The old swing tip, “down means up,” suggests that you should try to hit down on the ball for more height. That might work if you have speed, but for most golfers, down means down. In other words, line drives that don’t hold the green. To boost trajectory, you need a higher launch and more backspin.
How do you get a higher launch? You hit more into the ball and less down on it, and that comes from swinging on a wider arc. The resulting strike is more level, so you make contact lower on the ball—below its equator—and launch it higher. Swinging wide also increases speed, which is the key producer of backspin. How? A wide swing going back promotes an inside path down to the ball, and swinging from the inside typically means more speed.
OK, enough geometry—let’s get a club in your hands. For middle irons, play the ball just forward of center in your stance (slightly back of that for short irons; slightly forward for long ones). Set your weight 50-50, and push your hands a touch toward the target. That setup promotes the ideal amount of down at impact. Now for the swing.
To create a wide arc, feel like your trail arm is moving away from the ball, not up, in the takeaway (above). Remember, width in the backswing sets up the inside path for a slightly downward strike and a high launch. Add the speed you can get by swinging from the inside, and you’re increasing backspin, too. It’s high launch, high spin—and towering iron shots.