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How to hit shots higher or lower without changing your swing



The author, Scott Hamilton has created a comprehensive video series on his keys to hitting the driver. He has made the first seven videos of the series free to GolfWRX readers. You can check them out here or check out his website,

I like my guys to hit their stock shots at a mid trajectory. That way, their stock shot is suited to work in most conditions and situations. It isn’t affected by the wind as much as a high trajectory, and doesn’t roll out as much as a low one. When a player uses a middle trajectory shot as their “go-to,” they don’t need to make a big swing change when they want to adjust their trajectory up or down.

What allows them to change trajectories is their ability to control the club’s dynamic loft through impact. Dynamic loft is different than the loft built into your clubs at the factory. That loft, measured when your clubs are in a vice, is known as static loft. Dynamic loft is different because it’s the actual amount of loft that is on the club at the moment it strikes the ball. It’s the main influence on how high or low you launch your shots, and what you should focus on if you want to change how high or low you hit it. 

Changing trajectory isn’t only useful when you need to get under or over a tree, either. It’s a great skill to have to play with good strategy. 

Consider when a hole is cut on the back of a green with water behind the flag. Hitting it in the water is the worst possible outcome. If you have to make birdie right then, the right choice is probably to try to hit the perfect shot and stuff it in there tight. If there’s a lot more golf to be played, however, it often makes more sense to take the chance of hitting it in the water totally out of play.

If the conditions allow, use a lower trajectory, land the ball short of the flag and chase it back to the hole. This strategy takes the water out of play, but still leaves open the possibility of getting it close. When you combine this skill with the ability to play off-speed golf (see my previous story), you can use the longer club that would normally bring the water into play, hit it soft and play smart. 

No matter the reason you’ve decided to adjust your trajectory, the way I suggest you do it is the same. In the video above, I show you the simple method I teach my guys to use when they need to change their stock trajectory.

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Currently teaching 14 PGA Tour players, Scott Hamilton is a staple on the PGA Tour range each week. In 2015, a poll of PGA Tour players conducted by Golf Digest ranked him as the No. 2 instructor on the PGA Tour. His players like him for his ability to conduct a complete analysis of their games and return a simple solution to help them play better. “You get the result you want without all the big words.” as Scott often says.



  1. Cons

    Apr 9, 2016 at 5:30 pm


    Do you offset your high shots by closing stance?

  2. Other Paul

    Apr 6, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    I dont know what all the shank votes are about. Nothing wrong with this. I thought it was well done.

    • Mitch

      Apr 12, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Exactly. Every article has a bunch of Shanks and I don’t understand it either.

  3. Philip

    Apr 6, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Scott, could you put the PEAK height of the different flights in the article for us to know what the ball did? Looking at the numbers (normal – DL 24 / LA 19.8) (high – DL 26.6 / LA 20.3) (low – DL 23.8 LA 17.2), there doesn’t appear to that big a difference in dynamic loft, so are the peak heights fairly close? Looking at the differences: Normal-High DL +2.6 and LA +0.5, whereas Normal-Low DL -0.2 and LA -2.6, I suspect clubhead speed may be playing a large roll (wider stance = more backswing) versus (open stance = restricted backswing)? What do you think?

    • Scott Hamilton

      Apr 6, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Good catch and question Phil. with a 2° change in dynamic loft, I’d expect a little more difference between the launch angles of the first and second shots. I must have hit down on the second one a bit more or maybe the first ball was a little wet. Usually changing dynamic loft 2° with an iron will change the launch by about 1.5°.

      • Philip

        Apr 6, 2016 at 10:48 pm

        Thanks for the reply. Another question. Is there any advantage to doing it your way to lower the ball flight versus taking a club extra and choking up on it? Would your way maintain the spin better to hold the green, for instance?

  4. Jeff

    Apr 6, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Video would be great if it actually played.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Apr 6, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Our apologies, Jeff. We are currently working on fixing the issue. Please check back soon, and the issue should be resolved.

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Kelley: Should a Tour player’s swing be the pattern we copy?



PGA Tour players are the most gifted golfers on the planet. Their ball striking ability is remarkable to the average, even scratch, golfer. With the time to practice all day, usually perfecting their imperfections in their own swings, why are PGA Tour players’ swings always the model we seek?

Look at the progression and expectations in other sports played recreationally. If you start playing Tennis, you don’t expect to serve as fast and accurate as Rafael Nadal. When joining a gym, do we look and replicate the times and bodies of Olympians? However, in golf, players seek the worlds best trying to emulate them. Examining this idea, could this actually be detrimental?

Let’s start with the speed differential. The average PGA Tour driver club head speed is 113 mph. The average male amateur golfer driver speed is 93.4 mph. The average handicap for the male golfer sits between 14 and 15. Below is a chart from Trackman showing the distribution of clubhead speed among male golfers.

*Trackman research shows there is a direct correlation between clubhead speed and handicap.

Speed is mostly a natural talent developed at an early age. It can be enhanced with speed training, gym work and even lifestyle changes. ?With such a differential in speed?, wouldn’t players first be better served focusing on center contact with the most efficient route to do so? This can include modeling simple looking swings.

Besides the speed differential, the world’s best golfers all have unique swings that have been perfected over time. Take for example the top ten players in the world. Different swings with different match-up moves throughout the motion. They have made it work for themselves with countless practice hours. Usually time the average golfer doesn’t have.

A main example would be Rory McIlroy, often a sought out golf swing among students. Here is a quote regarding his swing swing sequence after visiting the Titleist Performance Institute Center. “At the start of McIlroy’s downswing, his left hip spins violently counterclockwise, as it does for every elite, long-hitting player. but then, and only with the driver, Mcllroy makes a funky move you could not teach. a moment before impact, his left hip suddenly changes direction and jerks back, clockwise, and then rotates again.”

With the average golfer on a time constraint?, golfers could actually look at what the greats do the older they get in their careers. The swings become more simple, using their instincts to get their body in efficient and more teachable positions. This is usually in their set-up then backswing, with less excess movement for an efficient strike. Take for example a young versus older Ben Hogan. (Picture below)

Below is another example of a young Jack Nicklaus compared to an older Nicklaus later in his career.

This is in large part due to the concept that less can be more at times. Unfortunately in golf, all to often players are told to do more with their swing, only to jeopardize center contact even seeking vanity over function.

A concept that could be beneficial is next time you want to work on your swing, focus on efficiency and minimizing the ?motion for center contact and a better face/path relationship. Then you can build. Rather then taking a bit from a Tour player’s swing, understand how your body should move to achieve your desired ball flight. Once you have a foundation, then add speed and your own DNA to the swing.

The argument could be made the opposite should be taught for aspiring junior golfers, especially the way the game as going. This article is intended to open a discussion and perhaps change the view of how the golf swing is being taught based on your skill-set and what you are trying to get out of the game. Also, what may be teachable and not teachable. You can change swings with concepts alone.

Twitter: @Kkelley_golf 

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Clement: Why laying up = more power



You have been there before — you can’t get over the hazard on a par 5 and decide to lay up and take the club you need for the distance and the ball makes it into the hazard after you took this smooth swing that smoked the ball 15 yards farther than you expected? We uncover the mystery right here!


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Kelley: Simplify your swing with the hammer drill



Regardless of your handicap, a simple hammer can teach you how to efficiently address the ball, start the swing and then put your body in a dynamic position at the top. If you can hammer a nail, there is no reason you can’t simplify your swing. This drill can also change the parts in the middle of your swing you have been struggling to change.

To start, grab a hammer with your trail hand as if you are hammering a nail into a wall in front of your body. You will notice how this instinctively gives you a slight tuck of the trail elbow and drops your trail shoulder below the lead with angle in the trail wrist.

Once gripping the hammer, move the weight of the hammer as if hammering a nail. This will give you the feel of the takeaway.

From here, the golf swing is no more then a lifting of the arms as the right arm folds and the body goes around a bit.

From this position, holding your spine angle and placing the left hand on the right hand will pull your body into a coil or “turn”. This places your body in a position to efficiently swing the golf club back down to the ball.

A great way to combine the hammer drill with a golf club is to hold a hammer on the grip of the club or tape the hammer down the middle of the shaft. Start with just your right hand on the club and make slow swings.

Once you have practiced this a few times, the hammer can be removed and this feel can be integrated to a normal golf club. To continue this feel, simply turn the clubhead in as if you are hitting the ball with the toe of the club (below picture). When turning the club like this, the center of balance goes more to the clubhead, helping replicate the actual hammer feel.

What’s great about this drill is that the actual task is driving the technique. Rather than being thoughtful of several technical positions in the golf swing, replicating the instinctive motion of the hammer will put you in the proper positions. This drill will also help you place your focus of attention on the actual club, which is often overlooked.

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