Golf Practice Drills: how to hit the ball before the ground

Hitting the ball before the turf is one of golf's most important skills. Read this article to see how PGA professional Sam Quirke uses his 'extended wedge' drill

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The how to hit the ball before the ground drill is our fourth iron play drill in the Iron Play Practice Drills series.

One of the most important ball striking aspects of a golf swing is hitting the ball before the turf so here PGA professional Sam Quirke gives us a simple drill to work on that skill.

For this drill you either need two clubs of similar length, or a club and an alignment stick. As you see in the left photograph Sam has attached two clubs together, one in a normal position and the other rotated facing the sky.

To start the drill, make a quarter swing with the intention to hit the ball before the ground.

In the top photograph you can see the yellow line is the position Sam wants to finish. He has firm wrists and the top club is well away from his body.

If you swing the club without firm wrists your elbows will pull apart ('the chicken wing follow-through'), in order to allow them room to swing, which could lead to making contact with the turf before the ball. In the photograph you see the green line shows how Sam has kept his elbows together in the follow-through.

In the bottom left photograph Sam has finished his swing with a firm top wrist as well as making sure his hands are always ahead of the clubface through impact.

If you finish on the red line, or anything past it, your top wrist has bent forward causing the club to go higher into the air, which normally means that you've hit the ground first. Finishing on the yellow line will almost always mean you've struck the ball first.

Get comfortable with this practice drill and avoid hitting your rib cage with the top club. Then when you come to play a normal iron shot you will naturally hit the ball first.

Want anymore tips? Check out where PGA professional Sam Quirke provides swing analysis coaching at The Drift Golf Club or get on his personal website to take a closer look.

Or look at our Iron Play Practice Drills index or Golf Practice Drills index for more help.

The top five range drills is the first golf practice drill article in the Iron Play Practice Drills series.

One of the most important ball striking aspects of a golf swing is hitting the ball before the turf so here PGA professional Sam Quirke gives us a simple drill to work on that skill.

For this drill you either need two clubs of similar length or a club and an alignment stick. As you see in the photograph Sam has matched up the two grips of opposite facing clubs and held them together using a standard grip.

MOVE LINES TO THE RIGHT TO SEE HANDS AND GRIP. Make a quarter swing, so there's less margin of error, with the intention to hit the ball before the ground by maintaining a flat left wrist, as seen in the photograph.

Amateur golfers tend to un-cock the left wrist too fast which means they hit the ground before the ball and as a result the elbows pull apart ('the chicken wing follow-through') in order to allow them to play.

If you play this practice drill shot correctly then you will avoid hitting your rib cage. The more comfortable you get with this stroke, then when you come to a normal iron shot you will naturally hit the ball first.

Want anymore tips? Check out where PGA professional Sam Quirke provides swing analysis coaching at The Drift Golf Club or get on his personal website to take a closer look.

Or look at our General Practice Drills index or the overall Golf Practice Drills index.