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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Jason Day on Hitting the Ball Higher

Golf Digest did a short article on how Jason Day hits the ball so high on his approach shots to the green. On the outside chance you don't know, there are two main ways to get the ball to stop quicker when it hits the green:
  • Put a lot of backspin on the ball
  • Hit the ball on a higher trajectory
The second one is actually easier for most of us because we don't have to be as strong to get results -- plus, too much backspin can be even harder to control than too little. By hitting the ball higher, it drops down onto the green at a steeper angle, without as much forward momentum, so it doesn't roll forward nearly as much.

Jason at setup to hit it higher

Jason's article, Shoot for the Sky, gives you a few useful tips on different ways to get a higher trajectory. I'm just choosing to mention one that you don't hear very often.
Picture your hands above the ball's position, not pushed forward, at impact. It can help to set the clubshaft in a vertical position at address—straight up and down. Good players often lean the shaft toward the target to compress iron shots. They can still hit it high because they've got a lot of clubhead speed, but most amateurs need to hit with the shaft more neutral to achieve a higher trajectory.
The beauty of this tip is that it's often just a matter of ball position and a bit of practice. You move the ball slightly forward so you catch it at the bottom of your swing arc, and you practice catching the ball at the bottom and not on the way up, which would result in a thin or "topped" shot. Also, please note that you probably won't take much of a divot (if any) when you do this; you're "picking" the ball off the ground.

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