While the average angle of attack with a driver on the PGA Tour has been slightly down since Trackman began measuring drives several years ago, the latest data indicates that this may be evolving.
Trackman disciples have known that hitting up on a drive 5 degrees (or more) can set us up for a strong increase in distance off the tee. This information has now been widely disseminated among tour pros to the point where it appears more and more players are taking it to heart. Recent posts of Trackman data by players like Justin Thomas and John Rahm are good examples.
But can it work for the average guy? Or the single handicap player?
While some of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour may gain little advantage to picking up more yards, the average amateur has no excuse. They need as much distance as they can get, particularly if it comes for free – in otherwords, with no added club speed or effort.
Here are a few good check points to increase your angle of attack.
- Play an aggressively forward ball position. I believe the new ‘standard’ position should be off the big toe of the front foot, rather than the instep. I would go even further if necessary. I’ve seen pro long drivers as far as the pinky toe.
- Make sure the stance is wide, but not too wide. A big measure for AoA is how far the big toe is ahead of the chin. A wider stance gives more time for the clubhead to turn upwards. Too wide, however, and you may risk balance issues and shifting your weight completely may be challenging. A good check point here is to get your heels just outside your hip bones.
- You will have a hard time hitting up if you are a ‘handle dragger’ or pull the hands down towards the ball. Ideally we’d like to have a slightly backwards lean of the shaft at impact, and for that we need to release freely and early. – throw the clubhead!
- The head needs to stay centered in between the feet through impact. If you tend to lean into a shot, head more towards your front foot, you will probably have a negative AoA. Be careful not to get your head moving back to the rear foot as this will cause path and accuracy issues.
- We need the body’s center of mass (the navel area) to shift laterally ahead of the chin about 6-7 inches while the hips and torso turn. This will present the necessary side tilt in the spine to cause a shift upwards in AoA.
- Swing more from the inside! Most golfers swing too far to the left with a driver, also known as outside-to-in.
- Tilt the Ferris wheel! It is common to see the average golfer’s shaft too vertical coming into the ball, kind of like a Ferris wheel. Picture a wheel tilted over at about 45 degrees instead.