Why You Hit the Golf Ball Too High (and How to Lower Ball Flight)

Each golf club in your bag is designed and engineered to produce a consistent trajectory and travel a certain distance. 

When you swing them consistently and make contact with the sweet spot, you get the best results from all of your clubs when driving, hitting approach shots, and with your short game. 

Unfortunately, being human, none of us hit the ball properly each time. 

Even worse, some of us consistently hit the ball too high, which makes the ball travel in ways we did not intend and leads to frustrating scores.

Fortunately, we humans can adapt and correct our mistakes – even in golf! 

But exactly how can you lower ball flight?

In order to stop hitting the golf ball too high, you need to ensure you have the proper setup position and equipment. You also need to correct any swing faults that are contributing to the issue.

If you do all this, you will be able to hit the ball on the intended trajectory with each club.

In this post, we’ll outline some of the exact steps to help you do this!

But first, let’s take a look at exactly what causes a high ball flight.

Table of Contents

The Cause of a High Ball Flight in Golf

There are a number of things that might be responsible for causing a high, weak ball flight, including:

  • Improper setup
  • Swing faults
  • Bad tempo
  • Improper equipment

It’s important to realize that you might not just be struggling with one of these issues, but multiple. For example, you could have the ball too far forward in your stance AND fail to choose the right golf shafts for your game

Problems Caused By High Ball Flight

A properly hit ball just plain feels great. 

We’ve all experienced that glorious sensation of effortless power when we make contact with the center of the sweet spot on our clubs. 

man swinging golf club into sunset

It’s a lot of fun to watch when the ball takes a perfect flight path with just the right amount of roll at the end to position it perfectly for your next shot. 

On the other hand, if you’re reading this article, you know that it can be downright frustrating to hit shots that fly too high.

When the ball flies too high, it decreases the potential distance of the shot and is much more likely to be blown off course by the wind. 

This makes it nearly impossible to control where the ball will end up (both distance-wise and direction) and adds more strokes to your scorecard.

A ball that hangs up in the wind and does not go where you want it often leaves you with:

  • Longer approach shots.
  • Bad lies (plugged in the bunker or rough).
  • Awkward chip shots.
  • Missed greens.
  • Balls in hazards (water and sand).
  • Higher scores.
  • Less roll-out on drives.
  • Many other problems.

Pro golfers often cite distance control as being one of the most important factors for decreasing scores on the golf course. The key to controlling your distances is controlling your trajectory. 

How To Stop Hitting the Golf Ball Too High

In order to stop hitting the golf ball too high, there are a few main factors you need to consider:

Setup

Arguably the most important part of each shot in golf occurs before you even begin to swing the club. 

When struggling with hitting the golf ball too high, many players try to make drastic changes to their golf swing. 

But, before you fall into this trap, it’s a good idea to make sure that it isn’t your setup that is the root cause of your problems. 

golfer setup position with driver

Here are some of the common setup mistakes that lead to a high ball flight:

The ball is too far forward in your stance.

The more forward the ball is in your stance, the less lag the club will have at the point of impact. This means that extra loft is added to the club. 

Not only will less lag produce a high, weak ball flight, but it will also significantly reduce distance. 

The fix:

Instead, move the ball slightly back in your stance and try and maintain lag on the downswing for as long as possible. 

Your clubface is open.

An open clubface also adds more loft to the club, producing a higher ball flight. Of course, many players don’t even realize their clubface is open at address. 

The fix:

Next time you’re out for a round, get a second opinion from a friend on whether or not your clubface is square.

Your weight is on your back foot

If you place too much weight on your back foot, you risk hitting the golf ball too high. This is especially true when hitting driver off the tee. 

The fix:

Instead, make sure your weight is a 50/50 split between your feet or slightly favoring your lead leg. 

One of the best ways to practice the proper setup for your swing is to invest in a set of alignment sticks (you can check out alignment sticks available on Amazon here).

To this day, the $20 alignment sticks I bought are one of the most helpful purchases I’ve made when it comes to improving my game.

Swing Faults

So, now you have the proper setup.

But what do you do if you’re still hitting the ball too high?

If this is the case, the next step should be to look at your actual golf swing.

Here are some common swing faults that can cause an excessively high ball flight:

Tempo

One of the most common causes of a high ball flight is tempo. When people swing too fast, they struggle to make contact with the sweet spot of the club. Without doing this, it’s difficult to achieve a consistent trajectory.

The fix: 

During your swing, think about a specific phrase you can say in your head that matches the perfect tempo of the golf swing. 

Here is Martin Hall, an instructor on Golf Channel’s School of Golf, explaining a drill that can help you do this:

Excessive wrist/hand movement

If you hinge your wrists too much or you’re too “handsy” at any point during the golf swing, you risk adding unnecessary spin to the ball, causing it to balloon up into the air.

The fix:

Instead of actively hinging your wrists in the swing, loosen your grip on the golf club.

Then, swing back as though you are only using your hips, arms, and shoulders. Because you now have a lighter grip on the club with less tension, your wrists will hinge naturally as you swing the club back. 

Swing path

An over-the-top golf swing can also be to blame for a high ball flight. 

That’s because, in order to not pull the ball with this type of swing, players must open the clubface. When they do this, it adds loft to the club and puts a lot of spin on the ball. 

This is likely the cause for those who struggle with a high, weak slice. 

The fix: 

Instead of coming over the top, work on “dropping” the club in your downswing and attacking the ball from the inside.

Not only will this help prevent the high, weak slice, but it will also add power and distance to your swing. 

Here is Michael Breed, instructor on the Golf Channel, explaining a few drills to help you work on this feeling:

Equipment

Here are just a few of the ways equipment impacts ball flight:

Golf Shafts

Many players use golf shafts in their irons and driver that are much too flexible for their swing. 

This results in high shots with no real power behind them. 

There are many different options for golf club shaft flex and it’s important you choose the right shafts for your game

The fix:

If you want to make sure your clubs match your swing and will produce the proper trajectory on each shot, you might want to consider a custom club fitting

During this process, a professional will take measurements of your body and analyze data from your golf swing and set you up with a set of clubs that perfectly matches your abilities. 

Golf Club Loft

Most iron sets will have a standard loft for each club. For example, the standard loft of a 9 iron is 41 degrees, the loft of an 8 iron is 37 degrees, and so on.

However, when it comes to the driver, there’s some variability. You can buy a driver with a loft of anywhere between 8 and 12.5 degrees. Obviously, the higher the loft, the higher your ball flight will be.

So, if you struggle with a high ball flight, it’s important to make sure you’re not using a driver that has too much loft.

Again, a great way to figure out the best driver loft for your swing is by visiting a custom club-fitter

Golf Ball

Many people wonder, “does the type of golf ball you use really make a difference?”

The answer is a resounding yes.

golf ball sitting next to hole on green

If you have a high swing speed and you’re playing a high-spin golf ball, you might have difficulty keeping the ball on a mid-low trajectory.

The fix:

Do some research on the different types of golf balls and which ones are right for the different types of players. 

For those who struggle with a high ball flight, I would recommend the Titleist Pro V1x balls

These are what I personally use and I find they keep my ball on a lower, more piercing trajectory, especially off the tee and on approach shots to the greens. 

As a side note, if you’re struggling with a high ball flight and are looking for the right equipment to help address this problem, I’d recommend checking out Global Golf – it’s an online golf retailer with a huge selection of clubs from the top brands. However, what separates them apart from other online golf stores is that they’ll actually send you clubs to try on your home course before making the final purchase decision.

To browse golf equipment from Global Golf, or other top online golf sites, check out our article detailing all the best online stores.

The Takeaway – Stop Hitting the Golf Ball Too High

In order to stop hitting the golf ball so high, you need to first diagnose what is causing the problem. It could be because of a number of different factors, including:

  • Poor setup – ball too far forward, open clubface, weight on the back foot.
  • Swing faults – bad tempo, excessive hand/wrist action, improper swing path.
  • Equipment – golf shafts with too much flex, too much loft on the driver, playing the wrong kind of golf ball. 

After you’ve figured out what the problem (or problems) is, then you need to implement the proper solution. This could involve:

  • Getting custom fitted for clubs that match your swing.
  • Making improvements to your setup position.
  • Fixing swing faults.
  • Purchasing the proper golf balls.

And that’s it!

Armed with this information, you’re well on your way to achieving a powerful consistent ball flight.

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