When you first start playing golf, your sole objective when swinging the club is to try and make contact with the ball – which is’t always that easy at first!
After a while, you develop a little more technique and confidence, and start to focus on the outcome and hitting straight shots with the focus on hitting the ball more regularly in the centre of the clubface.
Most golfers think that’s all there is to hitting good shots. However, if you want to take your iron game to the next level, whether you’ve been playing golf for years, or if you’re a beginner, compressing the golf ball is what will elevate your level.
Be warned, it takes a bit of skill and technique, but with practice anyone can start to hit better shots. This is why we have written this guide to help you out.
What does it mean to compress the golf ball?
Compressing the golf ball means hitting the ball in a way that reduces the gap between the loft of the club and the attack angle. Basically, you’re trying to hit the ball with a “flatter” or delofted clubface with a shallow angle of attack, to create a more solid hit so that more of the energy from the club is transferred to the ball.
You may have occasionally hit an iron shot that felt slightly different in the hands. If it felt pure and perfect, like the golf ball was squeezing against the clubface before firing off into the distance, then you probably compressed the ball pretty well.
Compressing the golf ball with your irons is desired as it will increase both the distance and accuracy of your shots. It enables the ball to get maximum amounts of energy from the club and avoids scooping the ball which is what causes those weaker, higher iron shots.
The video below helps explain this in a little more detail.
So how do you compress the golf ball?
Most golfers think this is acheived by hitting down on the ball, and whilst this can be true, it’s a little more complex than that. A downwards momentum in your swing or descending attack angle to the ball can help you compress the ball better (most pros will hit 4 degrees down on the ball with an iron). But this only works if you’re delofting the club too.
Now we want to make this clear, this is desired when hitting your irons. You may have had advice to hit up on the ball when using the driver, which is essentially the opposite, but solid advice. Essentially, your swing with the driver and your iron should differ ever so slightly to get the most from both types of clubs.
But if you want to compress the ball better, follow our three simple tips below.
1. Deloft the club
When you swing to compress the ball, you want to try and deloft the clubface on impact. To deloft the club, your hands will need to be in front of the clubhead at impact.
This ensures that as much of the ball as possible is in contact with the clubface with the ball squashing against it. This in turn transfers the most amount of energy and results in a more solid hit, better ball flight and more control. Things every golfer wants!
If you’re coming into the ball with high loft on the club, you’re only ever going to be able to deliver a glancing blow to the golf ball, which will increase the spin loft and result in a weaker shot.
2. Shift your weight to your lead side
To help you with step 1 in delofting the club, shifting your weight to the left side (for right handed golfers) will unlock the ability for you to get your hands ahead of the clubhead.
You want to feel that 60-70% of your weight is on your lead side at impact (left side for right handed golfers) with the hips and shoulders slightly open. Practice this desired impact position without even swinging the club to get an idea for how this should feel at impact before trying to hit some shots.
3. Make a palm down strike
With your club delofted, your hands ahead of the ball and weight on your lead side, there’s a good chance you’ll leave the clubface open at impact which will result in your shots leaking to the right.
When it’s time to hit the ball, try to get the feeling that your right palm (for right handers) is down and facing the ground below you. This will not only help in squaring the face and stop the blocked shot, but it will also help prevent scooping the ball up in the air instead of delivering the most energy into the back of the ball for a successful compression.
Tips and tricks
As we mentioned at the start, whilst compressing the ball more is something we all strive for, it can be quite a difficult thing to put in practice. So we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that should help you get a better feel for this and bring it to your game quicker.
Get a feel for the impact position
If you’re not already compressing the ball very much when swinging the club. This desired impact position is going to feel a little foreign to you.
Rather than jumping straight to the range and battering 100 balls, practice the impact position (even without the ball) and get a feel for how your body should be positioned when coming to the bottom of your swing.
Hit some half shots
Once you’ve got a feel for the impact position, take a couple of baby steps before working up to a full swing.
Why not practice some half swings focusing solely on the bottom half of your swing on the range? This will help you groove this in before introducing this into your full swing.
It goes without saying, but practice makes perfect. Just like when you’re trying to improve at anything in golf, you’re going to have to put the hours in. Work up from your half swings to full swings, working your way through the bag and trying the replicate the feeling with different clubs.
It’s also always best to practice new things in your swing at the driving range first before taking them to the course!
Compression vs swing speed
You can further improve your golf ball compression and quality of your shots by making sure you buy the right golf ball for your swing speed. Swing speed affects how hard you hit the ball, which means it also affects how much the ball is compressed and the resulting ball speed.
There are a whole range of golf balls available on the market and they are all tailored for different types of levels and golf swings. For example, low compression golf balls are more suited for slower swings, whereas a high compression is better for faster swings.
If you’re interested further in the different types of golf balls available and how this can affect your game, check out our guide here.
We hope by reading this article you have either taught yourself or reminded yourself how to compress the golf ball. Remember, with the right technique and ball suited for your swing speed, you shouldn’t have too much trouble when it comes to compressing the ball.
So make use of our instructions, tips, and tricks, and practice, practice, practice! We promise the distance and the accuracy of your next shot will be worth it!