Grouchy Golf Blog

Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 8:23 AM

Golf Tips - "Hit Down on the Ball" with Irons and Fairway Woods

My favorite part of golf is hitting irons. There's no better feeling than hitting that pured iron shot. I can spend all day at the range without hitting a wood and be perfectly content. Irons are the surgical instruments of golf. In the right hands, they can place a ball within 10 feet of a hole from 2 football fields away. If you think about it, that's pretty amazing. The U.S. military would love to have a weapon that accurate!

But mastering the irons is much easier said than done. To understand the concept of hitting irons properly, you must throw logic out of the window. Like most things in golf, your common sense will lead you down the wrong path. Most people look at a pitching wedge and assume that to get the ball in the air one must somehow get the club under the ball and hit it with an upward blow. In other words, people see the clubface and assume that the club must impact the ball perpendicular to its the loft. This is incorrect and the reason that most people have difficulty with irons.

In reality, an iron launches the ball into the air because it imparts massive amounts of backspin. This backspin combined with the dimples on the golf ball creates lift, known as the Magnus force. As a result, the spin rate directly influences how high the ball flies.

To impart this necessary backspin, the clubhead must impact the ball with a descending blow
. The swing advice, "hit down on the ball" is meant to convey this concept concisely. However, I find that this term can be somewhat misleading because it implies that the clubhead should impact the ball on a very steep angle. Better ball-striking will result from a shallow or slightly downward approach into the ball. Once I understood this concept, it truly was a golf epiphany. The key is to re-wire your brain.

It helps to see the physics in slow motion. Below is an impact sequence from the . A red dot marks the same point on the ferrule. Some important things to notice:

But remember, "hitting down on the ball" only applies to irons, hybrids and fairway woods. For a teed driver, you should "" to maximize your distance. Are you confused yet?


Wednesday, March 05, 2008 at 8:42 PM

Matt Jones: Johnny Miller's Man Crush?

Johnny Miller sounded like a man in love last week at the Honda Classic. However, the object of his affection wasn't some hot young Betty, but a 27 year-old Aussie golfer named Matt Jones. Johnny's frequent gushing over this PGA Tour rookie during the 3rd round reminded me of some pre-teen girls talking about heartthrob Corey Haim back in middle-school.

Just read a giddy Miller commenting on a slo-mo replay of Matt's swing on Saturday: "He has a perfect setup...Just a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10...He has a real good "chase"...I really believe that he has a good chance to be a star in the next couple of years."

Ironically, these comments came shortly after Johnny criticized Ernie Els' swing, arguably the best swing of all-time! I guess Johnny reserves the über praise for golfers that have incorporated his patented "chase" move. It's been a recurring theme with Johnny Miller for quite some time now. I just wish that I knew what the heck he's talkin' about.

And Johnny, don't you think that you're a little premature anointing this guy as the next young golf star? In four years on the Nationwide Tour, he failed to win any of the 94 events that he played. Have the Wies finally convinced you that winning doesn't matter? Remember, people once thought that Corey Haim had star potential. Those people were morons.