How Attack Angle Affects Compression

Ever notice how the PGA Tour pros take razor thin divots? That's exactly what you want. This video focuses on how your angle of attack affects compression. Learn how to hit the ball with a slightly descending angle of attack and stop chunking the ball or hitting it thin!

  1. Shallow angle of attack improves compression by decreasing spin loft
  2. Looking for razor thin divots with proper angle
  3. With driver we are looking for -1 AOA and -5 AOA with a wedge, gradually steepening will the shorter the club

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Fred
My left thumb always comes into play, always. Even after hundreds of swings.
December 5, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Fred. The thumb will help with stability/support. It takes a lot of time though to turn off the push.
December 6, 2019
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Monty
Can a golf swing be too shallow? My AOA with a 9 iron is -1, 5 iron is +1 and driver is +3. I rarely take a divot even with a pitching wedge. My head pro would like to see me steeper, but I don't know how to get steeper as I pull from the left side. Please advise.
June 21, 2019
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Monty, Yes, the golf swing can be too shallow. We can help you get the club on the correct AOA and plane if you send in your swing for a review. There are many factors that can lead to being too shallow. From posture to excessive rotation etc. Are you due for a swing review by chance?
June 22, 2019
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Robert
no matter how hard I try my divots aim off to the left, not straight from back to front. so what'a think?
June 20, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Robert. Take a look at the Moving the Fulcrum Video. Make sure you're not bailing out with the lead shoulder at impact. Sounds like a little across the strike with some shoulder spin.
June 20, 2019
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Bob
Thanks to everything I've learned about golf from you all, I have decent clubhead speed (for a 60 year old guy): 9 iron, 88, 194, 1.18, 26.2 138y (clubhead speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, carry distance)... with better launch angle higher comes a higher smash factor 87, 106, 1.24, 24.4, 146y. With my 7 iron, 94, 117, 1.24, 21.3, 169y. I noticed on the Trackman tables for Tour Pros, that my better launch angles are still way too high, and costing me on ball speed (smash factor). What should I be spending my time on to lower these launch angles? Left arm only drills? Thank you so much!
April 28, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bob. Exactly. Take a look at the Knuckles Down Drill. And, work on having control of lower flighted shots in the 9 Days to Amazing Ball Series. If you get comfortable controlling the lead wrist position it will be very easy to adjust the variable of lean to get a lower launch. Proper release with a more dynamic lead wrist position will do wonders for the angle.
April 28, 2019
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Martyn
Interested to know about the left thumb, that Chuck mentions several times. Should I be trying to take the left thumb out of the picture in my full swing too? PS i’ve had a motorbike accident and am looking at 3 months before I can get back on the course. Just as my RST practice was paying dividends and I broke 80 for the first time ever . (I was a 22 handicapper when I started RST). Oh well, on the bright side this is one drill I can do in the meantime. Any other simple video drills that I might try?
October 26, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Martyn. Sorry to hear about you motorbike accident. All depends on what you are able to do or perform while out of commission. The lead thumb does help support at the top, but you have to make sure it doesn't push in the downswing. The Frisbee Drill and 5 Minutes to the Perfect Release would be great if you can perform a little weight shift, or lead arm only swinging.
October 26, 2017
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Hector
Pretty easy to say !!! I know all the theory but when I put my right hand in the club again I'm dead !!!! What's the feeling with my left hand in my downswing ?? Should I feel everything in my left hand ? Help
October 26, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Hector. Hard to teach feelings. However, yes you should feel the your lead arm is doing everything. Take a look at the 2 Finger Release Drill.
October 26, 2017
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Sid
Hey Chuck, so what changes in your real swing vs your practice left arm only drill that allows you to take the nice shallow divots we saw at the start of the video?
October 26, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Sid. In the beginning, Chuck is describing more of a grandfather clock motion. He isn't really shifting weight, but merely allowing the lead arm to swing from the fulcrum point. This allows him to graze the grass very lightly in the same spot every time. However, in a real swing you will be shifting, have more wrist angle to release and impact will be very dynamic giving slightly more of a divot.
October 26, 2017
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Ken
Truth! It looks like Tiger has been taking pointers from you, too. Nice square shoulders at impact. I still see a little bit of spine pinch going on though.
October 25, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Ken. Tiger has some components for sure. But, not all the way back to full RST yet. Hopefully, he will add more RST to prevent further or future injury.
October 26, 2017
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William
Great video Chuck. When hitting off mats we obviously can't take any divot. Does hitting balls off mats do us more harm than not hitting balls at all? If it is still OK, what adjustments do we make to make sure we are not developing bad habits by never taking a divot? Thx very much.
October 25, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello William. Hitting off of mats may be tricky because you don't get the feedback of divot. The key would be too make sure you are grazing the mat a little bit and not solely picking the ball. If you can't tell, you could always put a piece of grass or light item just in front of the ball to make sure you are grazing the ground.
October 25, 2017
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blaine
Hi New member and have started the 5 step program. I realized early on that I was shifting my weight sufficiently and have been doing the reps religiously. However when I am on the course and make these moves I believe my head is moving a lot and I am getting in front of the ball and hitting weak fades. Any suggestions. Bmcdonald
October 15, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Blaine, Thanks for the question thank you to Tracy as well for responding. When you are on the golf course, it is difficult to actually know exactly what you are doing with your swing unless you are video taping every single swing. So, with that said, it would be best for you to get a couple of sample swings from the golf course and then submit them for review. One us instructors will be able to take a close look at what is going on and lay out what videos you should be focused on and a detailed practice plan, as well as some videos to focus on to help you with your changes. This is a great feature of RST and I strongly encourage you to use it as part of your membership.
October 16, 2017
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Tracy
Blaine, there is a lot of dynamics in the swing itself and as Chuck says the weight shift is 'the most important aspect'. -- Most people overdo the shift upon making this adjustment. Believe it or not, if you just concentrate on 'sitting into your left side' as Chuck will show you in his video, the weight transfer naturally happens. that means feeling your body gently shift to your left heel or left rear pants pocket. Two things will happen; you will not shift too much, and you will put your whole left side into neutral Joint alignment, which is fundimentally what the golf swing is suppose to be. Use an 8 iron and hit 40 balls consecutively feeling your body 'sit into your left heel or pocket. The weight shift be a natural consequence of that effort. -- It will also stop you from 'standing up and helping the ball aloft which only results in the weaker fade to the right. Send in a video and an RST instructor will fix you FAST. This is the best swing method in the world!!!
October 16, 2017
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GC
I realize that if the hips don't turn much, the hands just stop at the middle and there is no forward shaft lean at all?
July 11, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello GC. If the hips quit too soon. The tendency would be for the hands to fire early causing you lack of proper lean and impact position.
July 11, 2017
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GC
Does hip clearing assist in the club leaning forward?
July 11, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello GC. Proper hip motion does allow for proper release. It doesn't solely create forward lean, but is an integral part of the process.
July 11, 2017
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Jim
"Long arms chicken-wing video" is mentioned but putting that in the search box brings nothing. Is it named something else?
March 7, 2016
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Steven (Certified RST Instructor)
It's called "Cure Chicken Wing". Search that and it will come up.
March 7, 2016
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Mads
Hi. My angle of attacks is way to steep. I tracked some stats today with my 8-iron: clubhead speed 78-80 mph, attacks angle 9-12 degrees down, swingpath 5-7 in-out, shaftlean at impact 6-7 degrees, shaftlean at address 3-4 degrees. My ballflight is rather high (except for my driver, which is too low), but my divots are not that deep/fat. From the RTS Perfomance Center, my LAG i 95, downswing 90, impact 85, realease 95 (All scoress above 85, except weightshift, which is 80). Think I have an ok axis tilt at impact. Any ideas what might cause this steep angle of attack (should be around 3-4 degrees for an 8-ron, right?)
November 9, 2015
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Aaron (Certified RST Instructor)
Two thoughts for you Mads. 1) Lay off a little bit of lag. You have great lag, but with that comes a bit of a steeper angle of attack. 2) Try to concentrate on getting into the left leg vs really Squatting into the left leg. I find that if I tiger squat too much I start taking HUGE divots if I don't get out of the squat. Try to simply get into the left leg with out squatting as much into the Downswing.
November 10, 2015
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Mads
Hi Aaron. The funny thing is that I dont take huge/deep divots. Wondering if I get too narrow in the downswing, making the swing steeper. But I understand releasing the club a bit earlier will decrease the lag and shallow it out a bit. Thanks for your reply.
November 11, 2015
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Marcus
Hey guys, So my question is how do you change AOA without changing shaft lean. When I measure my swing with an eight iron I get 6-7 degrees of shaft lean but my AOA is 9-10 degrees down. When I try to shallow out my AOA I can it it down to 3-4 degrees but I have zero or one degree of shaft lean. What gives??
August 7, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Marcus, great question here. How are you changing you AOA? What is your key to shallow? Are you trying to create more tilt or rotation and thus leading you to release the club harder from the inside? This can cause you to lose some of the lean. I need to know more about what you are doing to change your AOA so I can further help you on why you are losing lean.
August 8, 2015
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Marcus
The only way I've been able to change AOA is to try to feel like the club head is passing my hands before impact.
August 8, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Well that is the reason why you are seeing last shaft lean. You are probably throwing/releasing the club a bit early to help shallow it out. How much are your hips cleared out at impact, how much secondary axis tilt do you have at impact (meaning where is the spine pointed at impact) and what does your impact position look like in regards to the impact alignments face on video?
August 8, 2015
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Marcus
I been told I get a lot of secondary axis tilt and my hips are probably ten to fifteen degrees open at impact
August 8, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Sounds like we need to get you seated to the lead side sooner and then working to clear the hips more before impact. Are you due for a swing review by chance?
August 8, 2015
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Marcus
Yes. I just sent one in on Friday.
August 8, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Ok, well our instructors will take a close look at it and hopefully you put this stuff in your notes. Let me know when you get your swing review back if you need more info. We are here to help always.
August 8, 2015
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Marcus
Thanks Chris!! I really appreciate you responding to my questions, especially on a Saturday.
August 8, 2015
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Freddy
As you know, things are extremely dry here in the west. Divots are impossible at times.... It's more like brushing the club sole through (or on top of ) dried duff, very tight surfaces or hard pan. Our new normal is (often) just trying to pick the ball off of a variety of these surfaces. Can you address options on how to play it when it's so dry that divots are not really possible ?
June 22, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Freddy. You will want to focus on less trail arm usage. The trail arm steepens the shaft. Therefore, making it more plausible to take a divot. Less trail arm/hand and focus on lead arm pull/release. Should help you shallow the path more to a pick type shot.
June 23, 2015
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Freddy
Thanks Craig. Any possibility of a video being made that demonstrates this ? My last time out, maybe 20% of my shots were in this category.
June 23, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Freddy. I don't think there is video in the queue that describes the exact motion for a "pick" type shot. Your goal will be the look and feel of the Proper Muscle Activation Video in the Introduction Advanced Section.
June 24, 2015
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Arnie
This video did a great job of explaining how attack angle affects compression. But it was light on how to drill it. When I put the ball in the middle of my stance, I get great compression. When I place the ball in the RST position, farther up, I lose compression with the same swing: my ball flight is higher, shorter, and doesn't have that classic sound of a compressed ball strike. I'm guessing I'm releasing early, so when the ball is in the RST position, at ball contact I've opened up the angle Craig describes in this video. What would be a good video for ensuring proper timing of release to maintain compression?
November 26, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Arnel -- It sounds as though you are getting a lot of secondary axis tilt down in the hitting area. This is where the spine leans away from the target too much and can cause you to hang back on the trail side and shift the bottom of the swing arc further back. I would suggest that you get your swing in for review and then maybe have a look at the level shoulders video in the advanced downswing section. Then check impact alignments face on as Craig mentioned and see if that get you on track to properly compressed golf shots.
November 27, 2014
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Kevin
Great video! I know I should get a video of my swing into you, but that is not possible right now. I take divots that are way too deep, and i know it is not from an early release, and I'm not coming over the top either. The deep divots are in front of the ball. Can you give me an idea or two on what it might be? I know we're working blind here( without video). Could it be too much spine tilt? Or possibly sitting too much - body compression? Thanks!!!!
July 24, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
You might be pushing yourself too far outside of NJA and getting too much sit. Use the Face On Impact Alignments Video in the Downswing Section. Make sure the lead knee isn't way past the ankle joint. Also, use the Tiger Squat Video and Straighten Left Leg Video in the Downswing Advanced Section to make sure you are getting out of the way versus still going down.
July 24, 2014
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Ste
Great video. It defines some of the important terms used to describe a good efficient swing, but it doesn't tell how to do it? How do you make a shallow swing, secondary axis tilt? How do you deloft a club face so that the two "sticks" show a narrower angle?
April 24, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Rotation, secondary axis tilt, weight shift etc can all shallow the plane. Making a swing with a shallow angle of attack can be achieved by following the RST program from beginning to the end. Make sure you submit your swing for a review along the way and we can assist you in building just that.
April 25, 2014

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