Eliminate Pop-Up Drives By Flattening Out, Slowing Down Your Swing

PaulRudeen2THE MISS

You cannot seem to stop popping up your drives. You even put an idiot mark on the top of the club. In the old days of wooden-headed drivers you could have had the club refinished and back in your bag in a week.  With the metal and titanium materials used today, that baby is there to stay. You might be able to send it back to the factory, but it will cost you and take as long as Christmas. These pop ups have gotten serious. It seems as if the more you try to hit down, the higher the ball goes. It’s even money that your ball flight will more closely resemble a Prince Fielder fungo blast than anything else. What’s going on?


Golf is sometimes a game of opposites. Cut across the ball left, the ball will go right. Hit down, the ball will go up. Hit up, the ball will go down. Swing hard, you lose distance. Swing smoothly, the ball takes off. All of these principles are in play right now. Let’s take them on one by one.

First, there is no doubt your club is lifting on the takeaway and not swinging around your body. Because your swing path is so vertical, the club is descending on much too steep of an angle and cutting across the ball in an outside to in path. This downward blow imparts an incredible amount of backspin. Instead of the ball coming off the face squarely, it rides up the face with distance depleting spin. This hyper spin is propelling the ball up instead of out.  To help combat this, imagine that you are swinging in a low-ceiling room. Secondly, as with all cases of power outage, you are no doubt swinging out of your shoes trying to recoup some power. This only exacerbates the situation because the harder you swing the more spin you apply. With this increased spin rate the ball will climb all the more. A smoother, more balanced swing on a more round or flattened arc will have you contacting the ball full on and not hitting it with a steep, downward, glancing blow.


To help you round out your swing path and make it less vertical on approach, get some 3 1/4 inch golf tees.  Tee some balls as high as you can and hit shots with your seven iron. At the start, because you have been so steep on the down swing, your club will probably miss the ball altogether and knock the tee out of the ground. Keep swinging. Feel your club path get more rounded and soon you will be picking the ball off the tall tee with no problem. Then, tee up some balls for your driver and repeat the exercise. Focus on swinging the club around your body, not up to the sky. In the backyard, swing our old friend the broomstick. It is so long that if you get the least bit steep you will smack it into the ground. Don’t forget to unscrew the broom first.

Register for world class online golf instruction with PGA Master Professional Paul Rudeen featuring sportscaster Heidi Watney at PaulRudeen.com

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