Whilst the picture above is a little extreme hitting the ground before the ball is a common occurence among amateur golfers.
When a player hits the ground before the ball it is generally because their club is attacking the ball from too shallow an angle. Golf coaches refer to this as the "Angle of Approach".
As you can see from the image above, when a Angle of Approach is too shallow, the club is attacking the ball from an angle very close to the ground. When the club is this close to the ground it gives the golfer no margin for error and, as a result, heavy/fat shots are a common result.
In an attempt to avoid the heavy shot the golfer then tries to avoid the ground, the result is generally a thinned shot along the ground. This is because the club will still be attacking the ball from a shallow angle of approach and therefore hitting the ball on the upward part of the golf swing arc.
The PGA Tour average Angle Of Approach for a 6 iron is 4 degrees down
To hit 4 degrees down we need to create a steeper angle of approach. There are several factors that influnce angle of approach but I am going to focus on Swing Plane in this blog. I feel that by getting the swing plane correct it fixes several other faults in a golfer's game.
Swing plane is the angle at which the golf club is swung around the body
A shallow angle of approach is caused by a swing plane that is too flat. A flat swing plane can also cause several other issues:
Shots struck off of the heel
Above is a before (below) an after (above) of a golfer who I have been helping to steepen his swing plane.
Kel is a good golfer. He plays off of single figures at Hallamshire Golf Club but has always had a tendency to hit the ground before the ball. So we decided to steepen his swing. This is how we did it:
Image 1 - The bottom image shows a little too much knee flex which encourages more weight to be put on the heels. The top image shows a more upright posture which will promote a more upright swing.
Image 2 - The yellow line is Kel's plane line, dictated by his shaft angle at address. The bottom image shows that with too much weight on his heels at address, the club will naturally swing too flat around his body. The top image shows the club starting above the plane line, this was achieved by the change in posture and by focusing on more wrist cock at the start of the swing.
Image 3 - The flat takeaway has continued into the backswing with the club shaft flatter than the plane line. The top image shows how a good posture and takeaway can influence the rest of the swing. The club is now perfectly parallel to the original plane line.
Image 4 - The bottom image shows the flat swing continuing towards impact. The clubhead is now to the left of his hands and the club is travelling on a shallow angle of approach into the ball. The above image shows the shaft perfectly on plane and therefore approaching the ball on an ideal angle of approach.
If you are struggling with any of the shots mentioned in this blog a major cause will be your swing plane. I recommend you try steepening your swing as Kel did.
Give the tips in this blog a try but if you need more help, please contact me and I will work through it with you.
Thanks for reading my blog.