Why would you even think of picking a club if your balls don’t even land within shouting distance of the hole?
Apart from spending hours on the course perfecting your aim, you can try hitting low shots.
Low shots aren’t affected by the wind as much and are easier to control.
How to Hit a Low Golf Shot
To hit low shots, concentrate on these three main areas.
- Set up
- Finish position
Step 1: Set up for a low golf shot
This is the most critical part of your preparation phase. Your setup accounts for 80% of success or failure in your shot.
- Position yourself properly with your feet spread apart.
- Try to keep your feet slightly closer. No more than shoulder-width apart is perfect. This will affect your swing, ensuring that you shorten your swing.
- Bend your knees slightly to improve your stability
- Keep your spine straight at all times. Don’t slouch.
- Keep your shoulder level at all times. You need an even swing, unlike a high shot where you need to tilt your shoulder.
- Move the ball slightly back from the centerline ( the ball should be closer to your trail foot). Having the ball back towards your trailing foot affects your shot in a massive way.
The main aim is to present the smallest angle of loft to the ball. You can do this by focusing on the following.
Attack Angle refers to the relationship of your club and ball at the point of impact.
A positive attack angle is when the club hits the ball on the upswing, while a negative attack angle occurs when the club meets the ball on the downswing.
For a low shot, the club must hit the ball on the downswing. The ball positioning ensures this happens.
Dynamic loft refers to the club loft at the point of impact with the ball. The main aim is to ensure that the club presents the smallest angle of loft to the ball. A smaller loft means less ball height.
Positioning the ball closer to your trail foot reduces the arc of your swing, and your club will hit the ball with a smaller loft angle.
Lean the club forward
A forward-leaning club will present a negative angle hitting the ball into the turf, ensuring that the resultant shot is low.
Also, by positioning the club in a forward-leaning angle, you’ll increase the ball’s smash factor, meaning that there will be more energy efficiency.
Step 2: Speed
Speed is an important consideration when aiming for low shots. This is because higher speed equals higher kinetic energy, which leads to high balls.
You need less kinetic energy to achieve a low shot. You can do this by reducing your clubhead speed.
But ensure that your speed isn’t too low that your ball fails to launch off the ground.
To achieve the right kind of speed necessary for a low shot, shorten your swing. A great idea would be to use the 75% rule.
The 75% rule advises that your swing, turn, and body movement( hip and knees) should be 75% or ¾ of what you usually do for high shots.
Start at shoulder level.
- Swing with your usual strength and club speed. ( the shorter swing arc will automatically reduce your club speed, so don’t worry about that)
- Make a three-quarter turn in your swing.
- Swing the shot more around your body and finish with low hands
If you follow these steps, then you’re guaranteed a low shot.
Step 3: Finishing Position
The finishing position of your swing drastically affects the height, direction, and carry of a golf ball.
This is because the final hand position completes the swing arc and determines the final velocity, angle, and ball direction.
For example, to get high shots, you need to finish with high hands. High hands affect the dynamic loft and attack angle of the ball.
Similarly, low shots need you to finish with low hands. A combination of low hands coupled with a reduced swinging arc is the perfect recipe for low balls.
Low hands equal to smaller attack angles and dynamic loft, leading to less elevated shots.
You need to learn and master the skill of hitting low shots. This is very important when playing golf, especially under unfavorable conditions.
Low shots are also crucial if you naturally hit high shots due to your height or swing technique.
A low shot is a valuable weapon all golfers need in their golfing arsenal.
Can you hit a low shot with a driver?
Yes. Hitting a low driver is one neat trick that pro golfers specialize in to give them an advantage.
The only difference between hitting a driver and any other ball is the height elevation of the ball in a drive shot.
And although the tee elevates the ball, following the three simple steps of setup, speed, and finishing position discussed above will help you hit a low shot.
What is a punch shot?
A punch shot is an intentional low shot that seeks to lower the ball’s trajectory during flight.
Golfers use the punch shot to avoid obstacles such as trees, foliage, and windy conditions.
A punch shot is a trick any serious golfer must learn and master.
Can you hit a draw or fade with a low shot?
Yes. You can hit both a draw and fade with low shots.
A draw is a right to left ball movement during a flight. A fade is the reverse of a draw shot. Both a draw and fade are intentional shots, with the objective being to get closer to the target.
A draw and a fade aim to reach hard-to-reach holes or markers and avoid obstacles in the flight path.
With proper practice, you can comfortably hit low draws and fades.