We've all felt it....... the realisation at impact when we either thin the ball or catch a farms worth of turf behind the ball. The instant feedback we get sends shivers up our spines in just the thought of this happening because the sensation is awful. The vibration we get through the shaft of the golf club when we thin it that travels at the speed of light into our hands is horrific (especially on a cold winters day....... the fingers tingle for a while after). And when we catch the turf before the ball, we look up knowing the golf ball has travelled half the distance it should've done.
Both awful shots that happen to even the best of players. But why does it happen?
Quite simply, the club does not meet it's LOW POINT at the correct area.
What do I mean by low point?
A lot of golfers would describe the lowest point of the golf club (iron) would come into contact with the ground about 2-3 inches ahead of the golf ball to compress the ball as well as they could, thus avoiding fat and thin shots. Not necessarily. The low point differs for alllevels of golfers. For some, the low point might need to be before the ball with an iron hitting upwards!
As a general rule of thumb, a slower swing speed should be hitting more upwards (low point on the ball or just before) and a higher swing speed should be just in front of the ball. It is dependent on where maximum compression occurs in your golf swing.
One of my favourite drills to discover this is to grab a tin of marker paint (or similar), spray a line 90 degrees to your target (see below). Place the golf balls on that line and see where your club is striking the ground is relation to that line and the ball. In the many times I have done this drill there has been a lot of shocked golfers discover where their club is coming into contact with the ground.
The idea is to strike a few golf balls from that line, take a note of YOUR ideal ball flight and check where your club struck the ground to produce your ideal and satisfactory ball flight. It might be your better off with barely scraping the surface of the line to produce your best shots. It could be that you take fairly hefty divots just in front of the line to produce your best shots.
This is a great game of self discovery which leads to tremendous satisfaction, knowing the reasons you have hit either good shots or bad shots due to where the club is reaching it's low point in the arc of the swing. A crucial element in helping you contact the ball better and aiding the predictability of your ball flight.