Driver Sweet Spot

In the first two videos in the "Bomb Your Driver" series I discussed the extreme importance of hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the driver and understanding the true loft of your club. In this next installment, prepare to have your eyes opened to the truth about the so-called driver "sweet spot". This term gets loosely thrown around a lot and there is a lot of misinformation out there. So to start, let's dispel some myths about the driver sweet spot that the club manufacturers would like for you to believe.

  • The "sweet spot" on any club head is the center of gravity - it is single point, not a whole area
  • Find the center of gravity by balancing the head on a point such as a pen - it's probably not in the center of the face
  • The sweet spot gives maximum ball speed & minimum spin
  • However, when the sweet spot is off center you lose COR, which can reduce ball speed
  • The center of gravity can be changed with rat glue or lead tape

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Julie
Where is the sweet spot on irons?
June 25, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Julie. Most irons will be the middle of the face.
June 25, 2019
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Julie
O.k. Thank you
June 25, 2019
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Brandon
What's the best way to check where we're hitting the ball on the driver? I've tried impact tape but it is a hassle to put on and take off
January 24, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. You can use regular masking tape. Or, purchase some odor eaters foot spray. The powdered spray will give instant feedback. Easy to clean.
January 25, 2017
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Tim
Hi Craig, I have a critical issue I would like to ask you about. I have been with RST for a little over a month and my Instructor has strongly urged me to keep my spine angle (secondary axis) the same at address and through impact. He has warned me not to increase my secondary axis as this can lead to injury. He also said not to keep my head back and mentioned that Chris Tylor condones this advice.I have just watched the worlds top 6 mens golfers. All of them increase their spine angle from 10 degrees through to 20 degrees, averaging about 16 degees of spine increase. even your very own Chris Tyler, I measured in his driving video, increase his spine angle over 20 degrees. His head position actually went away from target a little bit between address and impact. Three of the pro's heads went back, 2 stayed the same and only Stensons moved towards the target a little. This has left me very confused and a little disillusioned as i would love to replicate the worlds greatest players. They all except Stenson keep their necks in pretty much the same position and all of them bump their lead hip toward the target creating this spine angle increase. Please clarify.
November 8, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tim. With the driver (specialty club) you will see a lot of the better players and longer players head move back slightly with an increase of secondary tilt. This is for power. Maximizing the extension point and adding a few degrees of tilt for launch angle purposes. Purely physics working in the opposite direction. The way the RST Swing works is based purely from an objective and anatomical outlook. For safety increasing the secondary tilt and creating more curve can produce issues with the lumbar spine. But, players try to squeak out every yard they can. Therefore, giving up on some of the fundamental principles that protect the body. We teach creating the extra tilt at setup and maintaining it to impact to prevent future injury. However, for the possibility of that extra few yards some players reach the position you see.
November 8, 2016
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T David
I use a Cobra Fly-Z driver, which has an adjustable shaft for degree and draw/fade. I have never adjusted it, leaving it at 8.5 degree with no draw/fade. What is actually happening here if I change this adjustment? And, why would I ever want to change this setting?
October 16, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. Basically the draw/fade will open or close the face. To either delay squaring up or force it to rotate a little sooner. Unless you repeat the exact swing every time. I wouldn't worry with changing it right now.
October 16, 2016
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Jim
Why is he not measuring the sweet spot with the shaft installed? The shaft has mass
September 21, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Jim. Because the amount of shaft that actually goes into the head weighs about a gram.
September 27, 2016
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Marc
After doing some research and speaking to some Taylor Made Fitters, it seems that the sweet spot that creates the highest ball speed is slightly towards the toe and slightly up from the center of the face. In order to hit the ball slightly towards the toe would you suggest that I stand a touch further from the ball at address? Thank you for your feedback.
October 23, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
We would need to see your specific data that on the club you are using. Seems a bit odd that the center of gravity would be in the area you speak of. I wouldn't make any sort of set up adjustment. What do the spin rates and launch angle look like when hitting it in this area of the club???
October 23, 2015
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Marc
I am using an R15 driver 9.5 degrees. You will find below the link to the article that shows the sweetspot on the club face. It was actually confirmed by some people I spoke to at Taylor Made http://www.dlancegolf.com/where-is-the-sweet-spot/
October 23, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Well, I always feels its' best to line the ball on the part of the clubface that we want to hit right at the address position. So, I would get the clubface set to this position but If that is where you want to hit it. I would be interested to see the spin axis of YOUR shots when hitting this part of the club. Who was your point of contact at taylormade?
October 24, 2015
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Marc
Very interesting. I took out the head of my driver on my Taylor Made R15 460cc with a 9.5 degree loft and I have indeed found that the sweet spot is about 1/8 of an inch higher than the middle of the club and about 1/10 of an inch towards the heel. My first question is whether I should adjust the weights to compensate the sweet spot being closer to the heel as I do not need to fight a slice. If so how which side, to have more draw or to have more fade? My second question concerns the place where I should hit the ball. I read that the optimum position on the clubface is about a half inch (or a bit more) above the centre of gravity for a driver. If the sweet spot on my driver is 1/8 higher than the middle of the club, does it mean that I have to hit the ball 5/8 of an inch higher than the middle of the club (4/8 inch + 1/8 inch)?
October 23, 2015
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
See my response above.
October 23, 2015
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Joaquin
When I hit my driver, at first, while the ball is going up, it goes straight. When the ball is going down it goes right. Please help
March 31, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
It sounds like you aren't squaring the face properly and the ball maybe a little too far back. Take a look at the Driver Setup Adjustments Video in the Setup Advanced Section. And, the Left Hand Release in the Downswing Section.
March 31, 2015
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Terry
Very interesting set of videos - I haven't ever heard anything about this. But it does explain a lot particularly about the higher and lower face hits. My question - are there some manufacturers that are more consistent at producing an 8 degree face when it is sold as 8 degree than others? Titliest? Ping? thanks Terry
February 4, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Terry. Clubs are very mass produced today. There really isn't a particular manufacturer that does better than another.
February 5, 2015
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Tom
Interesting video. Why do you try to locate the sweet spot of just the club head when you will be swinging the shaft and club head as a unit?
February 1, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Tom, Finding the sweet spot allows us to know the optimal place on the face to strike the ball. It affects how we tee the ball more so than our swing. Everything will still move as a unit. R.J.
February 1, 2015
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Tom
RJ - thanks for such a speedy reply. I do not think I clearly expressed my question. I will try again. Since the club consists of the head and the shaft why wouldn't we be more interested in the COG/"sweet spot" of the club (shaft and head) rather than just the head of the club when we are seeking the location of the best spot to strike the ball?
February 1, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Tom, The vertical COG of the entirety of the club, often referred to as swing weight or balance point, really only affects how heavy the club head feels while you swing. It's more of a preference of feel. I use a 214 gram driver head for my Callaway BB Alpha 815 DBD, but the total weight of my club is only 298 grams, which is below the average of 310 grams. So, my driver head feels really heavy in my swing, which I like, but I still have the benefit of having a lightweight club to generate more club head speed. And seeing how my driver head weighs 14 grams more than the average driver, I have more mass behind the ball at impact. You have to be careful with that though because an improper configuration with a heavy club head can generate too much backspin. The weight of the shaft is above and in front of the ball at impact and has little to no effect on the club's ability to convert club head speed into ball speed. The weight of the shaft can have a significant effect on how much control or club head speed one can produce in the swing depending on how light or heavy one would use for their swing. But when it comes to converting that club head speed into ball speed, it's all about contact and the mass behind it. In order to produce the optimum smash factor (Ball speed/Club head speed), the center of gravity of the club head and the center of gravity of the ball must be aligned through the path of the swing in both the vertical and horizontal planes. The point of contact on the club face under these conditions would be considered the "sweet spot" Clay has a video regarding the sweet spot and how it can change based on path, which I have posted here. http://www.rotaryswing.com/videos/full-swing-advanced/introduction/surprising-driver-sweet-spot-facts Let us know if you have any more questions! R.J.
February 1, 2015
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Tom
Thank you for taking time to provide a fuller answer. It is a pleasure to have a place to ask questions. Tom
February 1, 2015
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matt
R.J. does that mean if my swing weight is D4.5 on my driver, and I hit the ball with too much spin, lowering the swing weight should bring spin down? I'm using Titleist D3 9.5. I may also have a bit of a flippy motion.
February 1, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Matt, It depends on the flex and kick point of the shaft as well. The point in which you release your lag matters, too. The best way to know for sure is to get fitted with a launch monitor. R.J.
February 2, 2015
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Christian
Wow. If my sweet spot is high center, then my loft at that spot is different than what the club head states. I hit a high launching drive that everyone compliments me on. My spin is over 3000rpm. Could it be that it is because my sweet spot is high on the clubface?
December 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
With most new age drivers the sweet spot tends to be a little higher on the face. I can remember the late 2000's TaylorMade's and Titleist's drivers. A little high and towards the toe could produce some bombs. You are probably experiencing the same effect.
December 8, 2014
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matt
I find that with the driver, I'm not hitting it on the sweet spot. I used some footspray on the face, and find that I hit the ball towards the heel. So, at impact, my hands/arms are getting further from my body. Is this too much centrifugal force pushing them outward...i.e. too much body rotation? When I try to slow things down, my swing speed slows down (radar). What can I do to keep swing speed up, but prevent the arms from getting away from my body? Thanks. I want to start hitting this sweet spot.
September 3, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Matt. There are many culprits to hitting the toe. It sounds like you might be losing the tush line taking away all your room to hit. Take a look at the Losing the Tush Line Video in the Advanced Downswing Section. If you are maintaining the tush line. You could be stalling out too soon. If thats the case try the "stomp" drill in the How the Lower Body Works Video in the Downswing Section to get the hips rotating efficiently.
September 3, 2014
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Dennis
These videos are all well and good and very informative.But they don't say anything about how to "Bomb your driver".
August 14, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
The Driver Launch Angle Video will help you setup to maximize launch and carry.
August 14, 2014
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So would it be better to get an adjustable driver so that i can adjust the loft after i find the sweet spot?. I am just not sure how i would relay this information to the fitter at the golf store.
July 15, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
That would make it easier. I wouldn't worry too much about relaying it to the fitter. Find the driver best suited and do your own calculations to find the sweet spot.
July 15, 2014
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Craig I am not sure what you mean by doing "my own calculations"? I thought what Chuck meant the sweet spot is where the point of Center of Gravity is on the club head. Wouldnt our calculation that come into affect be are our swing speed which will dictate the loft we need to get the maximum ball flight. What I am trying to understand is how to we find the correct lofted club if the CG doesn't correlate to the center of the club face (where that most manufactures measure the lofts at) especially if the loft at the CG is can be significantly different than that at the center of the club head? If you could explain that it would be greatly appreciated.
July 15, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello. I'm sorry. I read the question incorrectly when checking it. If you have the capability see what a launch monitor says. There are numerous factors at play here. You may see one head and naturally hit it higher on the face because the face is deeper and it suits your eye vs a shallower face, etc. You can't choose a loft without a launch monitor. The numbers on the bottom of the club are somewhat arbitrary, they're really just a reference for comparing one of the same model to the next. Therefore, the adjustable might be a cheaper option for you in the long run.
July 16, 2014
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Sorry Craig one more question. Even if i get fitted on the launch monitor and they find the loft of club i need how will this help if the COG will at different height than the center of the club face. Wouldnt you have to change the CG of the club head to be more in the middle of the club face like chuck stated in the video? Or would you have to find a club that had little degree variance in reference to the center club head loft and the degree of loft at the COG.
July 16, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
You wouldn't have to change the COG unless you wanted to use that head exclusively. You could move it with lead tape or rat glue. Very common among pros. If you know the correct loft. You would need to find a head that has the sweet spot closer to your loft. Typically, if you can find a head that is closest to your loft and the sweet spot is just off center. Most pros tend to hit that spot. My driver and others if you take a look at them. Will have a wear spot above the center and to the right or left maximizing hitting its true sweet spot.
July 16, 2014
64x64
Thanks Craig, exactly the answer I was looking for!
July 16, 2014
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Edward
I was hoping to obtain instruction on the driver swing biomechanics rather than the physics behind the use of the driver as my bonus package. Can you tell me how I can send a video of my swing using my iPhone ? I presently use ubersense and the golf academy free apps to analyze my swings.
May 23, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Customer service should be contacting you shortly to help with your video upload. Thanks
May 23, 2014
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Mike
Based on what I just saw in this video, the new(er) Taylor Made R1 (for example) with variable weights could really screw me up if I am trying to rebuild my swing from scratch. Any thoughts on a good "Do this first" action?
May 13, 2014
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This article by Todd Sones explains more what Chris was talking about. http://www.toddsones.com/Todd-Sones-Impact-Golf-Club-Fitting.html Getting fitted before you get your swing mechanics down will cause to to stay in that bad swing.
July 17, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Always build your swing first and then get fitted for a driver that is going to match your swing. Never try to accommodate the club with building your swing around it.
May 14, 2014

For the third video in the bomb your driver series, we're going to talk about something that's very very important and unfortunately very misrepresented by a lot of what you read in magazines and what you see in commercials. That's the sweet spot of the driver head.

                With all the super highly competitive companies out there now that are competing for your big bucks on drivers that are costing from four to $800 anymore, there's a lot of money at stake. These companies are positioning things as best they can to make it seem like you're going to get a lot of benefit from a driver, and there's a lot of hoopla around it that's not exactly true. Today, I'm going to dispel a lot of those myths.

                One of those is the sweet spot. When you look at a driver typically, obviously, there's usually a score line on the top that's showing you where to line up where they want you to hit the ball and some score lines on the face so you know exactly where they're showing you the sweet spot is. But what's misrepresented a lot of times is the actual sweet spot. There's golf ads out these days that say the sweet spot is enlarged, that they have a bigger sweet spot.

                Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is the sweet spot is the tiny size of a pin dot. There's no enlarged sweet spot on any driver, on any club face, whether it's an iron, a driver, what have you. The sweet spot is simply the size of a dot. If you look closely here, you can see I've actually drawn a dot on here where the sweet spot is. Now, the question that you're asking yourself is well how did you know where the sweet spot is?

                I've done it by balancing this driver head on a point here. I've actually got a pen set up vertically to make sure it's level, and it's set up in a vice here. You can actually balance any driver head on the sweet spot of the center of the club face, which is going to help you determine the center of gravity for that club. You can balance it both on the face and on the soul. By doing that, you'll find exactly where the center of gravity is.

                The modern driver, what you found is the center of gravity from the front to the back of the club head has actually moved deeper and deeper and deeper. This is for basically at the end of the day, it's going to launch the ball higher, because it's going to help the shaft actually bend forward more at impact. We'll talk about that again later.

                For now, what we need to really understand is there's a couple things that once you determine where the sweet spot is, it dramatically impacts how that driver's going to play for you. One of the things that we talked about was the actual true loft where you need to strike the ball, the roll on the club face in the last video, and how that affects the loft and where you're going to strike the ball on the face.

                What we're talking about now is once we've actually balanced this driver head on this pen, we mark that spot. What I need to do now is determine what that loft is at the sweet spot. First of all, why is the sweet spot that important? Well it's simple. The sweet spot of the club is the only place you can hit it on the face that's going to give you one, maximum ball speed. That's where the mass is directed directly behind the ball, and for two, it's going to have no twisting. If you strike it off the toe of the club, it'll twist a little bit. If you strike it off the heel, the club will twist a bit. What that does is it lessens the blow, so you don't get as sharp of a blow. You lose ball speed there. Then two, the twisting and part side spin.

                Now when the ball's spinning obviously off line, we're going to lose accuracy and distance as well. Once you know where the sweet spot is, it's very very important to utilize that and set up the driver properly for you.

                I have in my hands here a Ping G5 club marked seven and a half degrees on the sole. You know from the last video that just because it says seven and a half degrees on the soul doesn't really mean anything. Not only are there manufacturing tolerances that allow the driver to have more or less loft than what's stated on the sole of the club, but there's also the roll. When we're looking at the effected loft of the club, it's usually very different.

                Once I've taken the time to mark the sweet spot on the club here, which I have with this black dot, I've gone in using the loft gauge, and I'm actually measured what the loft is on the sweet spot of the club. In this case, this seven and a half degree driver, the loft on the sweet spot, where I need to hit it is nine degrees. If I hit this driver the absolute best that it can possibly perform, hitting it a little bit higher on the face, it's at actually nine degrees. That may or may not work for your swing characteristics. Maybe you need more loft. Maybe you need less loft. But until you get on a launch monitor, you won't know. Until you start to investigate what the clubs that you're using are actually set up for, you won't know.

                I've got another club here to illustrate this. I've got a geekgolf.com. This head, hand picked seven and a half degrees. Then I've balanced it. I've set it up. I've determined where the sweet spot is. I've got it marked here. It's also higher on the face. This loft is actually ten degrees. This has more roll than the Ping. To use this club at its absolute maximum capability to get the best ball speed out of it, to get the center gravity directly behind the ball, no side spin, hit a perfect straight shot, the loft is actually ten degrees on a seven and a half degree head.

                Now I'm running into all kinds of issues where I thought I bought a seven and a half degree head, and I did, but the seven and a half degree of loft is way down here, but the sweet spot is actually way up here. What's going to happen is the vertical gear effect is going to take place, and I'm going to get more spin hitting it lower on the face than I would hitting it on the sweet spot. Now we're running into a lot of complex variables that are very very important in determining how to maximize your driver distance.

                There's another issue that we start to run into, and then I'll illustrate with another head here. I know you can't really see this very well, but I've marked the sweet spot here. It's higher on the face than the center. This one tends to err a little bit towards the toe. This is a [Nakashima H tech 00:05:54] head. What you'll find here is that now we've got another issue coming into play.

                It comes into play with the other drivers I've got here as well, that once the sweet spot is no longer in the exact center of the club face, we're losing COR, that coefficient of restitution, that everybody has heard so much about. What is this COR thing? Why is it .83? What does that mean?

                Long story short, what happens when the ball strikes the face is the face actually deflects. It actually caves in a little bit. What that does it it actually absorbs some of the blow to the bal so that the ball doesn't compress like a marshmallow. A lot of people think the reason the ball compresses or what you want it to do is compress the ball a lot, and that gives you more ball speed because the trampoline effect as the face launches the ball faster.

                It's simply not true. The exact opposite is true actually. The reason that the COR of the face is important is because you actually want the fact to cave in a little bit at impact, a very small amount. What that does is it keeps the ball from compressing so much that it absorbs all the energy of the blow. That may not make sense at first when you think about it. You would think you'd want it to be as hard as you could. But what it does is think about hitting a marshmallow. If you hit a marshmallow with a golf club, it's not going to go anywhere. The simple reason is the marshmallow's soft. It's going to absorb all the energy, and it's just going to smash on the face.

                Well a golf ball, too, because it's relatively soft, is actually going to compress a lot as well. So what you want to do is to actually absorb some of that with the club face giving in, and that allows you to transfer more energy to the ball. That's why that's so important. When we determine the sweet spot's higher or lower on the face, if we look at any of these faces here that are marked with the little dot, where we've marked the loft and the sweet spot on here, well it's no longer in the exact center of the club face.

                Now we've got to actually move higher on the face so technically ... If you find some that tend to err towards the heel a little bit, and this is very common now because a lot of club manufacturers are moving weight to the heel to make it easier to fight a slice because the toe will turn over a little bit faster through impact if there's more weight in the heel. This is going to help the average golfer who tends to slice the ball.

                Now, we've got issues where if the sweet spot's moved over towards the heel even a couple millimeters, we're not going to get maximum COR. Long story short, where the center of gravity of your club face is, is extremely important to get in the maximum launch characteristics for your driver. The trick is you can actually change this position. One of the simple ways to do it is once you determine that you have to pull the head off the shaft to determine this, and you can put it on a pen or anything like this that I have set up here, once you determine where that is, you can actually use lead tape or rack glue or those types of things. It's best to leave this to your club builder, but if you have a very experienced club builder who understands how this stuff works, you can start to maximize it.

                Then you can also start to find that if your sweet spot's a little bit higher on the face, and it has too much loft for you, say if you have ... You're looking for true eight degrees of dynamic loft and impact with the actual club bed. We're not talking about changing the shaft and those types of things at this point. But your driver actually has ten degrees of loft. What you can do is actually put rack glue or lead tape on the head. Most people use the glue on the inside because it's aesthetically more pleasing. But you can start to move the center of gravity higher and lower, left to right, and those types of things. To get the loft that you're looking for at impact through changing the center of gravity.

                Bottom story is that it's a complex subject, but the important thing is for you to start to understand that first of all the sweet spot, not always in the center of the face. You may be hitting it right on the screws where you think it's dead center in the face, and one, you may not be getting the true loft that you think you're getting, and two, you may not be hitting it with the proper amount of spin because if it's lower on the face than where the center of gravity is, you're going to get more spin that you need.

                For the average golfer, it's not such an issue, but for the higher speed, higher [inaudible 00:09:50] speed guys, it's a huge deal. Long story short, understand that don't believe everything you read for starters. Also start to do your own investigation on your club heads. If you understand, if you have a club builder that can pull a head for you and mark the sweet spot for you and you start to get an understanding what the actual loft is on your sweet spot, you're going to have a lot better understanding on how to get maximum distance for your driver swing, for your setup in the future. That's what you're looking for in helping to maximize your driver distance. 

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