, GolfLink Editor
Updated August 29, 2023
Man swinging a golf club
    Man swinging a golf club
    Getty Image license

When you master the ability to hit the golf ball at whatever trajectory you'd like, the game becomes easier, and you have more options as you get around the golf course. These are the principles of trajectory, and how to hit shots in every launch window.

The Proper Way to Adjust Your Shot Height

Let me show you three different options you have simply by altering your follow-through and set up.

Medium Shot: In setting up to hit a medium shot I try to get the three parts; the ball, the handle and the sternum, directly in line. Medium also means to me the same amount of motion on both sides of my body during the swing.

High Shot: As I set up for high, the ball is now forward of center, my sternum is now behind the ball and the handle of the club is now between the ball and my sternum. The mere connotation of the word 'high' means finish up.

Low Shot: Now let's move to the third shot, and this should be the shot that you play the most. I place the ball back and lean the handle and my sternum forward so I am now braced over my front leg. The idea is that I am going to hit this shot low, so my finish is going to be low as well. Now when I make my swing that ball goes about half as high as medium.


How to Control Your Golf Ball Trajectory

To play good golf in your full swing you have to learn to control five things: the ball; the club; your body; your mind; and ultimately the golf course.

If I want to get that ball in the air I have to strike it somewhere below its equator. It is a whole lot easier to strike the ball below the equator if the club is moving down that when the club is moving up. When it is moving up a lot of bad things can happen. You can hit behind the ball, you can top the ball or you can miss-hit it many different ways. But if you are striking the ball slightly on the downswing you get better club-ball contact.

Tips for Adding Height to your Golf Shots

I am going to talk to you about getting the ball higher up in the air. There are certain characteristics that allow the golf ball to fly higher.

  • One is the loft of the club so obviously when you have a more lofted club you have a better chance of hitting the golf ball higher in the air.
  • The same goes for clubhead speed. When you have more clubhead speed you have a better chance to put more spin on the golf ball which launches the golf ball up in the air.
  • The third thing is the length of the golf swing. If you swing the club farther back and finish higher you have a better opportunity to launch the ball higher in the air.
  • The fourth thing is the angle of your swing. If the angle of your golf swing is more up and to the right you have a better chance of hitting the golf ball higher in the air. Conversely, if the angle of your swing is down and to the left you will hit the ball lower.
  • The last opportunity is how your body reacts. If I swing back and my body is leaning toward the golf ball I am going to hit more down on top of it. If I can get turned behind the golf ball and stay there I have a better chance of launching the golf ball up in the air.

How to Control Your Golf Ball Trajectory in Any Condition

Let's talk about trajectory control. In windy conditions it is really important to flight your ball correctly if you want it low into the wind, or sometimes even high downwind. What is the principle behind it? Well it is very simple; it is the relationship of the butt end of the club to the head end of the club. The farther the butt end is tilted forward the lower the ball goes.