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I've been struggling lately reconciling two pieces of advice that I'm sure all of us have heard at one point or another:

 

1. Hit down on your irons to improve your strike, launch the ball, compress the ball, etc.

 

2. Hit up with your driver to maximize your carry, minimize spin, etc.

 

For whatever reason I seem to be getting into a rut, stuck between these ideas.  If I focus on hitting up on the driver, I notice I start hitting everything in the bag thin, stop taking divots (although I've always been more of sweeper), and stop controlling my distances.  If I focus on hitting down on my irons, my drives start spinning too much.  Since I hit my irons a lot more over the course of a round I've decided to focus on striking the irons as I believe it will ultimately save more strokes.

 

What I'm after is a thought or swing idea that meshes these two pieces of advice so they aren't conflicting with each other so much and dragging my ball striking down.  Maybe I'm being greedy, but I'd rather have one swing that I alter slightly as I go through the bag than "two" swings - one of the irons and one for the driver.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these common tips and how you deal with them regarding your ball striking.

 

Thanks guys!

Sean K.

Driver: :callaway-small: Great Big Bertha, 10.5o, -1"
Wood: :srixon-small: Z-F85, 3W, 15o
Hybrids: :titelist-small: 818 H1, 19o
Irons: :mizuno-small: JPX 919 Hot Metal 4-GW
Wedges: :cleveland-small: CBX 2.0 55o, 60o
Putter: :1332069271_TommyArmour: Tour Impact No. 3
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He bro, so here's my thoughts on it based on my time of being a golfer and all the research that I've done. I would say that the biggest effect on what you're talking about with hitting down or hitting up and the changes of swing-type that you might use are based on the following:

 

1. There are two different schools of thought on approaching woods and irons and wedges. You can either take the old school approach that you get down on irons and wedges and some Fairway woods and you always hit up on driver. Or you can take some of the new school approach and utilize a central rotating swing that wants you to hit down on everything. For the new school type see Sean Foley's approach that he was trying to get tiger to work on for the several years that he was with him. For the traditional approach the absolute best example is what butch harmon had tiger doing in 2000 ERA with his game then.

 

2. The new school approach for some instructors would relay that you use more of a centralized ball position with most every club and you're going to need more Loft on the driver particularly because you're using more of a descending action into the ball. Some will argue that this is actually a more powerful move because they use the example of chopping wood and that you're going to hit and down to chop on wood instead of swinging up but I'm not quite sure about that. You would also set up with your hands in a much more neutral location with the driver where they're much more even with the face and the driver is set up with an open face angle to encourage getting the hands to turn in front of the clubhead through impact. And this would also encourage you to have a much more straight and upright spine angle vs leaning away from the target ever-so-slightly when you're trying to hit up on the ball.

 

3. The traditional approach which I am a big fan of and I use for myself because I believe it works the best is to essentially have to slightly different setups and rotations for the swing based on driver and Fairway metals and irons and wedges. In this situation you would set up with a you know essentially a straight vertical spine angle with your irons and wedges to encourage more of a descending blow. With the driver and some fairway metals and certain instances you're going to set up with your spine angle slightly tilted away from the ball and you're going to set up with the club head in front of the hands at address. By setting yourself up with your spine angle tilted slightly away from the ball that will encourage you to swing up and through as opposed to creating a descending action like what you would have with more of a vertical upright spine angle.

 

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What I'm after is a thought or swing idea that meshes these two pieces of advice so they aren't conflicting with each other so much and dragging my ball striking down.  Maybe I'm being greedy, but I'd rather have one swing that I alter slightly as I go through the bag than "two" swings - one of the irons and one for the driver.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these common tips and how you deal with them regarding your ball striking.

 

Thanks guys!

 I think that this is largely a matter of ball position.  Your clubhead path is a big arc, almost circular, with the center of the circle somewhere between your chin and your left shoulder, so basic geometry applies. For a right-handed player, the further to the right (toward your rear foot) you place the ball, the more descending the clubhead will be at impact.  If you move the ball position to your left, toward the target, the swing shallows out, and eventually begins to be a slightly upward path when you get forward of that "centerpoint" of the circular path.  This happens without changing a thing in your swing.  So I suggest not thinking at all about hitting down or hitting up.  Adjust your ball position a little to the right or left to get either the descending or ascending contact you want to get.

 

One important thing, this only applies if the center of that circle stays pretty steady.  Best way to do that, keep your head steady.  This doesn't mean locked in place, but you don't want to be swaying back and forth.

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The easiest way for me to think about it is to hit up weight stays a little back on the trail foot and to hit down weight stays a little bit on the front foot.

 

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Think about the low point in your swing.  With an iron, the low point is after you hit the ball.  So you are hitting down on the ball with out having to consciously hit down.  With your driver, the low point is before you get to the ball.  You are hitting up on the ball, again without having to do it concisely.      

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Think about the low point in your swing.  With an iron, the low point is after you hit the ball.  So you are hitting down on the ball with out having to consciously hit down.  With your driver, the low point is before you get to the ball.  You are hitting up on the ball, again without having to do it concisely.      

I like this a lot.

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Sean K.

Driver: :callaway-small: Great Big Bertha, 10.5o, -1"
Wood: :srixon-small: Z-F85, 3W, 15o
Hybrids: :titelist-small: 818 H1, 19o
Irons: :mizuno-small: JPX 919 Hot Metal 4-GW
Wedges: :cleveland-small: CBX 2.0 55o, 60o
Putter: :1332069271_TommyArmour: Tour Impact No. 3
Ball: :srixon-small: Z Star

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2019 Tommy Armour Tour Impact No.3 Forum Review

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... When I was teaching I was a big believer in hitting straight thru the ball on every shot. If your set up was correct with an iron and you swing straight thru the ball you take a divot after as the low point of your arc is past the ball. If you swing straight thru the ball with your driver and it is teed up on the inside of your left foot, you have swung past the low point of your swing arc and the club head will be traveling up as it makes contact even though you are trying to swing straight thru the ball. 

 

... One of the drills I used was putting a ball about 8" in front of the ball my student was hitting with an iron and asked them to hit that ball with their shot. For many, it was the first time they took a divot as they were not sweeping or lifting. Same drill with the driver to stop them from lifting or even topping their shot. Tee up a ball about 1 foot in front of their tee shot and have them attempt to hit that ball taking a normal swing. 

... The thing you learn from teaching is everyone sees and feels things differently. So while hitting straight thru the ball worked for most, it doesn't work for everyone. But I always felt it was a good place to start.

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... When I was teaching I was a big believer in hitting straight thru the ball on every shot. If your set up was correct with an iron and you swing straight thru the ball you take a divot after as the low point of your arc is past the ball. If you swing straight thru the ball with your driver and it is teed up on the inside of your left foot, you have swung past the low point of your swing arc and the club head will be traveling up as it makes contact even though you are trying to swing straight thru the ball. 

 

... One of the drills I used was putting a ball about 8" in front of the ball my student was hitting with an iron and asked them to hit that ball with their shot. For many, it was the first time they took a divot as they were not sweeping or lifting. Same drill with the driver to stop them from lifting or even topping their shot. Tee up a ball about 1 foot in front of their tee shot and have them attempt to hit that ball taking a normal swing. 

 

... The thing you learn from teaching is everyone sees and feels things differently. So while hitting straight thru the ball worked for most, it doesn't work for everyone. But I always felt it was a good place to start.

I'm definitely going to try this at the range tomorrow.  This is exactly what I was looking for when I made this thread; "through" the ball is a single thought I can apply to all my clubs. Thanks.

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Sean K.

Driver: :callaway-small: Great Big Bertha, 10.5o, -1"
Wood: :srixon-small: Z-F85, 3W, 15o
Hybrids: :titelist-small: 818 H1, 19o
Irons: :mizuno-small: JPX 919 Hot Metal 4-GW
Wedges: :cleveland-small: CBX 2.0 55o, 60o
Putter: :1332069271_TommyArmour: Tour Impact No. 3
Ball: :srixon-small: Z Star

2017 Vice Pro Forum Review
2019 Tommy Armour Tour Impact No.3 Forum Review

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If the drive position is just inside the left foot (as a righty) you will naturally hit up on the ball. It's impossible not to if the swing is good. Maybe your pushing and over doing it?

 

You have the right idea on the irons too, keep working at that.

 

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It could be that you are swaying while trying to do one or the other, if you set up correctly and turn correctly you will swing up on the driver, and down on the irons. When we sway and/or turn incorrectly (i.e. Turn the shoulders instead of the hips) we change the angle of attack, so instead of sweeping upward with the driver, we actually descend on the Ball. My key to hitting up on the driver is to actually set up for a fade, and really get the feeling of keeping the trunk of my body, in particular my head behind the ball. It feels like you are tilting slightly so that your front shoulder is above your back shoulder. And keep this position through impact. Swaying and turning incorrectly can cause problems. Also, these are preshot thoughts, do not think about this when you are standing over the ball.

Lefties are always in their Right Mind

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With all clubs, your swing arc is pretty much the same. The nadir or low point in the swing is a few inches inside the front foot for most people. Whether you hit up or down on the ball has to do with where the ball is positioned relative to your body. There is debate among the learned instructors of the game as to what is better; hitting with the ball in the same position for all "regular" shots and clubs or moving it depending on the club. I prefer to keep the ball in the same spot. as for hitting down on the ball, yes, you want to do that. The exception to that rule would be "specialty" clubs, i.e. the driver and the sometimes, the putter. With the driver, you hit on the up swing by placing the ball further up in the stance. The driver is a specialized club because of it's length, loft and the fact that it is designed to hit a ball off a tee and not the ground. When hitting a ball off the ground, you must hit down on the ball to strike it well. If you hit the ground first, that's definitely not good and if you manage to hit the ball on the upswing, without hitting the ground, you probably hit it very thin. 

 

So, TLDR, hit down on the ball, unless it's your driver.

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My advice is would be to adjust your setup, and not worry about consciously changing your swing.

 

Obviously ball position more forward with driver, and ensure your spine and shoulders are tilted back (front shoulder higher, rear shoulder lower).

 

 

 

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Thanks for all the responses guys.  I had one of the best sessions at the range in a long while, especially with the irons, using a lot of the thoughts and suggestions from this post.  I have definitely identified my driver as the weak link when it comes to ball striking.  I plan on scheduling 30 minutes with a pro as soon as I can get some free time.  Hopefully I'll get some direct input on what's going wrong there.

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Sean K.

Driver: :callaway-small: Great Big Bertha, 10.5o, -1"
Wood: :srixon-small: Z-F85, 3W, 15o
Hybrids: :titelist-small: 818 H1, 19o
Irons: :mizuno-small: JPX 919 Hot Metal 4-GW
Wedges: :cleveland-small: CBX 2.0 55o, 60o
Putter: :1332069271_TommyArmour: Tour Impact No. 3
Ball: :srixon-small: Z Star

2017 Vice Pro Forum Review
2019 Tommy Armour Tour Impact No.3 Forum Review

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I don't want to mess with your swing thoughts, but...

 

My iron swing is just like everyone mentions here, hit down and the ball will go up.

For the driver, it was pretty much text book, ball inside left foot, tee it high so half a ball shows over the crown and swing in an upward motion. Then I went to that lesson with my pro, he told me to tee it lower (I could barely see the ball over the crown) and just place it about 1-2 inches left of the middle of my stance. Then he asked me to hit down (like an iron) and release the head in a whipping action before impact. It all felt so unnatural and totally opposite to what I believed was correct. But it worked... and I've been hitting the longest straightest drives of my life. If I wasn't so stupid, I swear I would have broken 80 last week!

 

So try it at your own risk... what might work for me might not work for you... but this was a game changer! Good luck!

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