How to Hit Nine Basic Golf Ball Flights

By Laird Small

Learn to Hit Nine Golf Ball Flights

I want to share with you a practice technique that I learned from my original teach John Gerten Sr. John taught Tony Lima and Johnny Miller and I was fortunate enough to be part of the camp. This is a drill that he had me do every time. We call it the nine ball rule.

In golf there are nine basic ball flights that you can hit. They come from three different three different trajectories. A low trajectory, a medium trajectory and a high trajectory. Then you have three possible clubface combinations, open, square and closed. What we would do is see how many balls it would take to run through those nine ball flights. You would have to call them ahead of time.

Golf Drill for More Ball Control

This is a drill that, for the better player learning ball control, is totally about impact and the bottom of the swing.

  • To hit the ball low, for example, you need to be able to distinguish the handle being forward at impact.
  • If you wanted to hit a low fade you would have to have the clubface open.
  • If you want to hit it straight it must be square and if you are going to hit a hook it has to be closed.
  • The next part of it is how are you going to hit a medium trajectory shot. You have to flight your ball a little bit different. As part of that, when your hands come into the ball, they are not as far forward.
  • Then how are you going to hit a fade, you have to open the clubface or hit a straight shot square or have a closed clubface for a draw, without the handle being so far forward so you get a different flight to the golf ball.
  • If you are going to hit a high shot, then you need to have the handle at impact back a little bit more and you still have to go through the same three clubface positions of open, square or closed.

Be Prepared for All Elements and Conditions on the Course

This is critical for ball control because the elements and conditions on the golf course change all the time. If you are playing down wind then playing it high is great. If you are hitting it in to the wind you have to be able to hit a low shot to cut through the wind.

This drill is absolutely essential for those who want to become better ball strikers and control the flight of their golf ball, and that is where shot makers come in. It might take you on your first try 20 golf balls to do it. So what. That is a benchmark that you set. It takes a little bit of work. I use this with my tour players that I coach and at first they absolutely do not like it but they see the value of it because we are teaching awareness of the club and clubface at the moment of impact. For some it may take a whole bucket of balls, but so what. What else can be more fun than learning ball control.

Category: Trajectory

About the Instructor

Laird Small
Laird Small
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Tel: 831-622-8650