What Does Apex Mean in Golf?
If you remember your school days, you might recall that the apex is the top of a triangle.
In golf, the apex is the highest point the ball reaches from its launch point and before it starts to descend to where it lands. It's more of an arch than a triangle, but you get the idea!
The real question, though: why care about the apex if you're trying to get the ball in the hole on the ground?
The apex is vital because it determines in what direction and how far the ball travels. Understanding ball height can help you improve your technique and your game.
What Are the Key Factors That Impact Apex in Golf?
Apex should vary depending on the particular shot and prevailing conditions.
Experienced golfers know this and can adjust ball height to different circumstances.
Multiple factors influence the trajectory and apex of the ball; understanding these is crucial to learning how to adjust the apex for a better game.
Increasing the swing speed – essentially, how fast you hit the ball - will elevate the ball much higher into the air simply because the shot has more power.
This sounds good in theory. However, the shot will lose distance if the apex is too high.
Players with a high swing/ball speed struggle to keep the ball low when needed. For instance, if it's windy, you might want to keep the ball lower for a more consistent shot.
Swing and ball speed is generally a good thing, but only if it's controllable.
The launch angle is the ball's initial ascent immediately after being hit. The angle of the shot affects the apex.
Launch angle is impacted by the choice of club, club loft, and swing style, although the loft is the most influential.
Clubs with a lower loft produce a lower launch angle than clubs with a higher loft, which are designed to have a higher launch and not travel so great a distance.
A launch monitor is an electronic device that tracks the strike and flight of the ball and provides useful data like distance and launch angle. Most launch monitors work outdoors and indoors, so you can practice with a net.
The other option is to use a golf simulator.
Spin rates impact the height a golf ball reaches when it’s airborne. Typically, a higher spin rate will elevate the ball more than a shot with a lower spin rate.
Golfers use a high spin rate to land the ball on the green, but less experienced players are better off sticking to a lower spin rate to avoid inconsistency.
However, ball control is king.
Flat or Upright Golf Swing
An upright swing is excellent for increasing the apex of a shot. The ball travels higher because the swing propels it on an increased plane. However, sometimes straightness can be an issue, affecting the ball's larger trajectory.
In contrast, a shallow swing will have a lower apex and can have too much roll, meaning you can overshoot the green, so it's not very accurate.
Hitting the ball precisely on the plane will likely create the perfect apex range.
Club type obviously affects ball height, but the individual club's loft is also relevant, as well as what it's made from. The loft is the angle between the clubface and the ground and is crucial to the club's construction.
Like a pitching wedge, a club with a higher loft produces a higher apex than a lower-lofted club.
Golf club manufacturers spend eye-watering amounts of money deploying modern technology to provide players with the perfect apex that creates the best distance without losing control. But clubs vary, so the club manufacturer is relevant, too.
Ground and Weather Conditions
Soft, wet turf will result in a lower apex, like a ball propelled from deep rough. How to keep playing like a pro? Short, dry grass is the ideal launch pad for all golf levels.
Windy conditions impact the apex positively and negatively depending on the prevailing wind direction and speed. Driving into the wind lowers the speed and the height, and a tailwind increases it.
What about ambient temperature? According to USGA, the United States Golf Association, distance is reduced by two yards per ten-degree drop in temperature. Cold air is denser, creating a drag on the ball.
Golf balls also suffer in colder temperatures, affecting ball speed, launch angle, and apex. We recommend keeping them in your pocket or somewhere safe from the elements!
The core expands when a golf ball is warm, increasing distance and speed. The opposite happens when it's cold as the temperature of the center of the ball goes down.
Does the Golf Ball You Choose Affect Apex?
Every golf ball is different and will affect your swing slightly differently and impact the apex.
Low-compression golf balls assist players with a slow swing, and softer golf balls spin more, encouraging a higher apex.
If you're looking to increase apex, changing golf balls might help, but generally, improving or adjusting swing technique or changing the club make more difference to the height of the ball.
Millions of golf balls out there aim to influence all aspects of your game, not just the apex. Take pro advice and tailor a golf ball to your swing style and level of play.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Increase Apex in Golf?
You can increase apex by using a higher-lofted club and work on generating better swing speeds. Strike the ball with a downward blow to create some backspin. However, the best players can vary the apex to suit the shot and conditions, so that is the skill to focus on perfecting to ace your game.
Apex matters in golf. It creates distance and better stopping ability, which means accuracy. The most important fact for many players is that the longer the ball is in the air, the further it will go.
The apex should vary in line with the demands of the shot and other factors like the turf and weather conditions; maximum height is not always desirable.
Understanding apex helps players ace their game and become more accurate and competitive. A launch monitor can help you learn your apex and how it varies with the different clubs you play. As always, practice makes perfect.