I was watching some of the preparations for “The Open” on TV the other day and Pádraig Harrington was being interviewed on the range and the question of “how he hits it low” was asked of him.
His reply was really simple and definitely something I would encourage everybody to try at some point. He said that a lot of people still take a high lofted club and then place it back in the stance. They then lean the shaft forward so their hands are ahead of the ball, however what they do then is hit down with a full pace swing. This speed will still put a lot of spin on the ball and although you may be able to keep the ball down some of the time, if you are into wind invariably it will just climb up into the air because of the large amount of spin. His advice was to experiment on the range first and get a 4 iron and try to hit it about 130 yards. He then suggested that if you struggled with that club to control the distance you should then try your 5 iron next and then repeat this through your irons until you find the ideal compromise for you.
What I really like about this is the idea of golfers getting longer clubs out and learning to control the speed and rhythm of their swings. One of the main keys to keeping the ball low is keeping the speed of the club at impact slower but this can also be one of the main foundation components in learning to control distance and shape of shot. Another positive aspect golfers will get from trying this exercise will be adding a bit of creativity to their game. It is so easy to get stuck in doing the same thing and having the chance to experiment gives us great opportunities to learn and expand our skills in golf – Pádraig is certainly not shy of trying something different.
Paul Thompson has been the Fellow PGA Professional at Powerscourt Golf Club in Wicklow since 1995. In addition to providing coaching on-site he also is a coach with The Golfing Union of Ireland. Appointments with Paul can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.