Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
If you ever find yourself watching the best players in the world hit golf balls, take a second to notice the varying heights at which they hit the golf ball. You’ll see low shots, high shots and everything inbetween. How is this possible?
Trackman, a Doppler radar system, used by the best players in the world to measure club delivery and ball flight data, has shown us how to vary the height of golf shots. Of the 26 individual data parameters Trackman measures on each shot, Attack Angle is one of two which helps us hit the golf ball both high and low.
What is Attack Angle? Attack Angle is the vertical movement of the golf club as it strikes the golf ball. More simply put, it is the amount up or down which the golf ball is struck.
It was previously thought that the more we hit down on the golf ball, the more the golf ball would rise into the air. This factually is not the case.
Creating high and low shots using Attack Angle. It is fair to say in most cases: A) The more you hit down on the ball, the lower it will ultimately go. B) The less you hit down on the ball, the higher it will ultimately go. *This is assuming center contact.
For example, notice the two shots below. In the shot on the left, the player delivers the club to the ball with an Attack Angle of -4.4 degrees (negative=down) retaining 22.1 degrees of loft on the club head. The shot travels 73.4 feet high into the air. In the shot on the right, the player delivers the club to the ball with a slightly smaller Attack Angle of -3.8 degrees (negative=down) retaining a bit more loft of 23.6 degrees. This shot traveled 82.3 feet high into the air; almost 10 feet higher than the shot on the left!
As you can see, the amount you hit down on the golf ball directly affects the amount of original loft retained to the golf ball and the overall height, which the shot reaches. To summarize, in most cases the more you hit down on the golf ball, the less original loft will be retained and the lower the shot will go. Conversely, the less you hit down on the golf ball (or more you hit up, not recommended for irons but important for driver), the more original loft will be retained and the higher the shot will ultimately go. *This is assuming center contact.
For more on how to interpret your ball flight; visit the Trackman section of Scott’s website www.scottsackett.com/trackman, follow him on twitter at @Scott_Sackett or like Scott Sackett Golf on facebook www.facebook.com/scottsackettPGA.
Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher since 1999, just voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State for the fifth year in a row. Also, Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. If you would like to reach Scott, contact him through his website at www.scottsackett.com.