The Top 4 Drills to Improve Hitting Down on a Golf Ball
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on December 13, 2023

One of my favorite ways to get better at golf is to practice with drills.

Drills narrow down one or two skills and give you a way to focus your practice. If you are a golfer that struggles with hitting down on a golf ball, there are some great drills to help make this considerably easier on you.

I’ve not only tried each of these drills but have also tweaked them a bit to work much better.


Why Hitting Down on The Ball is Important

Hitting down on the golf ball will allow for the full loft, power, and spin of the golf shots you are trying to hit. The golf ball must be struck first, with the divot coming after the ball. In order to do this, you must hit down on the golf ball.

Of course, there are swings with fairway woods and your driver where the ball will be hit more on the upswing. However, for excellent iron play, amateur golfers need to hit down and through their golf shots to get the best possible results.


4 Best Drills to Hit Down on a Golf Ball

1. Hit The Line

The hit the line drill is simple but helps players visualize exactly what impact looks like and how to make your golf swing more efficient. When working on hitting the line, the best way to do this drill is to purchase a can of white spray paint and make sure you have the permission of the driving range to complete the drill.

Step 1: Draw A Line On The Ground 

Set up to hit a golf shot and make a small mark with a tee where the golf ball would be. Once you have this mark, take the paint and draw a straight line of paint on the ground extending out a foot or two to the target. Make sure the line is straight.

Step 2: Set Ball Up

Next, you will set a ball up at the start of the line. When you hit the ball, you are going to attempt to hit the ball first and then clip part of the line.

Step 3: Keep Working down the line 

As you work through your entire practice session, set the ball up this way each time, and have your visualization be that you need to clip a piece of the line each time. When you get really good at this, you won’t need the line there anymore.

Many golfers will hit golf balls on the range like this because it’s good for the turf to grow back as well.


2. Left Hand Dominance Drill

One of the major reasons that golfers have trouble hitting down on the ball are those that try and get their right hand a bit too involved in the swing. The right hand is not the hand that develops the most consistency through the golf ball.

If you want to hit solid shots with tremendous power, the left hand dominant swing is the way to go. Here are the ways to do it.

Step 1: Grip The Club with Your Left Hand Only 

First, you will want to grip the club with just the left hand. Some players will try to take an entire backswing and downswing using the left hand only, but this will take some strength. Most golfers do the best working on this golf swing drill and then make a transition into a full regular swing.

Step 2: Take a Partial Backswing

This drill is all about getting the feeling down. Take about a half to ¾ backswing with your iron in your left hand. Leave the right hand off the club.

Step 3: Create Resistance with Right Hand 

On the downswing, you will want to create an angle of attack that feels like the left hand is pulling the club down through impact. Hold the center of the shaft with your right hand to create a bit of resistance, and the left hand should feel as though it’s pulling down through impact.

Step 4: Try a Full Swing 

Try this a few times, then switch to taking a regular golf shot. Make sure that you are still focusing on rotation in your swing. Your weight should transfer as you never want the upper body to take full control of the swing.

Here’s a video breakdown of this drill:


3. Two Ball Takeaway Drill

The takeaway drill is my favorite drill to fix quite a bit of problems that you can come across in your golf swing. One of those issues is lifting the club too far off the ground on the takeaway. If you lift the club up and alter your spine angle, returning the golf ball to the proper impact position is very hard.

This two ball takeaway drill works well for beginners as well as experienced golfers that need a little pick-me-up and refresher in their golf game.

Step 1: Take Your Typical Stance

The first part of this drill is to take your traditional golf setup. Since this is a drill in which you hit a real golf ball with a full swing, make sure that both your left foot, right foot, hips, and spine angle are correct before you start.

Step 2: Keep The Club Low and Take It Back Slow

I like to do this drill with something like an 8 iron or 9 irons; they are typically forgiving and make the learning curve just a little easier. I put one golf ball in front of the clubface and one golf ball about six inches behind the back of the club head.

The goal is to take the golf club back very low and slow so that it knocks this other golf ball out of the way. When you keep the club low and slow, it makes it much easier to return it to the ground at impact.

So many amateur golfers pick the club fight up at the start of their swing, which creates some performance issues.

Step 3: Ensure a Proper Weight Shift

To make a proper weight shift, you must feel as though weight is moving back to your right foot at the start of your swing, and on the downswing, the weight needs to transfer back to the left foot. This efficient weight transfer creates a ton of power and impressive trajectory.

Step 4: Transfer to a Full Finish

One of the things that I always found most impressive about this drill is that I’m able to compress the golf ball considerably better. I actually get more distance with this drill, even though I’m tapping another golf ball on the back swing.

In addition, when I struggle with poor tempo or feel like my timing is off, I like to use this two ball drill.


4. Golf Alignment Stick Drill

Golf alignment sticks are some of the most effective practice aids that we have to work with. Alignment sticks can be used to work on backswing angles, alignment, angle of attack, coming over the top, and more.

Essentially if you know how to use them, they are one of the most effective training aids golfers have to work with. To have more luck hitting down on a golf ball, I like to use this chipping drill with a golf alignment stick.

P.S. If you don’t yet own a set of alignment sticks, here’s our favorite:

Callaway Alignment Stix (Set of 2)

This set includes two 48-inch alignment sticks that can be configured multiple ways to help straighten your swing and improve your golf game. This training aid will help teach key fundamentals of set-up and ball striking, including alignment, ball position, and swing plane.

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Step 1: Grip Club and Alignment Stick

The first part of this drill feels a little awkward, but you can get used to it rather quickly. Simply grip your golf club and an alignment stick at the same time. The golf club head will be on the ground as it always is, The alignment stick will run in the opposite direction, and it will come up high enough that you have to tuck it under your left armpit.

Step 2: Use a Pitching Wedge or Sand Wedge

I highly recommend using a pitching wedge or a sand wedge here. We are only going to take little swings with this drill to try and learn how hitting down on a golf ball around the green can help you create more spin.

Step 3: Small Swings, Don’t Let Shaft Hit You

The backswing of this shot will feel pretty standard to you. However, for golfers that don’t hit down the ball, the alignment stick’s shaft will likely hit you on the left rib. Do this at a slow pace so you can feel it. The idea is to rotate and turn through the ball so the alignment stick never hits your side.

You may have to make some adjustments to your mindset here as well. I like to start focusing on hitting the back of the ball on the downswing. The alignment stick gets in the way for players that try to lift or flip the golf ball by scooping it.

Step 4: Let Go of the Alignment Stick, Try Full Swing

Once you have done this a few times and you get the concept down, go ahead and put the alignment stick down. At this point, you can start taking full swings and getting that same feeling of hitting down and through the ball as opposed to trying to lift it up out of the grass.

You will notice that your chip shots fly higher, and they stop on the green considerably closer.


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Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1