For most beginners, getting a golf ball into the air can be quite a challenge. The teeing area is where play begins and golfers must hit the ball from off the tee as far as possible so that it lands on the fairway or even better, the putting area.
Therefore, hitting the ball into the air is quite a significant shot you must master if you are to improve on your game.
However, this takes some amount of skill and practice as there are many factors that affect ball height trajectory. This includes your posture, the connection of the club face with the ball, how well you are rotating, the type of clubs you are using among many other factors.
Let us take a deeper look at some of the reasons why you struggle to hit the ball in the air and ways you can fix it.
Table of Contents
6 Reasons Why You Can’t Hit The Golf Ball In The Air
1. Your Core Isn’t Rotating
The core is the most important part of your body that helps you maintain good stability and control when hitting golf shots, whether it be drive shots, putt shots, chip shots etc.
It is the core that provides the high speed rotaional force needed to hit the ball at long distances into the air. Therefore, if you are not utilizing this part of the body, then you wont hit the ball in the air as you will be relying too much on your shoulder and arm muscles which won’t give you enough power to get the ball floating in the air.
Rotating your core and stomach to the right while keeping your left arm straight is the way to go about doing the backswing. By rotating your core, you are increasing the speed of the clubhead as a strong core allows you to create more force and speed from the ground. As you transition from the backswing to the downswing, the core will help you transfer power to hit the ball.
When you don’t rotate your core and stomach, you often pick up the club and make a steep downswing onto the golf ball. This causes you to chop down on the ball. Trajectory will not be achieved if your club face hit the top of the ball.
Rather, you want the club face to make contact with the side of the ball and then the loft of the club will lift the ball in the air. This can easily be achieved through rotation of the core.
2. You Have The Wrong Posture
The right posture will allow your body to turn correctly when making the backswing and downswing. Your posture will dictate how the club swings around your body, so it is important that you get in the right position. Tilting forward and slightly bending the knees are common ways to get into position.
As you perform your backswing and downswing, it is critical that you maintain your head height and spine angle while rotating. Changing your head height while on the backswing will cause you to have to adjust on your way down, and this can lead to the same problem of chopping down on the top of the golf ball as your spine become vertical.
A good exercise to practice maintaining your head height and spine angle is to take your posture and stand next to a wall with your forehead touching the wall. Place a towel between the wall and your forehead. Practice rotating your stomach to the right, while keeping your forehead in contact with the wall. Then turn your stomach to the left and repeat it.
Early extension is when your pelvis pushes forward and causes your spine to straighten resulting in you hitting the top of the ball instead of the side.
This usually happens when you are not keeping your balance which is caused by physical limitations like standing too much on your toes, having inflexible hips or weak core muscles.
One training exercise you can do to prevent early extension is to make golf swings with your rear against a wall so that you can feel what it’s like to maintain your posture instead of extending early.
3. Your Iron Is Too Short
The length of the club’s shaft plays a significant role in determining how far your golf ball will travel. A longer iron or club enables more clubhead speed to be generated through the ball resulting in a farther distance when compared to short irons.
Your irons are categorized as short, mid and long irons and are given a number ranging from 2 to 9.
- short: 8 and 9 irons
- mid: 5, 6 and 7 irons
- long: 2, 3 and 4 irons
If you want to get the ball high into the air, then you proabably need to use a longer iron like a 2 or 3 iron or a driver which most golfers use off the tee. Though it may seem that 2 irons travel a farther distance, the 3 iron actually hit farther as they are built with additional loft making it easier to get the ball into the air. This brings us to out next point…
4. Not Enough Loft On The Club Head
The loft of a golf club is the angle between the clubface and the ground. It is this part of the club that helps to lift the ball high in the air. If your club has a high loft, then you shouldn’t worry about getting the clubface to hit underneath the ball as the loft of the club will do its job.
Note that the higher the loft, is the higher the trajectory but less farther the ball will travel. The opposite goes for lower loft clubs. The lower the loft is the lower the ball will fly over and spin less. This is why most pitching wedges are built with higher lofts so that the ball travels less but higher in the air.
Therefore, if you’ve tried correcting your posture and rotational strike but you still can’t get the ball into the air, then chances are you are using a club with a very low loft.
A 3 iron is an ideal club to use over a 2 iron because it offers 3 to 4 degrees of additional loft that will get the golf ball ‘airborne’. Not only will the 3 iron get the ball in the air, but the ball will travel far due to the long shaft.
5. Gripping The Club Too Strongly
You can instantly add distance and trajectory to your golf ball by making some slight adjustments to how you grip the club. You should grip the club with just the right amount of pressure, not too loose and not too strong.
Gripping the club too tightly will prevent you from generating maximum club head speed. This causes a reduction in power and as a result, a shorter shot distance and trajectory. The forearms and shoulder will become too tense when you grip the club tightly causing restriciton in the swing arc.
A lighter grip pressure will always result in more distance and trajectory because the golf swing is fluid. A softer grip will help relax your hands and arms, and give your wrist more flexibility.
Apart from the grip pressure, you should note that the type of grip you use can impact the distance the the golf ball travels in the air.
In one of my article, “How to grip a golf club correctly” I discussed the three different types of grips and there different functions. These include the interlocking grip, overlapping grip and 10 finger grip.
We found that the overlapping grip was the most comfortable golf grip of the three as it allowed for less tension. What does this mean?
Well, any unnecessary tension in the wrist or hands can actually lead to a decrease in the clubhead speed and hence less distance and trajectory. Some golfers find that the interlocking grip and the 10 finger grip creates too much tension in the hand and that could affect their golf swing.
Therefore, if you feel that your grip produces too much tension in the hands, then you should try changing your golf grip to the one you feel most comfortable with.
6. You Don’t Use Golf Tees
Finally on our list is the lack of utilizing golf tees. The golf tee is the elevated wooden stand that is usually used in the teeing area. Though it is not of good practice to use golf tees everytime you take a shot, they will definetely help you launch the ball higher in the air because you have a better chance of swinging up on it and hitting the top part of the club face.
You can add even more airborne if you adjust the height of the tee from off the ground. But you must be careful not to tee the ball to high as that can cause severe backspin when the clubface strikes the lower half of the ball. Though this will drive the ball higher, it will also prevent the ball from traveling far resulting in less distance.
Nonetheless, golf tees are great for when you are trying to hit the ball in the air and is by far the easiest way to achieve this.