Hitting down and through the golf ball is one of the keys to consistent iron play. Compressing the ball at impact leads to better distance control and ideal backspin on approach shots. However, many amateur golfers struggle with the concept of hitting down on the ball and tend to make shallow divots or even hit the ground behind the ball.
Implementing some simple golf swing drills can help ingrain the proper mechanics to improve your ability to hit down on iron shots. In this article, we will cover 4 excellent drills to help you learn to hit down on the ball for crisp, consistent iron strikes.
Table of Contents
Why You Need to Hit Down on the Ball
Before jumping into the drills, let’s look at why it’s so important to make solid contact by hitting down on the ball with your irons:
Maximize distance – Hitting down squeezes the ball against the clubface for maximum compression. This transfers more energy to the ball for added carry distance.
Optimize launch conditions – A downward strike with irons puts backspin on the ball. This gets the ball launching higher with a steeper landing angle.
Enhance consistency – Hitting down improves ball-first contact. You will mishit fewer shots thin or fat.
Improve play from various lies – Learning to hit down allows you to make solid contact even when the ball is above or below your feet.
Having the skills to hit down through impact is a hallmark of elite ball-strikers. Use the following drills to start perfecting your impact position and swing mechanics.
Hit the Line Drill
The “hit the line” drill utilizes a simple training aid to give you instant feedback on your ability to strike the ball before the turf. Here’s how to do it:
Take an iron and use it to draw a straight line in the grass behind your golf ball, about 1-2 inches away from the ball.
Set up to the ball as normal and make your regular swing, attempting to hit the ball first before brushing the clubhead under the line you drew.
The goal is to barely clip the tops of the grass under the line, indicating you struck the ball before making contact with the ground.
Focus on making crisp ball-first contact. Don’t decelerate before hitting the line.
Start with mid-irons. As you improve, do the drill with shorter irons which require a steeper angle of attack.
Keep your swing bottoms in front of the ball – this ensures you hit ball before turf.
This simple drill provides instant feedback on your ability to compress the ball. Training yourself to brush the line after impact teaches proper sequences and swing mechanics.
Left Hand Dominance Drill
The left side of your body plays a critical role in controlling the golf club, especially through impact. Try this left hand dominance drill to get the proper sensation of your lead arm driving down and through the ball:
Take your normal iron grip, then lift your right hand off the club and hold it behind your back.
Have your right hand gently rest on your left arm to provide some stabilizing resistance.
With just your left hand on the club, make slow-motion practice swings and pay attention to the feeling of your left arm pulling the handle downward.
On real swings, make solid contact with the ball before you feel your right hand restricting left arm movement.
Don’t tense up your right arm; use minimal pressure to let the left side pull down.
Make sure your clubface squares up at impact – don’t “hold off” the release.
Start with short irons. As you get the feel, do the drill with mid and long irons.
With your right hand literally taken out of the swing, you can focus on your lead arm driving down through the ball for ideal compression. Ingrain this sensation with other clubs to shallow out your downswing naturally.
Two Ball Takeaway Drill
To consistently strike down on shots, you need to maintain proper swing planes and prevent lifting or steepening too much on the backswing. The two ball takeaway drill trains a great inside takeaway:
Set a ball on the ground where you’d normally tee up. Place another ball about 6 inches behind it.
On your takeaway, maintain connection and brush the rear ball without moving it. Keep club low and on-plane.
Then swing down and through to make solid contact with the ball in front.
Don’t manipulate the takeaway to tap the rear ball – maintain your normal posture and arm positioning.
Focus on keeping clubface square as you gently tap the back ball. Don’t open the face.
Perform drill with different irons to ingrain consistent takeaway plane and depth.
Getting feedback on your takeaway plane is crucial for hitting down properly. A shallow takeaway steepens the downswing, reducing compression. Use this drill to learn optimal backswing mechanics.
Alignment Stick Chip Drill
Chipping and pitching requires hitting down on the ball out of necessity. But if you struggle with this in your full swing, you likely also have issues in short shots. Here’s a great drill to practice hitting down on chip shots:
Take an alignment stick and hold it horizontally in front of your chest at arm’s length.
Grip the stick and your wedge together, keeping your hands in front of chest.
With the stick restricting your arm movement, swing the clubhead down and through impact by rotating your body.
Make solid contact with balls, taking shallow divots after impact.
Don’t just swing your arms – turn your upper body to pull the handle downward.
Adjust how high you hold the stick to increase/decrease resistance as needed.
Focus on crisp ball-first contact. Listen for the click at impact.
Removing excessive hand action forces you to strike down on chips with body rotation. This trains proper sequencing for all wedge shots from tight lies requiring clean contact.
Learning to compress golf shots by hitting down on the ball is vital for iron play mastery. Use these drills to ingrain the proper impact alignments, swing planes, and release motions needed to hit crisp shots.
Here are 5 key takeaways:
Hit the line drill teaches correct impact alignments and sequencing.
Try the left hand dominance drill to shallow the downswing.
Perform the two ball takeaway drill to prevent over-swinging.
Use an alignment stick on chips to remove wrist action.
Be patient and focus on proper technique – don’t just swing hard.
With disciplined practice, hitting down on the ball will start feeling natural. Soon you will flush every iron shot and watch shots fly high with ample distance. Try these drills today to take your iron game to the next level!
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