Indian or the Arrow? Ball Position and Your Trajectory

A lot of golfers can do some simple diagnosis of their game by paying close attention to their trajectory, direction and impact marks on the face of the club. How many of you have trouble getting the ball up in the air with your 3 wood? If you said yes, do you believe it is your swing causing the problem (Indian) or your equipment (arrow)? Well, here is a little help.

For a 3 wood, the ideal situation is to make contact with the ball with more of a level swing as if you were picking the ball off of the grass. Granted, the ball will be somewhat nestled in the grass due to the force of gravity on the ball, but the club may be just clipping the grass as pictured here. To keep things simple, we have a neutral shaft position and did not incorporate a forward hand press. However the principles will be the same.

In this position, the center of gravity of the club, at least on most modern non-deep faced models, will be below the equator of the ball and the ball will fly off on a nice trajectory and hopefully in the direction you are aimed at.  However, if you answered yes to the first question, this might not represent your swing except on rare occasions so make sure to read the rest of this article.

There are two ways to hit the ball low with one of the factors being as simple as your ball position.  Let’s say you move the ball back 2” in your stance.  Realize that this is barely more than the diameter of a golf ball, but watch what happens to the impact in this diagram.

In this case the club comes into impact in a de-lofted state resulting in what should be a lower trajectory.  You might also experience that the ball may be pushed as the swing arc hasn’t been completed and the face is pointing to the right of your target.  But pay attention to the impact marks on the face as they should be higher and that should give you a clue that you have positioned the ball further back in the stance than what is needed.

Other other way to hit the ball lower may surprise you and that is if the ball is too far forward in the stance.  Again, the following diagram shows only a 2” shift from the first diagram shaft which was the level swing.

By moving the ball forward in the stance, the club has passed the lowest point in the swing arc and is now traveling on the upswing. One may think they are adding loft by doing this, but look closely at the impact on the face.  It will be lower, mostly likely lower than the center of gravity of the head, resulting into a low ball flight. If you move the ball too forward and you may risk topping or even missing the ball completely.

Many golfers will insist immediately the low ball flight is caused by the arrow, But take a second to rule this it out. Regardless of what shaft you use (for instance a lower bend point shaft to get the ball airborne), it is not going to solve the problem.  The forward ball position resulting into a low impact on the face will create your low ball flight.

Next time on the range, experiment with ball position if you are struggling to get your 3 wood off of the ground.  However, if you find it is not the Indian but the arrow, Hireko has a number of game improvement fairways that can help with your trajectory problem.  Plus it never hurts to take a lesson from your local teaching professional.



  1. Dave Smith says:

    I have trouble getting ball in air with 3 Would standing closer help this or not.

  2. Jeff Summitt says:


    By addressing the ball closer or further from you will change your swing plane and where you are likely to hit on the face, but should have little effect on the trajectory. If you routinely hit out near the toe on the face, that is where standing a little close to the ball can help.

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