What is Low Point?
Anyone who has been on a Trackman device may have noticed a new number that calculates something called “Low Point,” which is very important to playing consistent golf. So what is it?
The low point number describes where the lowest point of the swing arc is (in inches) relative to the ball. On Trackman, you might see a low point number like 3.1A from a short iron shot, which indicates that a golfer’s club reached its low point 3.1 inches after impact. You also might see a number like 1.2B from a driver swing, which indicates that the club reached its low point 1.2 inches before impact.
Low point can occur either before or after impact due the circular/elliptical nature of the golf swing. It’s a little complex at first, but you’ll pick it up quickly. To better understand the concept, think of the golf swing as the big hula hoop. Zooming in on the bottom of this “hula hoop” (see the picture below), we can see the club is traveling downward during the red part of the swing arc. It then bottoms out in the white area (low point), before ascending in the blue area.
Where Should My Low Point Be?
Relative to the golf ball, for crisp shots from the turf, our low point should be in front of the ball, or after impact, as shown below.
The club would be traveling on the downward part of the swing arc as it contacts the ball. The lowest point of the swing would be in front of the ball (typically 3-5 inches with a 7 iron for a tour pro). This can change depending on the type of shot you have.
- A driver can benefit from having the low point behind the ball, potentially maximizing distance through higher launch and lower spin. My low point with a driver is as much as 9 inches behind the ball.
- Your low point can be more level with the golf ball if you have a nice, fluffy lie and are trying to pick your fairway wood off the turf.
- For shots where you may need a steeper angle of attack (e.g. out of deep rough), a more forward low point may be desirable.
Having your low point behind the ball with a shot from the ground will not work out well (especially on tight turf). You will either strike the ground very early, or even the smallest of raises in height will create a severely thin/bladed shot.
With the low point position behind the ball, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Contacting the turf will produce a drop-kick or a fat shot, but missing the turf will produce a thin shot.
How do I know what I am doing?
Getting your swing measured on a device like Trackman will tell you where your low point position is. However, for those of you without that option, there are enough clues in the turf to make a good assumption. If the middle of your divot is after (target side) of where the ball was before you hit it, that indicates that your low-point was in front of the ball.
Here is a great drill to check your low-point position.
Make swings taking a sliver of sand from the top. Because of the consistency of the sand, the middle of the divot will be a good representation of your low point position. With this drill, you can also check where your club first contacted the ground. This then gives you opportunity to experiment with different setups, swings, etc., in order to manipulate the low-point position to what you desire. Have fun and experiment.
Of course, this drill can be done from the turf, too, although your green keeper may not be too pleased with the divots everywhere. In a bunker, you can just rake the sand and start again.
There are a myriad of set-up positions and swing dynamics that create a functional low point position and I will go through them in future articles. However, getting a good grasp of the concept first is a big step forward in helping you achieve this task.
If you want to learn more about concepts, drills and techniques to improve your strike quality, check out The Strike Plan by visiting my website: www.adamyounggolf.com/the-strike-plan