My Favorite Videos
Golf Driving Tips - Driver Launch Angle
When i it comes to the science of longer drives, few things have as dramatic an impact on overall distance as launch angle. Simply put, the launch angle (LA) is the angle at which the ball sets flight in relation to the ground or level surface. It is NOT simply the loft angle stamped on the bottom of your clubface! While loft has the biggest impact on LA, Angle of Attack (AoA), the shaft and head design and weighting are also determinants in LA.
- Launch angle has a drastic impact on driving distance - correcting a poor one will get you more distance today
- Driver loft does make a difference, but your angle of attack is critical - hitting down on the ball is devastating to the average golfer's distance
- Moving the ball up slightly, off the middle of your left toes, helps you catch it on the upswing and assures maximum club head speed at impact
- Tee the ball higher & get a little spine tilt away from the target to further increase launch angle
- Set up slightly shut if the club head is shutting through impact (higher speed players can set up slightly open and hit a fade)
- Make your normal swing - never flip or hit up on the ball
Golf Driving Tips
Today we're going to talk about one of the most important golf driving tips for getting maximum distance out of your driver. It's one of the most missed understood concepts, it's been discussed a lot over the last several years. Driver manufacturers have began to understand the dynamics and been able to quantify this and measure it using high-tech launch monitors that we have at our disposal today.
This one is going to be one of the ones that has the most dramatic impact on your driving distance today. This is it. So when you understand and begin to work with these concepts, you will hit the golf ball further today and get one step closer to that elusive 300 yard tee shot. If you're not already doing this, you will absolutely hit the ball further today and it will make a dramatic difference in how you play the game.
What we're going to talk about today is basically the driver launch angle, by definition, is simply angle at which the ball leaves the tee. If it's launched very, very flat, it would have a zero degree launch angle, and as it goes up, we go up into 10, 12, 14 degrees of launch. It doesn't matter necessarily what the loft on your driver is. It has a significant impact on it, but it's not the only defining factor on how you will launch the ball.
Your angle of attack, which is the angle at which the club is moving down into the ball, this would have, in this scenario, I would have a negative angle of attack, my hands are still way out in front, I'd be hitting down on the ball. Here, I would have a positive angle of attack if I tilt my spine back and catch it more on the upswing. That will have a dramatic impact on your launch angle, as well as the loft of the club.
There's another factor that will affect the launch angle and that's how much the shaft bends coming into impact. If the shaft does bend coming into impact, it does affect how much loft, effective loft, the club has on [inaudible 00:01:43] impact.
Today, we're just going to talk about the basics of launch angle. In future videos, we'll talk about what affects these things.
One of the most common things that I see when somebody comes to me for a lesson is with the driver, they've understood that the ball doesn't need to be as far up in your stance as with more of a classical two-plane swing because you're not shifting into it, you're not shifting back behind the ball. All that stuff is true to a degree, but there's certainly a point where it could be overdone.
For instance, for a typical rotary swinger, I like to see the ball just about off the inside of the big toe for an average golf shot. That's still putting it up in my stance kind of off my left shoulder and my left armpit here. It allows me to make a good move into the ball and hit it on a pretty level angle of attack. Now, that's not going to be the best way for me to get maximum distance. That's going to be the best way for me to be very accurate because as long as my hands are still leading the club, I still got control of the golf club release, and as long as I'm coming into it pretty level, I'll maintain that.
Now we're talking about maximum driver distance today, and that's the key here. When we talk about maximum driver distance, we need to launch the ball effectively as high as humanly possible with the driver. Now there's a point of diminishing returns, that doesn't apply to every single golfer on the planet, the higher swing speed you give the less high you need to launch the ball because there's a point of diminishing returns with the descent angle, but again, we'll talk about these details in future videos.
For the average guy, the guy swinging between 85 to 105 miles an hour, the higher you launch the ball, the further it will go. Here's why. If you're in that swing speed range, the ball doesn't have enough spin to keep the ball in the air long enough. The ball doesn't have enough ball speed to launch it and keep it in the air long enough as well to get maximum distance so when we talk about that guy who's swinging in that 85 to 105 mile an hour range, and the lower you are on the scale, the higher you need to launch it, we need to make set up changes in our golf swing and our set up to make sure that we can achieve those high launch angles.
What we do when we're talking about maximizing the driver is we're going to move that ball up in our stance a bit, so at least off the the middle of the toe of your left foot or middle of your toes. That's going to allow us to set up to a point, we don't have to put the club head directly behind it, but that's going to allow me to set up into a position that's going to allow me to catch the ball more on the upswing because the ball's more back in your stance, the more you're going to hit down on it. Nothing could be more devastating to the average golfer because of their swing speeds than hitting down on the ball with their driver. Now, for accuracy sake, it's a good thing, but you're missing two thinks when you're hitting down on the ball.
One, the launch angle is never going to be high enough. You're not going to have enough speed and enough spin to get the ball up into a high enough trajectory to get it to fly far enough to get maximum distance. You're going to lose dramatic amount of yardage. That's point one.
The other piece is, the truth about the golf swing is that the maximum club head speeds happens just at the point of maximum golf club release or just slightly after. If you haven't released the club, you haven't got maximum speed. You're not going to have maximum speed when your wrists are fully cocked. It's that unhinging and release of everything that gives you maximum club head speed. Because the driver's a pretty long club and we're trying to catch it on the upswing, the further that is up in the stance, the more time I have to release the club and ensure that I get maximum club head speed at the point of impact.
Those are the two critical things. You're costing yourself club head speed, and you're costing yourself launch angle. Those two things are good for 20 to 50 yards for the average guy, believe it or not.
Here's what we're going to do for the typical rotatory swing golfer. Going to have the ball more up the front of the toe here, kind of the front of ... yeah, inside of the foot, excuse me, middle of the foot at a minimum. Depending on how much you're moving your left side, you could move it further up but that's kind of the point where I'd like you to start. Then at address, you can leave the club back into a normal position.
The key here is as you make your golf swing, everything else is normal, you stay centered, as you come back through and you make a move into that left side, you don't want to try and hit up on the ball. We never, ever, ever do that in a golf swing, so no matter what, even in this scenario when we're trying to catch the ball on the upswing, there's a big difference between catching it on the upswing and hitting up on it. Hitting up on it generally involves flipping the hands at impact and trying to help the ball in the air. You're not going to hit it solid, and as you learned in the very first video on ball speed, solid contact is everything.
What we're going to do is move the ball up in our stance and then we're actually going to do something that a lot of people don't understand. We're going to actually tilt our spines slightly away from the target. This is going to encourage a positive angle of attack. If I have my spin very, vertical or even tilted to this way, I have no choice but to hit down on it because your spine angle effectively dictates most everything in your golf swing, but particularly your angle of attack.
If I go from being very straight up and down on address, to tilt my spine a little bit you can see that just this little amount of tilt has given me about five or six degrees of tilt. That's going to encourage me to catch the ball more on an upswing which is awesome because it's going to help me launch the ball higher. That's what we're all looking for.
As I get my spine tilted back just a tiny bit, as I come into the ball, I still make my normal swing. As I'm coming in, I can catch the ball just slightly on the upswing. You notice as the club's moving up into the ball, the ball has to be teed higher. The other big piece of launch angle, if you're teeing the ball this high off the ground, you have to hit down on it or come to it very, very level and cleanly, but you're not going to have enough club head speed, enough ball speed to get the ball up in the air, so you need to tee the ball higher, you have to tee the ball higher for the average golfer to carry the ball further. So you need to tee the ball very high, and then make your normal swing. Don't try to hit up on it, just let the club come through and catch it on the upswing.
What you'll find is because the ball is further up in your stance compared to where you're used to releasing it, the club head could actually be shutting through impact at this point because technically the club's working around an arch, and so maybe it's starting to square. What you'll find is two things. One, as I work with golfers, some of them may tend to set up slightly shut with the driver, perfect, I'd prefer that over anything else. That's going to allow you to still release the club head, get maximum speed with a slightly shut stance with the driver so that you're just basically hitting it on the line where the club faces naturally shutting in your arch or your swing path.
The other thing, for the higher swing speed players and the ones who are looking more for control, is you can actually play a sightly open stance and as you're coming through, you could actually start to get to the point where you can hit a little bit of a fade from this position, so the ball's further up in your stance, and you're just simply holding the release of the club off just a little bit longer to get a fade. Now that's the ideal play in my opinion for the high swing speed player because it's a more controlled golf shot than trying to hit a little bit of a pull draw.
For the average golfer though, that shot's going to give you maximum distance, maximum launch, maximum ball speed, and a really solid shot, a really solid contact. The high swing speed player, the guy who's over 110, 115 miles an hour, he can afford to scrub a little bit of ball speed, which we're talking minute amount, if any, and get a little bit more of a controlled golf shot, slightly left to right moving tee shot and put it in play all day.
Let's reiterate the key things here. Tee the ball higher, ball further up in the stance, tilt the spine back, and then make your normal swing, don't try and go up and get it, just make your normal swing, let the club work slightly up on the upswing to catch the ball on the center of the face, and you will hit the ball further.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I improve my golf driving?
When we talk about maximum driver distance, we need to launch the ball effectively as high as humanly possible with the driver. For the average golfer, swinging between 85 to 105 miles an hour, the higher you launch the ball, the further it will go. The maximum club head speed happens just at the point of maximum golf club release or just slightly after. If you haven't released the club, you haven't got maximum speed, which is necessary to improve your golf driving.
How do you drive a golf ball straight?
Fixing your swing plane and path that leads to perfectly straight golf shots starts with shifting your weight correctly, not just in the downswing, but the backswing as well. It is this that allows the golf club to fall down on the golf plane and prevents it from coming over the top. If you want to finally have the perfect golf swing mechanics that lead to a perfect swing plane and path, you must master weight shift.
How do you hit a consistent driver?
When it comes to understanding the golf swing and what leads to consistency or a lack thereof, you need to first consider your spine angle - it's the most important angle in golf. Where most golfers lose any hope for a consistent golf swing is when they stand up out of their posture and lose their spine angle. As you lose your spine angle, your primary pivot points in the golf swing (your shoulders) are moving up and away from where they were at address. This, in turn, moves the golf club up and away.
What is the best stance for driving a golf ball?
Tee the ball higher, ball further up in the stance, tilt the spine back, and then make your normal swing, don't try and go up and get it, just make your normal swing, let the club work slightly up on the upswing to catch the ball on the center of the face, and you will hit the ball further.