Angle of Attack’s Role in How Far You Hit Your Driver

Angle of Attack’s Role in How Far You Hit Your Driver
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi
Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

Angle of Attacks Role in How Far You Hit Your Driver
As you probably know, TrackMan technology measures what the golf ball is doing from impact to the time it stops rolling. I employed the TrackMan for a study I presented at MIT with Dr. Jim Suttie. Part of the results showed that to hit the ball the farthest you can, you need just the right balance between your ball speed, launch angle and spin rate, for example how fast the ball is rotating around its axis as it flies.  The key to maximizing distance is high launch and low spin, coupled with enough ball speed to optimize both.

The problem is that it is very difficult to increase your launch angle without also increasing the spin rate. Simply using a more lofted driver (say, switching from 10.5 degrees of loft to 12 degrees) will launch it higher, but with more spin — not good unless you have a low clubhead speed. The solution is to optimize your angle of attack, the steepness or shallowness of your swing. The best way to do this, of course, is to find a professional with TrackMan technology, but the good news is that because angle of attack is part of your swing, you can change it without the technology — if you know how.

Here is how the inventor of TrackMan, Fredrik Tuxen, describes the effect of launch angle: “If you have a 90 mph clubhead speed with an attack angle of minus 5 degrees (hitting down on the ball), your optimal launch angle/spin rate is around 10 degrees and 3,100 rpm….On the other hand, if your attack angle is plus 5 degrees (hitting up on the ball) with the same 90 mph clubhead speed, your optimal launch angle/spin rate changes to 16 degrees and 2,200 rpm.”

And here is the big deal: “This last combination will carry the ball almost 30 yards farther than the minus 5-degree negative attack angle.”
How do you change your angle of attack? Here are a few things you can try:

  1. Tee the ball high and move it forward in your stance.
  2. Tee the ball closer to your foot line.
  3. Allow the shaft of your driver to lean a bit more away from the target.
  4. Allow the shaft to shallow out, becoming more horizontal to the ground during the downswing.
  5. Close your stance and swing up on the ball.

Tuxen concludes: “A high, positive attack angle (hitting up on the ball) with your driver gives you the potential to achieve long carry and total distance limited only by your clubhead speed. But to take advantage of this potential, you still need to hit the ball in the center of the face, align your club path and face angle toward the target, and finally, use the proper clubhead design, loft and shaft in combination with the ball you play.”

You mean you still must make a good swing? There had to be a catch in there somewhere.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.


  1. Thank you, the attack angle describes the situation VERY clearly.
    [ So much of golf instruction can be contradictory and confusing.]

    I’m a student of golf’s bio-mechanics and your articles help me understand the mechanics much better.

    Regards Andreas .

  2. Best explanation I have ever read, and perfect for me as my club-head speed is right around 90 mph. Im getting older and it has slowed down the last 3-5 years, so working on finding the new sweet spot with the driver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment, please be patient. Required fields are marked with *.