Are you hitting drives that fly too high into the sky off the tee? Do you feel that you are losing distance as a result and that your drives are strongly impacted by head wind, resulting in shots that go nowhere?
If so, yes, your ball flight might be too high. But it is important to consider that maybe the ball flight is just higher than you are accustomed to, or higher than your eye prefers.
Amateur golfers sometime prefer a lower ball flight even though it may not provide the longest total distance. A practice session using a launch monitor can help you in determining if the ball flight of your drives really is too high, costing you in total distance (carry + roll).
Follow the tips below to fix your high drives and hit shots that go the longest total distance instead.
High Drives Cause #1: High Strike Location
Simply put, if you hit the ball too high on the clubface it will send the ball on a higher flight, all other things being equal. And if you strike the ball high enough on the face, it may even produce a sky-ed shot where the ball shoots straight up into the air.
More on: Sky-ed shots
In order to verify that the strike location is appropriate, apply some impact spray and hit some drives. If the ball marks on your clubface are well above the sweet spot then you’ll need to make adjustments.
And the first adjustment is to lower your tee into the ground more than you usually do. The second is to make sure that you don’t take divots while hitting drives. If you do, that probably means your swing arc is still descending when you hit the ball, instead of ‘hitting up’. Read on for tips on how to fix this problem.
High Drives Cause #2: Too Much Loft
It is entirely possible that you are sending the ball too high because of the loft angle of your driver. Indeed, a driver with a higher degree of loft will produce a higher ball flight, all other things being equal.
A driver with around 12 degrees of loft (or higher) might be too much for your swing features. Check if your driver allows for manual loft adjustments.
Many driver manufacturers include an adjustment tool that allows the owner of a driver to change the loft settings. Try to lower your loft to around 10 degrees (or lower) and see if your ball flight improves.
More on: What is loft?
High Drives Cause #3: Shaft Too Flexible
A third option to consider when trying to fix high drives is to look at the flex of your shaft. Similarly to the loft of your driver, the shaft of the club itself may help explain your too-high ball flight.
Generally speaking, the more flex a club shaft has, the higher the ball flight. A flexible shaft can be referred to as ‘senior’, ‘light’, or even ‘ladies’. A ‘regular’ shaft might even be too flexible depending on your swing speed.
Again, a visit at your nearest club fitter will allow you to test different shaft variations until you find the one that is most appropriate for your swing speed. Generally speaking, the higher the swing speed, the stiffer you will want your driver shaft to be.
More on: Golf club shaft options
High Drives Cause #4: Ball Position Too Far Forward
This happens because the moment of impact with the ball occurs later in your swing and in your swing arc. Specifically, the ball will shoot higher because the swing arc has had time to rise. As such the effective loft of your driver at the moment of impact is greater than it normally should be.
Whenever you hit a drive with a driver, make sure that your feet are wide apart and that the ball is positioned forward in your stance, in line with the instep of your left foot.
More on: How to hit a drive – ball position
High Drives Cause #5: Body Weight Too Far Back
While it is true that your body weight should be behind the ball whenever using your driver, you need to be careful not to overdo it.
Yes, the ball being forward in your stance means your spine angle will be angled back somewhat, with your body weight split 60% on your back foot and 40% on your front foot.
High Drives Cause #6: Scooping the Ball
Finally, the last checkpoint to consider is the action in your wrists. It is entirely possible that you send the ball on a higher trajectory with your driver if you happen to flick your wrists at impact.
This golf swing error – also known as scooping the ball – sees your hands pushing the clubhead forward around the point of impact.
In doing so, your wrists are once again presenting your driver clubface with an effective loft that is greater than it was designed to, sending the ball on a higher trajectory
More on: scooping the ball