Angle of Attack

Taking deep divots? Are you supposed to? What do the pros do? This video tells you how steep you should be - or shouldn't be!

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Jeffrey
So for circumstances where you would actually want to increase your angle of attack (I'm thinking bad lie in deep rough). What is the best way to do that?
March 19, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jeffrey. Stiffer wrists and stand a bit closer to the ball to create a steeper plane and AOA.
March 20, 2020
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tim
I try to keep shoulders square. When I do hit ball straight, I hit the ball near the hozzel even shanking a few. When I hit pull draw it’s always in center of face. I will check out videos.
June 27, 2018
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Bradley (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey, Tim. Try to make sure that your weight is more toward the back of your ankles/heels. And that your upper body is not falling into the ball during your downswing.
June 27, 2018
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tim
Just left range working on swing. I am still struggling with a pull draw for weeks. My AOA looks good, ball flight is good. I’m hitting ball in center of face but cannot over come this pull draw. Any advice? Thanks Tim
June 27, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tim. Have you checked your shoulders and that you aren't forcing the release? Try the simple step and release drill with square shoulders in the Play the Best Golf of Your Life in 6 Weeks Section Video 3 of 6.
June 27, 2018
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Craig
Hello I actually found it very useful watching Chuck complete a full swing in real time for a change as it helps make sense of all the videos that talk about individual elements. Are there any other vids that show him doing this with a driver or other clubs?
June 27, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Craig. There are plenty of full swings on the Swing Analyzer in the Self Analysis Section.
June 27, 2018
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Martyn
I was interested to hear Chuck say that he'd pushed with his left thumb a bit when he demonstrated taking the right hand off the club drill. I feel that even when I am pulling from the left, I push the club out and away (losing lag) with my left thumb. Do you have any suggestions as to how to prevent this? Is it a matter of grip perhaps? Should my left thumb be more connected to my hand and pointing down the left side of the grip, rather than straight down the center? (for a right handed golfer of course)
June 25, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Martyn. Take a look a the Golf Grip Checkpoint Tips Video for perfect placement of the lead thumb. The pushing of the thumb just takes training. You want to keep the wrists soft to allow lag to increase. The best way is to actually take it off and then gradually add it back. Take a look at the Frisbee Drill. Also, look at Are Your Grips Properly Fit.
June 25, 2018
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Charles
I've re-read all the comments, and, none about the poor audio quality of the video. I'm guessing about some of the words I missed. Can it be cleaned up?
December 22, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Charles. I will have to ask Chuck. Sorry about the audio error.
December 23, 2017
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Brandon
Do heavier iron shafts make the angle of attack steeper?
July 30, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. A few grams here or there won't make that much of a difference.
August 2, 2016
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Loran
If my divots are thin and small, straight as opposed to aiming left, the marks should reveal that I am not casting the club or at least going too steep? Also, the divots must happen after the ball impact, correct?
July 29, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. The divot needs to be after the ball strike. However, having a thin divot doesn't necessarily mean all is okay. You could be lifting your arms or tilting the body to counter act the possibility of a fat shot.
July 29, 2016
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Brandon
Without a launch monitor, what's the best way to ensure we're at ~4* angle of attack with 8 irons?
July 14, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. Don't quote me on this . There are some cheaper alternatives to the FlightScope, Trackman, and Foresight Launch Monitors. I believe the Swingbyte 2, Epson M-Tracer and SkyGolf Pro will report A of A. But, do the research first just in case I am in error. It would be hard without one of those devices to accurately know for sure.
July 15, 2016
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Brandon
SkyGolf Pro is giving me an angle of attack of -9* with an 8 iron. Is there any other way to confer this data without a Trackman/FlightScope?
October 7, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. No other way to confer. I apologize. I use the Foresight GC2 if there is one in your area.
October 7, 2016
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Andrew
I remember Ben Hogan once said something like he wished he had 3 right hands to hit the ball hard. I also think Tiger Woods might have said something like he hit hard with his right hand, although he might mean "at the late stage of the hit". I think I agree with you, Chuck, in what you said, but do you have a view or comment on the above two statements?
July 3, 2016
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Chuck (Certified RST Instructor)
As you have seen in the throw the ball drill video, once the left hand control is mastered you can begin adding the right hand for speed. But this needs to be done judiciously and even as great of a ball striker as Hogan was, he spent decades struggling with hooks and worked hard by digging compensations out of the dirt to fix his hook. Pushing hard from the right side is a good way to hold the club face open through the hitting area but most golfers don't need any help hitting a bigger slice!
July 4, 2016
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Jeff
I have searched for a video on thin golf shots wit no results, is there a video on the ste the could explain why I hit irons thin?
June 29, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jeff. There isn't a perfect video per se for the thin shot. There could be many contributing factors. However, make sure your release is stable and constant. Take a look at the Curing Elbow Pain Video.
June 30, 2016
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Patrick
I notice the pad underneath Chuck in the latest couple videos. What is that?
June 29, 2016
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Richard
http://www.boditrak.com/ http://boditraksports.com/ Hopefully after the accumulation of a large amount of data from many separate sources, the analysis of this data will show patterns that can help golfers. i.e. if your weight stransfer pattern looks like this you will heit good wedge shots and it needs to like like this for Draw with your Driver etc etc. Most available golf swing data acquisition instruments all suffer from the same shortcoming: A lack of calibration to any traceable standard by independent calibration labs. Dr. Frederic Tuxen of Trackman fame is calling for calibration to traceable standards but that has not been the traditional nature of the golf industry. This does not render them completely useless but it does mean the numbers I might see will differ from those you might see when trying to measure the same thing with the same player.
July 5, 2016
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Patrick
Richard, great insight. I am completely bought in to the Rotary concept and am always thinking about feedback aids to get me to the best swing technique(s)...whether purchased or home built. I had not considered what you bring up...understanding how the weight is shifted for particular shots. I just assume that the weight shift is a constant (during full swings), regardless of draw, cut, etc...
July 5, 2016
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Richard
Patrick I would not be surprised to "learn" that accurate wedge players tend to have a very "Linear weight shift" i.e. center of right instep to center of left instep. I believe we will also learn that the "line of weight shift" influences the club path. The data collected needs to be put into the public domain, but it is unlikely this will happen, to easy to attempt to use the collected data to generate "secret sauce" recipes to be sold for $$$. When all the data comes only from a single source it looses credibility. Many others need to produce independently collected data before any analysis could be considered credible i.e more like real science.
July 5, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
That's body track and it tracks weight shift through % like a force plate. It's an awesome tool for sure.
June 29, 2016
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Patrick
Christopher, would you mind commenting on Richard's thoughts above? Or, simply expand on how exactly the data provided by the body track device is used for RST?
July 5, 2016
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Richard
Patrick: When there is data gathered from "optimally performing RST disciples" then this can co-related to results. i.e. what do RST weight shift patterns look like? A marketing guru has decided that $2500 for a Bodi Track mat is affordable for the masses. Just remember it is a completely different instrument than a Trackman which tracks actual ball flight when used outside i.e the results There is no indication of: How long the mat lasts? i.e. its useful life cycle for $2500. Are they repairable? How does its performance as a pressure measuring transducer deteriorate over time? If you were renting time i.e use of a mat, calibration to a known standard becomes important unless you can use the same mat all the time. The accumulation of data from a very large sample e.g. 500+ elite golfers will be beneficial. Once can become ones own weight shift research guru for $2500 and a computer.
July 5, 2016
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Frank
Having the opposite problem, hitting shots very thin while concentrating on using mostly the left side ( as per the 5 steps videos, very very informative by the way)
June 29, 2016
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anthony
woops misread "concentrating on using mostly the left side " The same info still applies though. The "throw the ball drill" helps to learn how NOT to use the left side. Might help.
July 8, 2016
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anthony
Another thing that happens easily when doing left hand only drills, is that you'll tend to pull up and out of the shot with your left shoulder. This tends to happen when you don't make a stable weight shift and set into the left side "making your left shoulder feel anchored". When you don't make a proper weight shift one handed, your body may compensate by "Arching"...left hip goes out and left shoulder goes up, which is a death move.
July 8, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Frank, make sure your lead side is stacked up at impact and your lead wrist is flat (not cupped) to help cure the thin shots.
June 29, 2016
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David
Hi Craig, Little bit confused with this one only in the sense that it does not seem to stack up against the Key to Creating Lag Video. In the latter there is the focus on the use of the right side or specifically bringing the club straight down with the right arm and preserving the angles to create the optimum amount of lag. In this one Chuck seems to go against the use of the right side (as it causes an increased attack angle) in favour of the left side. Any help appreciated as always.
June 29, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello David. The Key to Creating lag teaches how to maintain angle for a player that excessively throws the club. It helps players that can't seem to get the trail arm under control. Ideally, the lead side pull will create all the lag you need. But, sometimes the throw is so ingrained you need a little help retraining the trail arm.
June 29, 2016
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David
Hi Craig, Thank you both for your replies. One really interesting thing from this video was Chuck's reference basically to not be so obsessed with forward shaft lean at impact as this can be counter productive by way of inhibiting or delaying the release plus some other disadvantages. Presumably this would result in less club head speed at impact and nullify any benefit's of de-lofting on distance. Interesting for me as I have been thinking of shaft lean (or a lot of it) as the holy grail but not so apparently.
June 30, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi David, Some videos are used to help develop certain moves into the golf swing. The creating lag video is geared to those people that tend to throw the club hard from the top and never have any sort of lag. This video works on helping shallow out the angle of attack.
June 29, 2016
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Mario
After watching this video and reading the notes it occurred to me that I always wear out my glove thumb pad (I'm a right handed golfer) before the glove even gets dirty. I also wear out the grip precisely where my left thumb touches the grip. Is this a clear sign that I push too hard with my left thumb? I'm getting comfortable pulling with my left side and my ball striking has really improved. Sounds like the next step is to lighten up on my left thumb. Would you agree?
June 28, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mario. Left Thumb wear is typically from pushing too hard with the left thumb (Left Thumbnail Pain Video). You are exactly correct about your ailment. Take a look at the Frisbee Drill and try a few with it off. You should definitely notice a difference. Slowly add the left thumb back with less pressure and push.
June 28, 2016

The angle of attack in the golf swing is one of the most critical pieces to understand if you want to become a ball flight master. Which - if you're on this website - is exactly what you should be striving for. Mastering ball flight is what the golf swing is all about. Hitting pure golf shots that fly exactly the way you want them to. Whether it's straight and true or the little butter fade to a tucked pin, RST is all about OWNING your swing.

As you continue down the path to RST golf swing enlightenment ;-) you'll want to start paying close attention to your angle of attack, or AoA. Most amateurs are WAY too steep on their iron shots due to - you guessed it - too much right side dominance. Once you take the right side off the club completely, it becomes very difficult to approach the ball on too steep of an AoA unless you push with the left thumb. Take the left thumb off and all of a sudden you start taking crisp dollar bill divots.

The average AoA for a tour pro is around 4 degrees down. That's a very shallow angle of attack and about 1/3 as steep as the typical amateur we've measured using our launch monitor. This shallow approach to the ball allows the pro to hit the ball slightly lower on the face to create a more penetrating launch angle but still provide ample spin to hold the green. It also helps prevent grass getting between the clubface and the ball which makes it much easier to control distance and spin.

So, if you see yourself digging trenches, now is the time to focus on the core body movements of the RST 5 Step System and work through the left arm movements slowly so you can master your AoA and become a ball flight master!

All right let's talk a little bit about the angle of attack and that is essentially what we're talking about here is that the angle that the club is approaching the ground to hit the ball at the time that it actually strikes the ball. Now many golfers don't really understand the importance or relevance of angle of attack but it really ties into everything. It ties into your swing playing, your path, your body movements, your angle, your force of movements but at the end of the day it's how the ball flies is going to dictate what kind of golfer you are and how you hit the ball. One of the most important pieces of that equation is the angle of attack.

                What happens for most golfers, because everybody tends to be too right side dominant, what the right side does is it has angles in it, right. You've got an angle here, you've got an angle in your wrist, you've got an angle in your shoulder so this allows for a lot of vertical movement in the swing. You can create kind of a chopping motion with the right arm pretty easily versus the left arm which has got an angle in your wrist but your elbow isn't doing anything, it should be staying perfectly straight. The shoulder shouldn't be yanking down, it's falling down as you're pulling it down with your weight shift and your hip rotation. The right arm, it tends to get a little overactive and tends to start doing this kind of motion and that's what creates an over the top move that also changes the angle of attack.

                The angle of attack is going to create a huge difference in how the ball is going to literally fly in the air, because if you start coming down really steep with a lot of right side movement, the tendency is going to be for you to hit the ball really high on the face because it's hard to control exactly where the ball hits the club on the face when it's working down so steeply versus coming in very very shallow. When you tend to hit the ball high on the face you tend to get a lot of flyers, you tend to get grass between the club face and the ball, the ball tends to take a little bit of spin off of it because you're using the vertical gear effect which is going to reduce back spin. On your eight iron you may not necessarily want when you want to stop it close by the pin and not have it run off the back of the green.

                Ideally what you want is a very shallow angle of attack with your irons. On average the tour pros are only about four degrees down with every iron in the bag. Now obviously, you go to a wedge it goes up to about five, you go down to a three iron it goes down to about three. On average a four degree negative angle of attack is pretty ideal. Now what is the average amateur? Well this varies quite a bit but what we see using the flight scope data, it's about 10 or 12 degrees down. A lot of this comes from the idea of, oh I want a lot of forward shaft lean and I want to really use my right side for power so you start getting the club working down really really steep in an effort to de-loft the club but you don't want to de-loft the club that much. There's got to be a balance between the two. There's no point in a taking an eight iron and turning it into a four iron. You're not going to be able to release the club enough ... At this point the club still has another foot that it could release but you're taking all that speed out because you're not allowing the golf club to release.

                You want the club to get closer to vertical, have some shaft lean, just enough to de-loft the golf club but as you're coming through the ball more shallow it allows you to get much cleaner contact and that's the key to iron play is making sure hit the ball not only in the center of the face but you reduce how much grass and dirt and stuff like that gets in between the club face and the ball when you hit it. The last thing is as you're coming through and you hit the ball a little bit lower on the face it tends to lead to a little bit more of a penetrating trajectory and create a little bit more backspin on the iron shot which helps them hold green.

                I'm going to do a couple of examples here and I want you to take a look kind of at the divots that I'm going to create based on doing a couple different things just with my body, I'm not going to do anything else, I'm just going to change my force of movement. First swing we're going to look at the angle of attack here, it's going to be just a normal eight iron shot. You'll see the grass barely skimmed it. My bass was here, my divot started up here and it ended up about six inches in front of the ball so my angle of attack there is going to be quite shallow. Now if I change just my force of movement. I'm going to start coming at it from the top with my right side. Watch what the divot does. Now that ball flew perfectly straight, proper trajectory, good spin, right at et cetera. We don't have any complaints with that shot.

                Now I'm going to use my right side to try and move the club down. I came over the top a little bit, hit a little bit of a pull cut, got a little open and now you see this nice big trench that I dug that's working to the left. All I did was change where I started the swing down from. Instead of going to the top and focusing on shifting my weight and letting the iron fall back down I took my right side and heaved at it, created a nice big chopping motion hit a nice little pull cut, which is the least desirable shot for most golfers. The key here is your force of movement has got to be right. Just the exact same stuff that I talk about in the RST 5 step system, body rotation, weight shift, letting the arms fall. Taking the right side out of the equation, if you're tired of slicing you have to pay attention to taking this right side out and letting the hands completely come off the club. We'll automatically shallow out the angle of attack, if you let your right hand come early, I'll do an example here. I'll just let my right hand completely come off, now I hit a nice straight shot. A little bit steeper than I wanted, I pushed with my left thumb a little bit, but you the idea.

                If you let this hand come off the club can now shallow out because it doesn't have anything to force it to go steeper. Really when you're working on changing your swing plan and your path and your angle of attack the key is not focusing on the golf club. The key is moving from the right places, using your rotation and your weight shift to help you shift and shallow out the swing plan on the way down is key. The steepening moves are almost all going to come from too much right side involvement. When you're swinging really steep and across the ball and taking these big trenches and worried about chunking the ball all the top, take your right hand off, follow the release videos. Especially the VJ release video and all of a sudden you'll watch you take nice shallow crisp dollar bill divots.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good attack angle in golf?

Ideally what you want is a very shallow angle of attack with your irons. On average the tour pros are only about four degrees down with every iron in the bag. Now obviously, you go to a wedge it goes up to about five, you go down to a three iron it goes down to about three. On average a four degree negative angle of attack is pretty ideal. Now what is the average amateur? Well this varies quite a bit but what we see using the flight scope data, it's about 10 or 12 degrees down.

What is a steep attack angle in golf?

Most amateurs are WAY too steep on their iron shots due to - you guessed it - too much right side dominance. Once you take the right side off the club completely, it becomes very difficult to approach the ball on too steep of an angle of attack (AoA) unless you push with the left thumb. Take the left thumb off and all of a sudden you start taking crisp dollar bill divots.

How do you find your attack angle in golf?

You want the club to get closer to vertical, have some shaft lean, just enough to de-loft the golf club but as you're coming through the ball more shallow it allows you to get much cleaner contact and that's the key to iron play is making sure hit the ball not only in the center of the face but you reduce how much grass and dirt and stuff like that gets in between the club face and the ball when you hit it. The last thing is as you're coming through and you hit the ball a little bit lower on the face it tends to lead to a little bit more of a penetrating trajectory and create a little bit more backspin on the iron shot which helps them hold green.

What is the best angle to hit a golf ball?

The average angle of attack (AoA) for a tour pro is around 4 degrees down. That's a very shallow angle of attack and about 1/3 as steep as the typical amateur we've measured using our launch monitor. This shallow approach to the ball allows the pro to hit the ball slightly lower on the face to create a more penetrating launch angle but still provide ample spin to hold the green. It also helps prevent grass getting between the clubface and the ball which makes it much easier to control distance and spin.

 

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