How to Hit Down on the Golf Ball [Basic Instructions & Latest Drills]

how to hit down on the golf ball

I’ve been playing golf for years, and I used to hate hitting down on the ball. I would often find myself topping it, or sending it sailing off to the right. It wasn’t until I took a lesson from an old wise pro that I realized the key to hitting down on the golf ball is all in the setup. Now, I’m no Dustin Johnson, but I can tell you that once you get the hang of it, your ball flight, distance, and accuracy will improve drastically. So, if you want to learn how to hit down on the golf ball like a pro, stick around. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it light, simple, and humorous – I wouldn’t want to put you to sleep on the green!

What Does Hitting Down on the Golf Ball Mean?

Hitting down on the golf ball means that you strike the ball with a descending blow. It is the opposite of a sweeping motion that would be used to hit a shot off of a tee. When you hit down on the ball with your irons, you will make contact with the ball before you hit the ground. This will allow you to take a divot, which is the result of the clubhead digging into the turf after making contact.

Hitting down on the golf ball is essential to hitting solid iron shots as it gives you more spin, control, and distance. Furthermore, it ensures that the ball gets up in the air and lands softly on the green.

How to Hit Down on the Golf Ball | Overview with Steps

I remember starting golf, I had a hard time hitting down on the ball. I would always hit the ground first, causing the ball to either fly too low or fly off the wrong way. It wasn’t until I focused on proper setup and swing mechanics that I was able to consistently hit down on the ball. 

So how do you hit down on the ball consistently? It all starts with your setup and alignment. Make sure that your feet, hips, and shoulders are all aligned parallel to your target line, and that your weight is shifted slightly towards your front foot. This will allow you to swing down into the ball and strike it with a descending blow.

Now, let’s discuss the steps on how to hit down on the ball.

Step 1: Proper Ball Position

a golfer in a stance position and addressing the golf ball

The correct ball position is crucial in hitting down on the ball & there are other biomechanical effects of ball position at address. The ball should be positioned in the center of your stance for a middle iron. Your longer irons would have the ball a bit more toward your left, and your shorter irons would have the ball somewhat toward your right.

Proper Iron Ball Position
3 IronAhead of stance
4 IronJust ahead of center
5 IronCenter
6 IronSlightly behind center
7 IronIn between the center and back
8 IronBack of center
9 IronFarther back than the center

Step 2: Weight Forward

Your weight should be over your front foot, and your hips should be positioned slightly in front of the golf ball. This position will enable you to hit down on it, take a divot, and compress the ball.

Ideal Body Weight Distribution
Type of ShotWeight Distribution
Wedge shot50% front – 50% back
Iron shot60% front – 40% back
Fairway Wood70% front – 30% back
Driver80% front – 20% back

Step 3: Length of Backswing

a golfer in a backswing position

Shortening your backswing will help you with hitting down on the ball. A shorter backswing will reduce the chances of you coming down steeply on the ball. Since the shorter backswing will require less effort, you can maintain control over the club head, and you can also make sure that you are turning through the ball and your weight is moving forward.

Length of Backswing
ClubLength of Backswing
Sand Wedge3 o’clock
Pitching Wedge9 o’clock
9 Iron9 o’clock
8 Iron10 o’clock
7 Iron11 o’clock
6 IronHalfway
5 IronSlightly past halfway
4 IronThree-quarters backswing
3 IronFull backswing

Step 4: Use Your Hands

Using your hands to drive down will give you more of a descending blow. To do this, let your hands lead the clubhead into the ball rather than your body. Keep your hands in front of the ball, and as you make contact, you should feel as if you’re hitting the ball and then the turf.

How To Use Your Hands and Hips
InstructionDescription
HandsLet your hands lead the clubhead.
HipsKeep your hips facing the target at impact.
Follow throughFinish with your belt buckle to the target.

Step 5: Dedicated Practice

To master hitting down on the ball, you need to make sure that you practice it regularly. I recommend practicing on the range with drills that focus on your ball position, weight transfer, and arm motion.

Implementing these five steps will help you hit down on the ball and increase the quality of your ball striking.

Must Read Guide: How to Chip a Golf Ball

How to Hit Down on Golf Ball with Hybrids and Irons?

Hitting down on the ball is especially important when using hybrids and irons, as these clubs require a steeper angle of attack than the driver or woods.

a closeup image of a golf iron hitting down on a golf ball

So how can you improve your ability to hit down on the ball with hybrids and irons? Here are some steps that have worked for me to help you engage with the process:

How to Hit Down on Golf Ball With HybridHow to Hit Down on Irons
1. Adjust your setupStart by positioning the ball a little further back in your stance than you would for a fairway wood or driver. This will help you find the ideal angle of attack for a hybrid club.1. Find the right trajectoryDepending on the type of iron you’re using, you may need to adjust your angle of attack slightly to find the ideal trajectory. Generally speaking, you want to hit down on the ball enough to create a divot, but not so much that you lose distance or accuracy.
2. Swing down and throughOn the downswing, make sure that you are swinging down and through the ball, rather than just sweeping it off the ground. This will help you generate the necessary loft and backspin to make the ball fly straight and far.2. Use your handsIron shots require a high degree of control and precision, so it’s important to use your hands and wrists effectively. Make sure that your hands are leading the clubhead at impact, and try to keep your wrists firm throughout the swing. All in all, there is a heavy influence on your grip on your wrists during the golf swing.
3. Use your bodyAs you swing down and through, make sure that you are using your body, not just your arms and hands. This will help you generate more power and club head speed, leading to better ball striking.3. Follow throughAs with hybrids, it’s important to swing down and through the ball when hitting down on irons, not just sweep it off the ground. Make sure that you are finishing your swing with a good, high follow-through, and allowing the club to release naturally.
YouTube Video via ChrisRyanGolf

Why Do You Hit Down on the Golf Ball?

“Why do you hit down on the golf ball?” It’s a common misconception that golfers should be trying to hit the ball up in the air. In reality, hitting down on the ball is crucial for achieving a consistent and accurate shot.

When you hit down on the golf ball, you are compressing the ball against the clubface, which creates a backspin. This backspin allows the ball to fly straighter and farther. Not only that but hitting down on the ball also helps you avoid topping the golf ball or hitting it thin.

Here is a table detailing the benefits of hitting down on the golf ball:

BenefitExplanation
BackspinBackspin causes the ball to fly straighter and farther
AccuracyHitting down on the ball helps you avoid topping or hitting it thin
ConsistencyWhen you hit down on the ball, you create a consistent strike
DistanceBy compressing the ball against the clubface, you can achieve more power and distance

I remember when I first learned the importance of hitting down on the ball. It was a game-changing moment for my golf game. Suddenly, my shots were flying straighter and farther than ever before. It was like I had unlocked the secret to a consistent swing.

Drills to Hit Down on Golf Ball

I have seen too many golfers struggle with hitting down on the ball. It’s a common mistake that leads to poor contact and reduced distance and even your golf balls go bad frequently. But don’t worry, I have three drills for hitting down on the golf ball below.

Drill 1: Use an Impact Bag

An impact bag is a great tool to help you feel the proper impact position. Here are the steps to use:

1. First, set up the bag in your hitting area, making sure that it is in the same position as your ball.
2. Take your normal setup position with the club head resting on the top of the bag. 
3. Next, swing the golf club as you normally would, and make sure that the club head strikes the bag at the bottom of your swing. 
4. Repeat this drill several times until you are comfortable with the correct impact position.

Note: The impact bag helps you learn how to strike down on the golf ball, producing cleaner, crisper shots.

Drill 2: Tee Drill

The tee drill is another fantastic way to help you hit down on the ball & launch the ball higher. Follow the steps below.

1. Start by placing a tee in the ground about an inch in front of the ball.
2. Now, position yourself normally and try to hit the ball without touching the tee.
3. Practice hitting the ball without touching the tee several times until you can consistently do so.

Note: This drill helps you hit down on the ball, impelling you to take a more sweeping swing and ensure full contact with the ball.

Drill 3: Pencil Drill

This drill is excellent for encouraging a descending strike angle that is required to hit down on the ball. Here is how to perform this drill.

1. Take a pencil and place it horizontally on the ground about an inch behind the ball.
2. Take your normal setup, and try to take the club back without touching the pencil.
3. When you hit the ball, make sure you hit down on it to avoid contact with the pencil.

Note: This drill helps you to hit down on the ball, and helps you maintain a proper body position for impact while encouraging a proper release of the club.

These three drills can help you hit down the golf ball like a pro. Keep practicing and perfecting these drills, and you’ll soon be hitting the ball cleaner, longer, and closer to the hole. I used these drills, and they helped me improve my game significantly. Remember, golf is a game of consistency and persistence, so never give up and trust in your ability to succeed.

Should I Hit Down on the Golf Ball? A Quick Review

The answer is simple: it depends. Hitting down on the golf ball can help you achieve a better ball flight and more backspin. However, it requires a specific type of shot and the right equipment. If you’re using a driver or fairway wood, you should be hitting up on the ball. But if you’re using an iron, hitting down on the ball can be beneficial.

It’s important to remember that hitting down on the ball doesn’t mean swinging harder. It’s all about the angle of approach. You want to hit the ball first and then take a divot.

But how to hit down on the golf ball and master this shot? It takes practice and proper technique. One tip is to shift your weight onto your front foot during the downswing. This will help you maintain the angle of attack and hit down on the ball.

Hitting down on the golf ball is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Understanding when and how to execute this shot takes practice and proper technique. And remember, don’t swing harder, swing smarter.

In the wise words of Arnold Palmer, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow Golf Ace Nation for more golf tips, tricks, and reviews!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do you start hitting down on the ball?

It all begins with your setup and stance. Make sure you’re aligning yourself properly, with your weight shifted slightly onto your left foot. Then, focus on swinging down and through the ball, keeping your hands ahead of the clubhead and your wrist firm at impact. It might take some practice, but once you start hitting down on the ball, you’ll see a big improvement in your shots. 

Q. Is it bad if I don’t take a divot?

The answer is no, it’s not bad if you don’t take a divot. While taking a divot can indicate that you are hitting down on the ball, it’s not a requirement for a successful golf shot. In fact, many successful golfers, such as Moe Norman and Jim Furyk, don’t take divots. It’s more important to focus on the end result of your shot, rather than the divot left behind. 

Q. Why don’t I ever take a divot?

There are a variety of reasons why some golfers never take a divot. One reason could be your swing type or technique. Another could be your club choice or the type of ground you’re playing on. No matter the reason, it’s important to remember that every golfer has their own unique swing and style. 

Q. Do you take a divot with a driver?

The short answer is, no, it’s not necessary. In fact, hitting down on the golf ball with a driver can actually decrease your distance and accuracy. The goal with a driver is to sweep the ball off the tee, making clean contact and generating maximum speed and distance.

Q. Why do pros take such big divots?

The answer lies in the technique. Pros know that in order to hit the ball solidly, they need to strike down on it with the club head. This “hitting down” motion compresses the ball and gives it the spin needed to maximize distance and accuracy. If you want to emulate the pros and take a divot like a champ, focus on hitting down on the ball during your swing. Here are some tips for hitting down on the golf ball like a pro:

  • Play the ball further back in your stance; 
  • Keep your weight on your front foot through impact; 
  • Use a steep angle of attack with your club.

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