Arc height is an important skill to develop in the full swing and wedge game. The reason is you can have good or poor technique but if you can control the Arc Height variable you can have a functional result. This skill combined with the low point is also valuable in the full swing.
First let’s address what arc height is. Arc Height is where the swing changes from going down on the circle to up. That point is shown below at the black line. I want to thank Adam Young Golf for the great graphics I got off his YouTube Channel. Also Click Here to go to his site and find out more info on The Strike Plan and NGL programs he offers.
In the above image the correct height will collect the ball, brush the dirt in front, and start to change direction after the ball. If that arc is lower like the lower arc above you will see that the impact where the star is moves back and the arc goes more into the ground. Below is an iron strike off the grass. The club first touches the blades of the grass at the furthest left arrow, continues down to the middle arrow, then comes above the blades of grass at the last arrow on the right. In this scenario if the circle stayed consistent and the arc was moved 2″ lower the contact would enter further back and be traveling too far under the ball resulting in a heavy shot.
Here is a visual of a club traveling too low. Put the ball on a tee to see what would happen if there was no ground under the ball. Imagine the ball is sitting on the ground and the ground is the black alignment rod. In this scenario the club has came into first contact where the red arrow is then continues down to the bottom of the tee. If there was actual ground here the club would crash into it and stop or bounce out.
Below is an image of an arc height that is too high. You can see that the leading edge of the club collided with the middle of the ball. The causes the ball to go straight forward instead of letting the loft project the ball into the air. Higher up than the equator then it will project the ball down into the ground.
Here is a good arc height and low point control added together.you can see the club clipped the tee and was at the lowest point where the red arrow is at. The club collided into the ball and was a center strike which projected the ball upwards.
Now let’s look at a wedge. If you can control how deep under the ball the club travels your low point can be at or around the ball as long as the club is not traveling down too steep and for too long. A good drill for arc height control is to place the ball on a tee and have the tee 2-5mm above the turf. The goal is to clip the tee and avoid the turf. When you can do that move the ball onto the turf and have the same depth under the ball.
Here are 3 scenarios showing how depth control works in the short game area and having a wide margin of error is beneficial. You can land the club a few inches behind the ball, at the ball, or slightly infront and have functional shots for all. The launch, contact, and spin will all be different but results acceptable.
Scenario 1 Low point at the ball and good height control. With this if you have the leading edge below the arc (too much shaft lean) the sharp edge will catch the ground and dig. Also if you have too much bounce the back of the club can hit the ground and cause the leading edge to be turned into the ground and catch the leading edge. Bounce effects how the club interacts with the turf so get fit!!
Scenario 2 Low point behind the ball and good height control. Club will slide across the ground and project the ball up.
Scenario 3 Low point is in front of the ball and good height control.
Can see the leading edge will travel below the equator in each scenario and project the ball upwards.
Arc Height Drill
Good Strike Clip
Arc Height too high, Thin Shot Clip
Arc Height too low, Fat Shot Clip
Thin/Fat are sometimes the same thing – Video
Good Low Point, matching bounce, proper shaft lean – Chipping off a tight lie video