Are you struggling to hit crisp irons and instead find yourself hitting thin, fat and generally inconsistent shots? Do you suffer from the dreaded over the top move?
If so, don’t worry you’re not alone. Swinging over the top and hitting weak fades is the number one miss for almost every amateur golfer. While I’ve covered how to fix a slice in a different post, I want to give you a different reason why you’re making this mistake — your angle of attack.
Yes, how you start the downswing determines how the ball reacts off the clubface. If you don’t have the right angle of attack with your irons, you will continue to be inconsistent with your approach shots. It’s also important with the woods but even more important with your irons and wedges as you’re hitting them from the turf.
Here’s how to shallow out your golf swing to start being more consistent, learn to hit a draw, and play some of your best rounds yet.
Why Do You Need a Shallow Angle of Attack?
Before I get into specifics of how to shallow your golf swing for more consistent shots, it’s important to understand the why behind it. If you don’t shallow out your swing on the way down it’s nearly impossible to make consistent contact at impact.
Shallowing the golf club means that you get the club to flatten out more horizontally on the way down. Most golfers instead, have an over the top, casting move which leads a steeper plane on the downswing. This can produce fat shots, skinny shots, and big misses to the right.
Ideally, you want to get the club to split the right forearm (assuming you are a right-handed player) on the downswing. This will allow you to have a perfect angle to compress the golf ball at impact. If you look at the best players in the world, you can see how much they compress the ball at impact.
This is crucial for hitting it consistent!
How to Shallow the Golf Club
Why Most Golfers Are Too Steep
If you don’t have a shallow angle of attack it means you’re coming down too steep to start your downswing. The reason(s) why, might actually surprise you. Part of the equation is the arms/hands but more so it’s that golfers aren’t starting the downswing with their hips.
The beginning of the downswing there should be a slight move down into the ground which helps compress the ball.
If you watch a slow-motion swing of Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy and you can see how the first move on the downswing is into the ground. Power comes from the ground up. This allows them to use their lower body to compress the ball and hit it extremely consistent.
Most amateurs though do the opposite and start the downswing with their upper body. This makes it nearly impossible to use the lower body to unwind on the way down. It also produces that steep motion that leads to inconsistency.
Instead, you need to learn how to use your left side to pull your shoulders, arms, and hands into the right plane on your downswing. If you can learn how to do this, you will shallow out your swing and hit the most pure shots of your life!
How to Shallow Out Your Golf Swing
Here are three methods and drills to help you learn how to shallow out your golf swing.
1. Shift Your Weight To Get Use Your Lower Body
In the video above, he talks about the importance of starting the downswing with the lower body. I can’t reiterate this enough. If you start the downswing with your upper body, as so many golfers do, you will come down steep into the golf ball.
Instead, at the top of your swing you need to immediately shift the majority (roughly 80%) of your weight to your left side. Once your weight is on the left side then you can use it to properly start the downswing. This will allow you to make the move I referenced above where Rory and Tiger have a slight squat down at the beginning of their downswing.
This Rory extreme slow-motion video captured it beautifully:
As you can see, this move allows him to clear the way for his and arms to drop down into the perfect slot for impact. He starts with the weight transfer and that leads to the shoulders, arms, and hands all reacting perfectly.
2. Check Your Left Wrist
Another reason that so many golfers come down steep is that they don’t have a flat lead wrist at the top of the backswing. Instead, they have a cupped wrist. Ultimately, you want to make sure that your left wrist is flat or bowed to begin your downswing.
Here’s a quick video to explain why you need a bowed left wrist:
When you have a slightly bowed wrist it means you’re coming down from the inside with a square clubface. Dustin Johnson does this a ton and is very noticeable, while others like Jordan Speith also do but just less noticeable.
If you’re struggling with consistency check out your left wrist at the top of your backswing. If it is bowed the club should be laid off slightly, allowing you to drop the club into place on the way down.
3. Let Gravity Do Its Job
A lot of golfers who are trying to shallow out the club will try and do too much on the downswing. You don’t want to over correct the move and feel like you’re pulling the club down. There is no need to worry about this as gravity will do its job.
If you have the correct position with your left wrist and transfer 80% of your weight at the top of your swing, gravity will do its job.
Shallow Out Your Golf Swing Drills
Now that you understand why it’s so important and what to look for, its important to have a few drills to help you practice this move. Don’t try to take these ideas straight to the course without first practicing on the range.
1. Front Tee Drill
As Chris explains in the video above, in this drill you want to compress the golf ball and not hit directly at the ball. Meaning, you want to feel like you are swinging to create a divot that is ahead of the golf ball. Most golfers who don’t hit it consistently have a divot that is behind the ball or non-existent.
To get started, put a tee in front of the ball to help you try and compress the golf ball at impact. Do this 5-10x times to get the feeling down.
2. Behind the Ball Drill
If the other drill doesn’t work for you, then try and reverse it. Instead of putting the tee in front of the ball put something behind the ball like a plate from Fat Plate Golf. These will help you improve your angle of attack.
This drill will make sure that your low point is at or ahead of the ball. If the club hits the device, it provides instant feedback that your attack angle is not correct. This a great tool to help you practice in the upcoming winter months when hitting off of mats as well.
Head over to our post on the best golf training aids for more devices that can help your impact.
3. The Water Bottle Drill
I really like this drill as it will provide instant feedback if you are starting the downswing with your upper body and casting the club early. Plus, it’s super easy to do at home to help you ingrain the feeling of swallowing your angle of attack.
Check it out:
To get started, tie a half-full water bottle to the hosel of a pitching wedge or short iron. Make a slow backswing and pause slightly at the top. If you make an over the top move the water bottle will hit you in the head.
Instead, try to feel as though the water bottle is going behind you and coming more from the inside to hit the ball.
Improving your scores means improving how consistent you can hit the golf ball on a regular basis. The easiest way to do that is to shallow out your angle of attack and make sure that you are compressing the ball. Once you find the slot you’ll hit longer and straighter shots than ever before.
Make sure to film your swing and see if you’re doing this before trying any of the drills. If you are making the over the top move try a few of these drills, especially the ones you can do at home, to begin to learn the right angle of attack. Lastly, if you continue to struggle with shallowing the club make sure to check out our post on the Reverse K Setup.