Practice trajectory to improve your swing

Hans Kersting poses at the second tee at Valencia Country Club on Dec. 29, 2016. Katharine Lotze/Signal
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Do you ever think about trajectory? In other words, how much thought do you put into how high, or low, you want to hit your golf shot? Most of you spend time practicing your golf swing, but not enough of you spend time practicing your trajectory. If you start working on the trajectory of your golf shots, your swing will improve.

I still remember a Tiger Woods commercial from a number of year’s back that showed him hitting golf balls into a building with multiple floors. Using the same club, he hit three consecutive shots knocking out windows on three different levels. It was a great commercial, and one that helps to illustrate the importance of learning to control your ball flight.

Learning how to control your ball flight comes down to understanding two key elements.  Clubface and posture.

Most of you understand that a closed clubface will hit the golf ball lower than an open clubface. Generally, by playing your golf ball further back in your stance, you will produce a lower ball flight than if you play the ball further forward in your stance. What I like to see my players do is learn how to hit the ball both low AND high, without changing the ball position for either shot. But how?

Imagine you were allowed to throw your golf ball once in a while during a round. Think of those shots that you need the ball to fly lower. Perhaps when you are behind a tree? If you were allowed to throw the ball, you would instinctively lean into your front foot and throw the ball towards the ground. In doing this, you would notice that your front shoulder is angled lower than your back shoulder, thus creating a lower trajectory on your throw. Position yourself in this same manner to hit a lower golf shot.

On the other hand, let’s now imagine that you are behind that same tree, but now you choose to go over the tree. If you could throw the ball, you would settle back into your back foot, and throw the ball up towards the sky. In doing this, you would notice that your back shoulder is now lower than your front shoulder, thus creating a higher trajectory on your throw. Position yourself in this same manner to hit a higher golf shot.

I consider it a GREAT exercise to occasionally throw the golf ball in the desired manner in which you’d like to hit the ball. When you throw the ball low, your body will instinctively create a posture appropriate for that flight. The same holds true for a higher throw. Think about this the next time you practice on the range. Challenge yourself to hit shots both low and high, without changing the ball position. By thinking instead about simply changing your posture, the angle of your clubface will naturally change with you, and your golf swing will feel much more natural.

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World Golf Championships-Mexico
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Valspar Championship Innisbrook
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Puerto Rico Open Coco Beach Golf
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Shell Houston Open GC of Houston,
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