As a golfing beginner, you are probably learning all the new terms to get yourself familiar with the game. Golf is usually a very boring game because it requires the 3P’s ― patience, precision and practice. To an outsider, all hits look the same and that is somewhat true. However, if you learn about the different shots, you can make this game quite fun. This also happens to make golfing pretty challenging.
This is where a choke down comes in. Golfing beginners practice this move unconsciously and since they don’t know what it is, it backfires on them. To clear it up for you, choking down on your golf club can be good and bad.
Well, don’t be! This short guide will clear things up for you and teach you what choking down on the golf club means and what it does for your swing.
What is Choking Down in Golf?
Choking down on a golf club means moving your hand farther down the grip, which allows you to make varying distance shots with different clubs. There are a number of reasons golfers choke down. Yes, we did mention that choking down is usually a bad habit but if done in the right situation, it can lead you to victory.
Choking down increases the control of the golfer on the club and allows them to measure the swing. It also takes a few feet off the distance. For example, if you are at a yardage, which is too short for your 7-iron and too long for your 8-iron then you can choke down on the latter club.
When it comes to a driver, choking down on this club increases your control and improves the accuracy of the swing. In cases where the ball is slightly above your feet, you need to choke down to make the swing hit the fairway.
Origin of the Term “Choke Down”
In a sports context, the term “choke down” originated in baseball. Unlike how it is used interchangeably in golf, in baseball, choke down and choke up have different meanings.
To choke down means moving your grip farther down on the baseball bat. The farther down you go, the less control you have on your hit. However, your swing will have more power and the ball will go fast. On the other hand, choking up means gripping the baseball bat from the top end. The higher you go, the more control you will have. However, your swing will have less power and the ball will go slow.
So, how did the term “choking down” make its way into golfing lingo? Probably because golfers grip the club head in such a way that only a small part of the grip shows. So, the only way to go is down.
Now that you know what this term means and how it came about to be, let’s take a look at what choking down on the golf club does:
How Choking Down Affects Your Swing
In short, when you want to reduce a shot’s distance, you should choke down on the club. Here’s another example:
Your next hit needs to be precise and short to get closer to your goal. You are using your 7-iron, which usually gives a shot of 150 yards. However, you want to shave off some of the distance. So, you move your hands a little bit lower on the grip, which will now give you 144 yards. This is better than using your 8-iron and hitting as hard as you can.
Helps Reduce Backspin
By choking down on your club, you not only shorten your swing’s distance but also reduce the backspin on the ball. By keeping your hands slightly up, you hit a full swing, which produces quite the backspin. Now, if you are planning to hit with a short iron and from a tight fairway line then choke down in your club an inch.
If the space is tighter then go down a few more inches and you will lower the spin rate more. While the speed on the ball will be low, with the lower spin rate, your ball will fly through the air.
Gives You More Control
When you choke down on the club by half-inch or an inch, your shot into the green has precision. You can also start with the tee shot by choking down to gain more time to develop a strategy.
Allows You to Control the Distance
As mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of choking down is to reduce the distance. It’s the same as using a 9-iron which is shorter than your 6-iron. They affect the distance but if you choke down on bigger iron, you will achieve the same results.
One of the best things about choking down is that if you are good at measuring distance and know the exact feet between you and your goal, you can hit the ball with less backspin and more acceleration. In the case where distance is not an issue, you can still use choking for precision and control. For a long fairway where you want to keep the ball in a particular spot, you can choke down. The distance lost won’t be a big issue because your shot will be precise and land exactly where you want it to.
Helps You Hit Into the Wind
During windy weather, to make sure that you hit right, keep the ball flight lower. By lowering the flight, your ball will fly with precision and without any backspin. Usually, a ball in flight wavers and you are praying that it lands right.
Again, keep in mind that though your ball will be out of the wind’s direction, you will lose distance. The good news is that your ball will land exactly where you want it to.
Helps You Get Out of Tight Spaces
Let’s say that your ball is stuck behind a rock or tree. You are in a rough spot and don’t know how to position your clubface. In order to move your ball out of this difficult space, make sure that your clubface stays square. If the grass is higher, this might be a little more challenging. However, by choking up on an 8-iron you will gain more control and get out swiftly with a punch.
Our Final Thoughts
So, now you know what choking down on the golf club does. The 3Ps will help you in rough situations and allow you to make perfect hits on the fairway. As a beginner, learning this trick will allow you to the enter the big leagues and impress other golfers with your swings.