Does Choking Down choke on the Club Affect Ball Flight?

Posted by on May 14, 2019  /   Posted in golf tips

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I am always interested to see which small adjustments can be made to the setup to change the ball flight. Many times these small changes can be made without changing the technique to solve problems such as dealing with wind.

One experiment that I wanted to perform is how much control the golf club can change the distance and the course. So I decided to try it out at different clubs in my bag on my launch monitor.

As always, my goal in these types of articles is not to provide definitive proof for all golfers. I cannot possibly explain all the variables in your golf swing. However, I would like to reject your interest in testing yourself. The more information we have, the better decisions we can make on the golf course. More importantly: having faith in those decisions gives you a better chance of implementation.

The test

Based on the success I had with a shorter driver, I was interested in what kind of results I would get if I smothered a little on my irons.

Sometimes you see professional golfers go on TV on their clubs. Some do it more than others, such as Tommy Fleetwood and Brooke Henderson.

Using my launch monitor to evaluate my ball flight, I was looking for the following:

Total distance – do I make the ball shorter?
Track – does the ball fly lower or higher?
Dispersion – Do I have more remote control and / or a tighter spread?
Spinning speed – does my spinning speed change so much that could affect the ball flight in windy conditions?

I have taken a series of photos with my Sand Wedge, 7-iron and 4-iron to get an idea of ​​the changes that I can expect in the bag. I alternated my normal grip and grabbed 1 ½ "down. I will summarize my main findings about each club.

All tests were done indoors using my SkyTrak launch monitor. You can view my full review here, but this is a great product that delivers accurate ball flight metrics for a test like this.

I look at various pieces of information such as ball flight shape, data about my ball flight and dispersal visualizations, which you can see in the images below:

Sand Wedge

Surprisingly, hitting full hits with my sand wedge has not changed my ball flight too much. Here were some of my most important findings:

I only lost 2 meters away (106 meters vs 104).
My spread was almost exactly the same, but smothering it down seemed to center my photos slightly better over the target. I tended to pull my sandwig a little to the left of the target with my normal grip.
My ball flight was slightly lower (only 3 feet) and I turned the ball down a bit more.

In general, I did not find the results drastically different. On the course I can expect to lose a few meters of distance by suffocating with the sand wedge and hitting the ball a little lower. I seemed to have a bit more control over the even distribution of my ball around my target, which is good information.

Seven Iron

With my 7-iron I started to notice more interesting results:

My spread was tighter in both directions. I had better distance control (8 yards between shortest / longest shot versus 13 yards). Looking at my spread from left to right, I also had a tighter spread of about 10 meters.
My average distance was only 2 meters shorter, but as I said there was much less inequality. In general I can go much further without choking, but it was clear that my attacks were more consistent.
Suffocation lowered my ball flight by about six feet, but had almost identical spinning speeds.

Although I took a somewhat limited grip on my distance, I felt that it produced a more consistent, slightly lower ball flight.

Four iron

With the longest iron in my bag, I began to notice even more significant changes:

I have lost a considerable distance, about 12 meters with most shots.
My ball flight was 12 feet lower with less spin.
My spread was slightly tighter in both directions while I choked down.

Grabbing with my 4-iron reduced the amount of height that I could get on the ball, that's why I lost so much distance. Because I launch so low with a lower spin, the ball didn't have the chance to stand up that much.


Just for fun, I tried to get a grip on my driver. My shaft has already been shortened to 44 ", which is about 1 ½" to 2 "shorter than standard. It is one of the biggest changes I have made with my clubs. It has given me more accuracy of the tee without being too lose a lot of distance.

However, when I took hold of my current driver, who made the 42.5 "axle effective, I did not see great results. I lost nearly 20 meters away and even saw a reduced accuracy. I found the club's weight too much changed, that's why I often suggest that if they are interested in shortening their drive shaft, they should work with someone who knows what they are doing.

Anyway, it meant that my current driver setup produced great results and there was no need to make adjustments.

How I Will Use This Information

After performing this test, I had a little more confidence about what to expect if I choked on my irons. It is not something I really did during the rounds, but I have tried it several times since during the course.

What I liked about my findings was that I knew I could take a bit of each club when needed. For example, when I was sitting between the clubs on the track, I felt more confident to choke on the longer club and make a normal swing. In the past, trying to swing slower did not always produce the best results.

Moreover, I thought this was a more cautious strategy in the wind. As you know, I am not a fan of trying to play too many different shots (especially a shot). I play a lot in windless circumstances, and there were a few times that I played against the wind and that choked on the wind.

For example, I bumped into a very strong 2-3 club wind in a par 3. It was 170 yards, but I thought choking on my 4-iron would help keep the ball low and reduce spin. I almost made a gap in one, so the strategy worked (of course I don't expect that kind of results normally).

For me, I think I will use this strategy more in situations where I am between clubs, or if I feel like I need to keep the ball lower in the wind (or under a tree).

What can you learn from this

I want to repeat that not everyone will see the same results as me. If you perform such tests, you can remove question marks in your golf game. If I can get reliable data on how making these small changes affects my ball flight, I will have more confidence in the course.

So if it's possible, it might be worth experimenting to see what kind of changes you'll see in your ball flight by grabbing the club. It could be a worthy alternative to make different swings to reduce the distance or to keep the ball lower in the wind.

If you are interested in reading some other tests that I have done, you can view the following articles:

You do not have as much control over the golf ball as you think

How often do you have to change your wedges?

How does golf ball position affect your ball flight?

How I practice with my SkyTrak launch monitor

Modern versus classic equipment tested: what has changed?

The Driver Dispersion Test

Do you have to lift your iron on a par 3?

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