Shot Shaping 101: How To Hit a Higher Shot

Shot Shaping 101: How To Hit a Higher Shot

By: Nick Bockenfeld, PGA
⌚8 Minute Read



Have you ever watched the pros hit an iron shot or tee shot, or really any kind of shot, and just see the beautiful high ball flight that they might hit into a tight pin? Hitting the ball high is very advantageous in a lot of different situations. Off of the tee, a ton of carry by hitting the ball high allows you to overpower a course. Hitting it higher will allow you to go at a tucked pin or hit a ball over an obstacle and land it on the green with little rollout. Many different situations call for a higher ball flight, but how do you hit the ball higher?


The physics

In order to hit the ball higher, you need a higher launch angle, a less steep angle of attack, more club head speed, or more backspin. If you have one of those or a combination of them, you can hit the ball higher. But what do those things mean, and how do you get them? Well, your launch angle is based on a combination of your dynamic loft, that is, the loft of your club at impact and your angle of attack. So you can combine the dynamic loft and angle of attack to gather what your launch angle will be. If you have a dynamic loft of 10 degrees and an attack angle of plus 4, going up into the ball 4 degrees, your launch angle will be about 14 degrees. Likewise, with a wedge, if the dynamic loft is 48 degrees and you come into the ball at -6 degrees, your launch angle will be 42 degrees. So you can launch the ball higher, by changing either the dynamic loft or the angle of attack. So if you want to launch a ball higher or lower, you can easily change the angle of attack by moving it forward or backward in your stance.



Your swing is a bunch of different arcs put together. So when you are taking a swing and coming into impact, you are swinging along an arc with a downward tilt. That arc means your swing has a low point. That low point can be before or after the ball. It usually depends on where your weight is, and where your head is at impact. Moving your weight forward moves that low point forward. Moving that weight back moves the low point back. Changing where your ball is in relation to the low point can help you change your angle of attack without doing anything else to your swing.


    The ball goes high

    Now all you have to do is move the ball a little bit further forward in your stance. Two things will happen when you do this, your club will come into the ball a little later, and the angle of attack will be closer to 0, or even higher than 0, so you will be coming into the ball with less angle of attack. This drives your launch angle higher, and the ball will come off the club head higher than normal. The other thing that will happen is your club face will come in a little more closed because of the arc it is on. This means the ball will come out higher and a little further left! This usually means the ball comes out higher and hotter, going just a little further than normal. The adverse side effects that are included are that you could hit the ball thin or fat. Depending on how your weight transfer is, you could hit it fat. If you cannot transfer your weight towards your lead side, you will undoubtedly hit it fat. If you move it too far forward, you will most likely hit the ball a little thin. These inconsistencies in contact could change your spin numbers and create inconsistent rollout on the green.


    CTRL Swing Master

    Now that you have a new shot that you can hit, it's time to practice it and have some fun! Play with ball position to see what happens, pick a spot you like, slide on your CTRL Swing Master, create a model and call it high __ whatever club you are hitting, and start building your model. Watch how your tempo changes for your good high ball flight, and take note of if you may have to be a little slower or faster than your normal tempo so you can focus on that when you step up to hit your next shot. Use the Swing Master training aid to help you groove this swing so you can do it every single time.


    Permanently higher ball flight

    Let's say all of this is great, but you want your ball flight to be higher every time you hit the ball. There are several things that you can do to ensure this! The first is to get fit for different clubs. You can get club heads with different MOIs and different centers of gravity to help lift the ball higher. You could also switch from irons, to hybrids or ever higher-lofted woods to help get that ball higher into the air.

    Most important is finding the right shaft. Getting a shaft with a low kick point will launch the ball higher. You can also get shafts that are high spinning, so you would want to get a mix of a lower kick point, high spin shaft so that it does all the work and gets the ball higher for you, without changing anything.



    To wrap this up, hitting the ball higher is a great skill to have access to, and with your CTRL Swing Master training aid, you will be able to hit that nice high ball whenever you need to and knock it close. 

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