Everyone likes to hit the ball long including myself however, you should never sacrifice accuracy for extra distance. What use is distance if you aren’t hitting the fairway? The information below will allow you to get the most of your driver without having to hit the ball harder or change your golf swing dramatically.
Winning formula = high launch angle + low spin rate
How high should you launch it? Luckily for you I’ve got hold of some stats for the optimal launch angle with different swing speeds. These average stats are based on a low spin rate and centred strike.
Don’t know your clubhead speed? Don’t worry I’ve also gathered these averages for you:
Average Lady Golfer = 65mph
Average Male Golfer = 87mph
Average Lady Player = 95mph
Average Male Tour Player = 113mph
Male Long Drive Competitors = 135mph+
The red box above shows the average club golfer swing speed. I would take a wild guess that most of you aren’t swinging your driver above 95mph. Highlighted in yellow is the optimum distance. You can see that average golfers should be hitting the ball with around 15 to 17 degrees of loft. This is dynamic loft not the static loft of your driver. I’ll explain the difference shortly. These stats explain the reason why many golfers achieve greater distance with their 3 wood and why ‘mini drivers’ are becoming increasingly popular.
Dynamic vs static loft
Typically drivers have a static loft of between 9 and 12 degrees. This is the manufactured loft of the driver at set up. More recent drivers also have the ability to alter the static loft.
Dynamic loft refers to the amount of loft presented to the golf ball at the point of impact. Tee height, ball position and many in swing factors can all influence dynamic loft.
My advice for increasing launch angle
- Chose a driver with between 10.5 and 12 degrees of static loft. Adjust it if you can to increase it.
- Tee the ball high – check that half the golf ball is above the face as you set up to the ball. This will also help reduce spin.
- Sweep the ball off the tee – Focus on the back of the ball to help with this.
Shaft selection can have a big influence on both launch angle and spin rates. To check if you have the right shaft in your driver I would need to gather some extra data using our Skytrak launch monitor. At the same time it would be a great idea to have your swing checked over. There may be something going on in your swing which is preventing you from attacking the ball at the right angle or lowering spin rates.
It would be great to hear how you get on with this so please report back to me if you get chance.
Mark Nelson – PGA Professional