How to compress the golf ball
It’s one of the best feelings in golf: you’ve ripped through an iron shot, striking the ball first and removing some turf post-impact. It’s something tour players do time after time, but it’s not unattainable for the rest of us.
The main problem amateurs have is that they don’t trust the loft they’ve got in their hands and manipulate the club in an attempt to help the ball into the air. The intention can’t be faulted but all this will do is add loft and make it harder to strike the ball consistently. Oh, and this inefficient move will cost you some serious distance, too.
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So, PGA professional Alex Elliott has an excellent drill that will help you compress the ball better and create those sweet strikes we all dream about.
Tee peg pressure drill
If you look at the launch monitor data of a top player, most of them with an iron in hand will hit down on the ball by an amount somewhere in the region of four degrees. It’s this angle of attack that compresses the ball through impact, creating optimal launch conditions for the ideal flight. It’s also why they always look to be in total control. (That and because the players who are struggling don’t get any TV time.)
In contrast, a common trait among amateurs is that they release the angle in their lead wrist way too early, causing a scooping motion that adds loft, levels out the strike and results in a loss of distance and accuracy.
Obviously you don’t want to be thinking about the actual degree to which you are hitting down on the ball – that’s a one-way ticket to the madhouse – but this drill will help you create a feel that will stop the club bottoming out too soon.
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And it’s so simple. First, place a tee peg in the ground, leaving it sticking out about an inch. From there, address the tee and treat it like a ball you are preparing to hit.
Once you’ve done that, you’re going to manoeuvre yourself into the desired impact position. Not the one that’s gotten you to this point, but a new and far more efficient one that will have you compressing the ball with the best of them.
The downswing should work in a sequence, starting with the lower body. For that reason, you’re going to start by opening up the hips slightly before moving the hands forward. If done correctly, you should notice you’re putting a good amount of pressure into the tee with the clubhead.
Repeat whenever you practise, doing the drill five times before hitting each shot, and you’ll begin to ingrain the move needed to improve your ball striking. It’ll feel alien at first but in no time, you’ll be hitting your irons further and straighter than you have in years.