How To Hit The Golf Ball Higher
We all would love to hit the golf ball high. Don’t you just get goosebumps watching the pros doing it?
You probably watch in awe as Bryson Dechambeau or Viktor Hovland handle beautiful approach shots to the green with long and high golf shots, right?
Their golf balls seem to take an eternity flying, and when they finally land, they roll neatly to within a few feet of the hole.
Pure golfing bliss right there.
Unfortunately, the reality is a bit different for most of us. Do most of your balls land on hazards or roll for an eternity once they land on the green?
If the answer is yes, then you need to hit your golf ball higher. High balls get you out of trouble and get you to the greens faster. They also help your ball stay on the green when it lands.
Don’t let the pros scare you. Hitting high balls is possible for the average and beginner golfers.
Fair warning, though. It will take you lots of time and practice to master the techniques but eventually, you’ll play like the pros.
Why do you need high shots in the first place?
Reach greens faster
This is a no-brainer.
Hitting high balls in golf is not only necessary but economical. It’s a fact that high balls carry further.
A typical PGA pro golfer averages 260 yards with his/her driver.
The average Joe on the other hand barely gets to the 200-yard range.
To get within sniffing distance of the pros, your balls have to carry a bit further.
You’re probably losing 20-30 yards by not hitting high balls.
High balls also allow you to approach the green from a favorable condition.
High balls bypass hazards thus your next shot will be easier.
By reaching greens faster you use fewer strokes which is a good thing; fewer strokes equal more points.
Of course, you don’t have to hit monster shots like Mike Austin. Few people can achieve that.
But a higher ball reduces your number of strokes, reaches the greens faster, and gives you some latitude in your subsequent shots.
Getting out of rough spots.
All courses are different, but one thing for sure, landing in the rough, bunkers, or water in any course isn’t a brilliant idea.
But what happens when you land in these tight spots? What would save you?
High shots, of course. Whether you’re using irons or your lob wedge, height is crucial at this point, especially if there’s a lip right in front of you.
Stop balls faster
Do you look at your balls bouncing and rolling for an eternity, and you just can’t help but let out a tiny scream of frustration?
Worry not, it happens to the best of us, and frankly, it’s pretty infuriating.
High balls stop faster, even on firm surfaces. This is because as the ball lands on a steeper angle and greater speed, the resultant force exerted by the ground is higher.
This causes the ball to lose most of its momentum and energy on hitting the ground.
Controlling your bounce and roll rate is a vital skill that will improve your golf game.
Compensate for Low swing speed
How fast is your swing?
Do you pack a killer punch, or do you have the average amateur swing speeds?
Pro golfers swing average 103 mph while you only average 93 mph.
You need an ace up your sleeve to compensate for the speed difference right? A high shot will do the trick.
Low swing speeds mean more downward trajectory and less carry. You run the risk of not making the fairway or getting bogged in the hazards.
A viable solution to this problem would be to increase your swing speed. Unfortunately, swing speed depends on your physique and physical fitness, which most of us lack.
The next best alternative is to hit the ball higher.
Higher balls allow you to improve your carries and reduce risks of landing on tough spots.
What factors influence the height of your balls
Several factors influence the height of your ball.
These factors include,
- Your golf stance
- The rate of your backspin
- Tee height
- Launch angle
- The loft of your club
Swing speed and efficiency
- Your swing speed
- Dynamic Loft
Golf Ball Launch Factors
Your Golf Stance
Golf is a positional game. How you stand relative to your ball determines how far and how high you can hit your ball.
Pro golf instructor Rick Shields advises starting in a central position and moving your ball just slightly in front of your midline.
Positioning your ball past the midline changes the loft angle of your club. Your club will impact the ball with a more upward stroke resulting in a higher shot.
Positioning your body further off the ball allows you the space to have a wider swing and have a longer follow-through.
Your shoulder position and stance should allow you to have a maximum velocity within a narrow band known as the hitting range.
Ensure that your shoulders are properly positioned with your leading shoulder higher than your trailing shoulder. This ensures that you hit the ball on the upswing.
The balls backspin
One factor that directly affects the height of your ball is the backspin effect.
A backspin simply refers to the reverse rotation of a golf ball after contact with your club.
How does backspin lift your ball?
Your golf ball’s surface contains a pattern of slight depressions called dimples.
When air hits the dimples, it creates a low-pressure region resulting in an upward push or lift (similar to a plane that creates a low-pressure zone under its wings due to its shape.
The faster the backspin, the lower the pressure created and the greater the lift.
A backspin lifts your ball, but it’s the backspin rate that determines how high your golf ball travels.
A high backspin means your ball will have a higher lift and thus hit a higher trajectory.
Your tee height is probably the last thing you think about before playing a round of golf.
But did you know your tee is much more than just an elevation for your ball?
Your tee and its placement affect the height and carry of your golf balls. Your tee height could be the difference between a top and a flop.
Well, your tee height affects the angle of attack of your club. A higher tee means that your club will have a positive attack angle, thus more lift, while a lower tee will have a negative attack, thus a flatter shot.
Launch angle/Angle of attack
You’re probably familiar with the terms upswing and downswing, but did you know it’s directly related to how high or low your ball flies?
Upswing refers to a situation where your club impacts the ball upward, while downswing is where the club meets the ball in a downward motion.
Both swings give a different lift to your ball.
Your angle of attack depends on whether,
- Your hitting off the ground or on a tee
- Your club type and face. Are you using a driver with a small loft or a sand wedge with a bigger loft?
- Club speed. How fast your swinging affects whether you make a positive or negative attack angle
- Your trajectory type. Do you need a higher or lower trajectory? A higher trajectory needs a positive angle of attack.
Different clubs have different lofts. A driver’s loft could differ by as much as 60 degrees from an iron’s loft.
What’s a loft in the first place?
The loft simply refers to how far back a golf face is relative to an imaginary vertical line that runs from the face of your club.
How far the face of a golf club is inclined skyward.
Every club in your bag has a different loft and ranges from as low as 5 degrees to as high as 60 degrees.
A driver will have a 7.5 to 15 degrees loft, while a sand wedge may have up to 60 degrees inclination.
The variation in the degree of inclination is the difference between high and low balls.
Swing Speed and Efficiency Factors
Club Speed refers to the speed of your club just before the point of impact with your ball.
Club speed determines the height and distances your golf ball will cover. But club speed and your golf ball’s height rely massively on your smash factor.
According to a trackman golf study,
- A driver with a 94 mph club speed will average a height of 82 feet.
- A 6 iron with a club speed of 80 mph will average 76 feet in height.
- A pitching wedge with a club speed of 72 mph results in a 69 feet high trajectory.
The above statistics just show how vital club speed is when looking at the height of your golf ball.
It’s also important to note that the smash factor affects your ball height.
The smash factor refers to how efficiently the force from your club is transferred to your ball.
A good smash factor means the club hits the ball flush and transfers most of its kinetic energy to the ball.
The dynamic loft refers to the angle presented by your clubs surface at the point of impact.
Dynamic loft differs from your club loft in that a dynamic loft is dependent on impact-specific conditions.
A lower lofted club can have a higher dynamic loft than a higher lofted club.
It all depends on how you present your club when taking the shot.
To get maximum height for your ball, ensure that your dynamic loft angle is perfect.
Step by step guide for hitting high golf shots
Now that we know the WHY, let’s look at the HOW
Step 1 – Position yourself
A great starting position should allow you to,
- Have a significant turn with maximum swing velocity. A high velocity is crucial for launching the ball higher.
- Consider the length of your club. A longer club like a driver means you have to push slightly back.
- Properly balance your weight. For a right-handed golfer, lean your weight more on the right leg during setup.
- Properly position your shoulder. Your leading shoulder should be slightly higher than your trailing shoulder.
An ideal position will be to stand back from the ball in a leaning position with your club touching the ground.
The ball should be slightly forward of the midline. This allows you to hit the ball on the upswing.
Spread your feet wider than your shoulder width for greater stability, a better turn, and excellent follow-through.
Pro-Tip: You can try setting up with your right shoe off. This will tilt your spine and lower your right shoulder, allowing you to have a more positive attack angle.
Step 2 – Fast Club Release into the Ball
Start your swing from shoulder height and accelerate your club speed within a narrow area known as the hitting band.
The hitting band increases the transfer of kinetic energy between the club and ball, also known as the smash factor.
Ensure you catch your ball correctly on your club’s face.
Failure to properly align your clubface to the ball will cause tops and shanks. You don’t want that, so check your shots.
Step 3 – Execution
When hitting the ball, ensure maximum speed within the hitting area.
Make a complete turn, ensuring that you have a very high finishing angle/stance.
This ensures that your attack angle isn’t too steep and that you catch the ball on the upswing.
Your attack angle coupled with your speed in the hitting band ensures that your ball achieves the highest trajectory.
Knowing how to hit the high balls is a skill all golfers must have.
High shots are so important in your game and could be the difference between achieving pro status or remaining an armature much longer.
Does the type of ball affect height?
Yes, but by what degree depends on so many variables
There are main types of golf balls.
- A distance golf ball. These balls typically have a hard outer shell which reduces the spin rate and increases the yardage. Normally those balls don’t achieve a very high trajectory
- Control golf ball. The characteristic of these balls is that they have a soft outer shell with a higher spin. These balls achieve maximum trajectory but cover less distance.
- Hybrid ball. These balls may have attributes of both hard and softer balls and can achieve more than average carry and distance
Does wrist pressure/grip change the height of your ball?
Yes, wrist pressure affects how much control you have on your club which in turn affects your shots.
Best practices to get a perfect grip and shot include,
- Don’t restrict wrist hinge
- Don’t grab too hard or too soft, grip pressure is key to a perfect shot.
On a scale of 1-5, a grip of 3 is perfect
Make sure your grip doesn’t slip. Losing your grip means losing control of the club and tanking the shot.
Try this trick.
Let the palm of your leading arm slide into the thumb of your trailing arm. Ex. for right-handed golfers slides your right palm towards your left-hand thumb. This will improve your grip.
Is it easier to hit a low fade or a high fade?
Its easier to hit a high fade
A fade is a shot that travels from left to right. Usually, when hitting an intentional fade your club-face will be open. An open club-face will increase your side spin rate and also improve your ball height.
Low fades are much harder to master. The side spin rate may also be greatly reduced in a low shot resulting in a poor fade.
High fades are easier and better for your golf game.