|Angle of approach (or also attack) is a term used to describe the swing plane of a golfer and is dependant upon the position of the ball relative to the arc of the clubface. As mentioned in another article, an ascending angle of attack is an upward swing into the ball. The only time this should occur is if the ball is elevated off of the ground, such as on a tee or the ball sitting high up in fluffy grass or if the ball is positioned on an incline forward of the center of your stance. For this reason, I like the term angle of approach better in this situation. The driver is almost exclusively teed up when in use, therefore deciding on the proper loft driver is very important to obtain the most distance possible with you strength and ability. In order to explain why, we will use some illustrations as well as advanced software to generate the data.
Since we are not robots, each golfer will have a slight change in their angle of approach (or attack) into the ball. Part of the reason is that when we address the ball, we may stand slightly further away or closer to the ball and the ball may be more forward or back in the stance. When you factor in the ball will be teed at different heights because of the human effort of placing the tee in the ground of various firmness, you can appreciate or understand why we don’t always hit the ball the same height or direction each time. Therefore, fitting is based many times on tendencies more so than absolutes.One tendency of most male golfers is to purchase a driver in a narrow range of lofts. The most common of which is 10.5°. Diagram 1 illustrates the launch angle of three 10.5° drivers. I should qualify that statement as a driver that has a loft of 10.5° and a 0° square face angle and of which, the club is returned to this same 0° square position at impact.
Even with a level angle of attack, the launch angle of the ball coming off of the face will be lower than the actual loft of the club as some of the energy is deflected upward due to the loft. The interesting part is if the golfer has a 2° descending angle of attack, it de-lofts the club by the same amount of degrees. Conversely, a 2° ascending angle of approach adds the same amount of effective loft. By simply creating a 2° descending angle of attack as opposed to a 2° ascending angle of approach, 19 yards difference in carry distance can occur at 95 mph.
In Diagram 2, we normalized the lofts of each driver with the different
It is important to realize though that even if the initial launch angles are the same at the same given swing speed and a centered impact, that the carry distances will be slightly different. The reason for this has to do with the vector forces as energy is transferred from the club into the ball. The higher lofted driver will produce an initial ball speed that is slightly lower due to the obliqueness of the impact, plus the spin rate will be higher. This is why most instructors will advocate hitting up toward the ball with a driver.
But as you can see in this example, if the individual golfer continues to have a descending angle of attack, increasing the loft (10.5° to 15.5°) in this situation does help increase the carry distance by 10 yards with no other change made other than loft.
Driver Launch Conditions at 95 mph
With the increasing access and availability to launch montors at numerous shops across the country, golfer are better able to see more accurately