Managing Shot Trajectories
You all know I’m an old Hogan guy. I grew up with his books, Power Golf and Five Lessons, and still regard Five Lessons as my “owner’s manual” for my own golf swing. When things seem like they’re going south, some time with that book seems to get me back on track.

Of course, then I spent a few years at the Hogan Company, and dove even deeper into Mr. Hogan’s legend and legacy, and his many pearls of wisdom about golf that he left us. And there are many.

One of the most insightful of Mr. Hogan’s perspectives on hitting quality golf shots was his take on trajectory. He contended . . . very forcefully, I might add . . . that if you didn’t control the trajectory of your shots, you were a long way from being a “real golfer”. His rationale was that if you don’t know how high or low the ball is going to go, you really don’t have any idea of how far it’s going to go either.

And he was dead-on right about that.

So, how do you control the trajectory of your golf shots? It’s really not that difficult, if you will follow a few basic things:

To affect lower ball flights with your short clubs in particular, there are three fundamentals that you need to follow:
  1. Slow down your swing tempo and speed. Throttle back on the power to get the ball flight down.

  2. Soften your grip. Particularly with your right hand. Let your left hand control the club and whole left side lead the club through the impact zone.

  3. Engage your lower body. I had a very good player tell me one time that his key to controlling trajectory was to think “low to low”. In other words, to hit lower shots, he thought more about making sure his lower body was leading the swing. His knees were more active and driving forward to ensure that the left side led the entire way.
Conversely, when you have to get the ball up quicker and want a higher ball flight, you just simply reverse these fundamentals:
  1. Think of hitting the ball a slight bit harder on this shot. Not fast and overly aggressive, just kick it up a notch from what you would consider a controlled swing.

  2. Grip the club a little firmer, and let your right hand become a little more engaged.

  3. Get a good shoulder turn. Let the lower body be a little more passive and feel more power from your upper trunk.
Have some fun with these basics the next time you are on the range. Practice them and see if you can’t get a little more control over your ball flight pattern. I promise you better shotmaking will result.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

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