3 ball flight 'red flags' golfers should know, explained by experts

February 06, 2024

Alex Slitz

When golfers think about the shots they hit, they often talk about direction.

Obviously, that's for good reason. If you're carving slices out to right field, or rifling low hooks left, you're not particularly worried about much else. But paying closer attention to both the shape of your golf shots, and the overall height, can reveal a lot both about your equipment, and potentially your swing.

In short: Don’t just think about where the ball goes. Think about how it got there.

So what are the red flags to look out for in your ball flight? That's what we discussed with our resident equipment experts, Mike Stachura and Michael Johnson, in our most recent episode of the Golf IQ podcast.

You can listen to that episode below, or keep scrolling for a quick...

1. Low but ballooning

A ball flight that starts low and then rises rapidly into the air could suggest too much backspin, Mike and Mike explain.

This is a red flag ball flight you'll often see in slicers, who tend to come over-the-top and chop down steeply on the ball. If this sounds like you, Golf Digest Top 50 Coach Michael Breed suggests a couple tips to help you hit more up on the ball. One of those includes tilting your upper body more away from the target at setup with your driver, which you can see him demonstrating here:

2. High floaters

A high, weak floater—AKA, a ball which starts high and sails higher—is a major distance killer. It suggests your Optimal Launch Conditions are all screwed up. You've either got way too much launch or way too much spin—or maybe both. Either way, you're probably overdue for a clubfitting.

Additionally, though, there may be a technical flaw in your golf swing that is robbing you of the compression you need for crispy iron shots (you can read some solutions to that problem here).

3. Coming in hot

On the other end of the spectrum, if you're struggling to get your ball to stop once it comes back to earth, the issue may be two-fold:

  • Either you're struggling to create enough backspin—which can often pop up around the greens—it may suggest a Spin Loft issue.
  • Or your descent angle is too low. That’s the angle your ball comes back down to earth, and Trackman recommends a descent angle of more than 45 degrees for most approach shots.

In short, you probably need to hit the ball higher, the Mikes explain. The good news is that there is lots of good iron technology designed to help make that happen.

You can listen to the full episode, and more, of the Golf IQ podcast below (and subscribe right here!)