Get More Driver Distance With a Positive Angle of Attack.
Attack angle is the angle at which your club is either descending into the ball (negative attack angle) or ascending into the ball (positive attack angle) at impact. I have been harping on this for a couple of years but this is definitely a way that most of you can dramatically improve your distance! There are several reasons for this.
Increased Launch Angle and Lower Spin
First, by having a positive attack angle, you increase the launch angle of the club you are using which in turn promotes a higher ball flight for more carry. Second, the positive attack angle reduces the spin rate coming off the club face which reduces drag and increases carry AND roll. Conversely, a negative attack angle imparts more backspin on the ball and results in a lower launch angle. This increases drag, reduces carry AND roll. It is always good to have a ball flight monitor (TrackMan, FlightScope, Foresight with HMT) to measure your attack angle, but here are a couple of easy ways to tell if your attack angle is positive or negative. Let's say you have a 10.5 degree driver and your ball flight looks like a rifle shot (low and boring). That is a pretty telltale sign that your attack angle is negative. Now, let's say with that 10.5 degree driver you seem to hit moon shots even though you are hitting the center of the clubface. That is a pretty good sign that you have a strong positive attack angle, which is great! In our fittings, roughly 25% of golfers have a positive attack angle, 25% have a neutral attack angle and 50% have a negative attack angle! Unless you are a very strong golfer with ball speeds north of 150mph, the negative attack angle is killing your distance!
How to Create a Positive Attack Angle.
Now remember, I am talking driver here. If you already have a positive attack angle, you are set! If not, here are a couple of things you can do to get at least neutral if not positive.
First, move the ball slightly more forward in your stance. This will naturally have your club moving up from the bottom of your swing arc. You may need to tee the ball slightly higher in order to hit the ball on the sweet spot. The guys and gals on the Long Drive tour use 5" tees and have 4.5 to 7.5 degree lofted drivers because their angle of attack is usually between +4 and +7 degrees!
Second, try to tilt your spine slightly away from the ball at address. This will help promote more of a swing that goes up and through the ball at impact.
Third, check the shaft tip profile. A more flexible or softer tip profile (mid to high launch) can promote up to a 2 degree increase in attack angle. Conversely, if you already have a positive attack angle and your launch angle is TOO high, you can reduce the angle of attack up to two degrees by using a shaft with a stiffer (lower launch) tip section. We typically adjust these in our clubfitting. If you are using our Fitting Wizard, you can select a slightly higher or lower launch (trajectory) when you select the shaft for your clubs.
Finally, find a good instructor that can help you with the many issues that could be causing you to swing down into the ball with your driver. Once you have conquered the attack angle issue, you may find that you need to lower the loft on your driver to optimize carry and roll. Again, this is where a good fitter can help you optimize your distance by combining all of the factors we are talking about in these blogs to get you more distance!
Dan Sueltz and Eric Touchet