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# Hitting Up or Down with the Driver in an Inline Pattern - Page 5

In my quest to hit driver farther, I've reviewed this discussion, which is great, and found this article. The original work was published by Tutelman (somewhat controversial guy but seems very open about his research and inviting others to participate) in 2007 and updated in 2011. It is from a fitter's point of view. An excerpt that coincides with Erik's Instruction and Discussion:

### Angle of attack

This is not a club design issue, but a golfer-training issue. It requires learning how to hit the ball on the upswing, which implies placing it further forward in the stance and teeing it higher. It works because you can increase the launch angle without increasing loft. Every degree of angle of attack gives a degree of launch angle with no effect on spin!

How much can you gain through angle of attack? I don't have a lot of data on what golfers who try to hit up on the ball accomplish. But here are a couple of ways to estimate an answer:

• Long drive data: These guys have a lot of athletic ability, plus a strong motive to learn an upwards angle of attack; they need both in order to compete. So we can look at the actual data from the high finishers in elite long drive competition and get an idea of the AoA that they manage. I plugged the launch data from two drives from the 2006 ReMax finals into TrajectoWare (they were drives Jason Zuback and Erik Lastowka), and worked backwards to the loft and angle of attack that they must have used. In both cases, the angle of attack was under 1º. I was surprised it was so small.
• More long drive data: Tom Wishon points out that "the long drive competitors can use a head with 5-6 degs and still generate a launch angle of 11-12 degs." Even allowing for a reasonable shaft bend increasing the loft by 3º, this is still 3 or 4 degrees of upwards angle of attack.
• Geometry: If you can somehow tee up the ball 6" farther forward in your stance, the natural arc of a 45" driver will allow hitting up on the ball by an angle of 8º. That is a lot. It will also involve teeing the ball up almost a half inch higher. This is probably an extreme upper limit to angle of attack, nowhere near available to most of us.

AND THEN, OFF TOPIC, yet extremely interesting

Making use of vertical gear effect is a combination of the golfer's swing and a driver fit to that swing:

• The golfer must have a repeatable impact high on the clubface. High enough to get maximum benefit from the gear effect, but still low enough not to lose COR.
• The golfer can be helped a little by a low center of gravity for the clubhead. A low CG increases the range and efficacy of hitting "above the center".
• Shaft flex. (Finally, something we clubmakers can relate to easily.) Dana Upshaw has reported an anecdote involving a long drive champion getting much better runout after landing after going to a flexible-tip shaft (generally considered high-launch and high-spin) and a lower loft in the clubhead. The explanation Dana gives is that the clubhead was more free to rotate and exercise vertical gear effect with the tip-flexible shaft. I'm not sure if I agree; my inquiry suggests that tip stiffness has much less impact on vertical gear effect than Upshaw reports. But Dana's data is what it is, and I can think of no other explanation for it.

### Other factors?

There are other factors sometimes cited as ways to get high launch and low spin which, unfortunately, do not do what the proponents would have you believe:

• Head weight distribution - A low center of gravity is reputed to give a high launch angle without adding spin. Vertical gear effect is a technical explanation for why that should be. A low CG enhances the vertical gear effect as noted above.
Oh yeah. There's also the possibility of raising the launch angle by moving the center of gravity back away from the face. That definitely works to raise the launch angle. But it has the same effect as loft -- increasing the spin as well -- so it's not helpful this time.
• Shaft flex - Stiff shafts, and especially tip-stiff shafts, have a reputation for being low spin. (Also low launch. That is not what we want right now, but remember that because it's important.) The biggest launch effect of shaft flex is on the dynamic loft of the clubface. So if you reduce spin, you also reduce the launch angle. The only valid use of shaft flex to reduce spin without lowering launch is as Dana Upshaw revealed; use a tip-flexible shaft in conjunction with a lower loft clubhead to take maximum advantage of gear effect. The shaft flex will increase the loft, the lower-loft clubhead will get the loft back down, and a high-face hitmight get less backspin because the shaft will allow more clubhead rotation and the resulting gear effect. (I qualify it with "might", not "will". My analysis does not support the substantial effect that Upshaw noted. So I accept his data with considerable reservation.)

http://www.tutelman.com/golf/ballflight/launchOptimize.php

Edited by Mr. Desmond - 3/6/13 at 10:19am

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Tutelman's fine. He's very willing to change his mind (and update his articles) if his understanding changes in light of new information.

Tried this on range today -  moved up the ball position to middle of front foot, driver slightly open to square, teed very high and tried to hit above center of face - much higher launch, even errors were higher (good). Ball flight was straight to slight draw.

Need to experiment and get a system to see what works.

I was working on something else today, and just did this at the end of my range session.

I use the same set up for all clubs (both feet out around 30 degrees, right leg slightly up on backswing, hip turn, shoulder turn etc..) and can hit pretty good. But with the driver, usually the ball goes slightly left (probably not able to square the clubface at impact, I have no independent arms fanning motion), low ball flight, less distance etc. However, when I try the same set up but with my right leg back, I can hit the ball high and straight. I feel I can get more inside on the backswing and more out and up on the downswing. My question is I would want to know why. Is this due to not inside enough on the backswing in my standand setup position? due to not flexible enough? Not enough hip movement coming down? Thanks.
I like to hit up on the ball for a fade, and move the ball a little back and hit down with a draw. I use a old Taylormade 320 driver with a 6.0 steel rifle shaft in it. I know it is old, but the 460cc head just doesn't do it for me! Looks like I'm swinging a shoebox on a stick!!

Thanks for the info, it actually makes sense.

Question (hopefully not too stupid of a question): If I play the ball forward (left toe) and  allow the club head to follow the outward (or directly towards the target) path beyond impact before coming around on my follow through, will that result in loss of power? The feeling would be as if both arms extend towards the target for just a split second. Would that not allow me to hit upward on the ball without the side spin that creates the fade or in my case a slice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonMA1

Thanks for the info, it actually makes sense.

Question (hopefully not too stupid of a question): If I play the ball forward (left toe) and  allow the club head to follow the outward (or directly towards the target) path beyond impact before coming around on my follow through, will that result in loss of power? The feeling would be as if both arms extend towards the target for just a split second. Would that not allow me to hit upward on the ball without the side spin that creates the fade or in my case a slice?

The clubhead is almost always moving in an arc. It would be a manipulation of fairly extreme levels to have the clubhead traveling in a straight line for any distance at all, really.

Just orient the baseline and clubface appropriately for the AoA and thus true path that you want to play.

Will do. Thanks Erik.

Quick illustration of how understanding the effect of angle of attack can help your driving. I have a friend (12 handicap) who is the poster boy for problems off the tee. Don't think I've ever played a round with him where he hasn't taken at least one penalty trying to put the ball in play. He's very in-to-out with all his clubs and suffers that player's classic two way miss -- alternating pull hooks and big blocks.

Anyway, we had a session at the driving range yesterday and this is where he started. Range balls:

No fun playing golf like that!

So I explained the basics to him. Mo' right path, mo' problems. And hitting down adds mo' right. So let's try and hit up instead. With a bit of tinkering we found a better ball position (off instep of the left foot -- about 3 or 4 inches forward of where it started), better tee height (1/4 inch higher) and better setup with more axis tilt (left hip bumped toward target, feeling that left ear is behind left heel). And things started going right! Well, actually less right -- and less left.

By the end of the session:

Seemed like a good one to quit on! May need a lower lofted driver now that he doesn't have to hold back for fear of hitting it even further off line -- but doubt he'll complain too much about that expenditure ...

Very nice, cool to see how it changed his results!

Toed the last one a bit but it's very good work in a short time - basic understanding of geometry helps golfers improve. Nice work Stretch.

I just worked on this one at the range yesterday, as in my past few rounds I've been fighting what Stretch so eloquently put as "mo' right, mo' problems" - I tended to hit high blocks with one or two heavy duck hooks a round sprinkled in. This is after my early golf career was plagued with slices, so I changed my swing plane to be more inside (and more correct, in my opinion), but it turned into something not good.

I teed the ball up about 1/2" higher and moved it to just about even with my big toe on my left foot. Straight fades abounded. Occasional push fade, and the very occasional topped draw (which I chalk up to the sheer number of balls I was hitting getting tired).

I'm extremely excited to take it to the course this weekend to keep the ball in play for once! Breaking 90 will be all about no penalties and getting those GIR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pburns1587

I just worked on this one at the range yesterday, as in my past few rounds I've been fighting what Stretch so eloquently put as "mo' right, mo' problems" - I tended to hit high blocks with one or two heavy duck hooks a round sprinkled in. This is after my early golf career was plagued with slices, so I changed my swing plane to be more inside (and more correct, in my opinion), but it turned into something not good.

I teed the ball up about 1/2" higher and moved it to just about even with my big toe on my left foot. Straight fades abounded. Occasional push fade, and the very occasional topped draw (which I chalk up to the sheer number of balls I was hitting getting tired).

I'm extremely excited to take it to the course this weekend to keep the ball in play for once! Breaking 90 will be all about no penalties and getting those

Nice!  Same here, hit weak cuts last season 230-240 on average probably.  With changing my swing through evolvr, my iron shots have been worlds better but I struggled with the hooks on the driver.  I was hitting down and out on the ball essentially and teeing it too low.  This thread along, and the posts from Stretch, Erik, and Mike have helped my understand how to correctly hit up on the ball. I now am hitting the ball very straight with a slight 3 yard(guess) fall left or right depending on how well I start the direction of the shot.  I have verified close to a 20-30 yard increase in distance on average in my last few rounds.  Very happy with this, thanks guys!

What a timely thread.  I was on Trackman last night and playing with this.

My normal hit on most of my shots is a -1 to -2 AoA.  So I was purposely trying to hit up on the driver only.

The distance shown was SIGNIFICANT.

My driver shot:   I have really exaggerated my forward drive of my body and finish turn, thus, the negative AoA.  So to get that positive AoA, was hanging back a bit (like when I try to up loft an iron shot).

It also ties out for the artificial turf - at this range, a super long tee won't go deep enough.  Instead of trimming my tees, I just tee it FAR forward and put my trail leg back a bit (toward my tail, not a wider stance - this is to try to keep from getting too much negative on club path.)  Those connections absolutely CRUISE.

so it all makes sense to me - I'll try it out.

I think I'll take this thread and try just my normal swing and finish, maybe with a bit more ooomph (the ball is on a tee), and just let the up angle happen like normal.  (Though I do think it'll feel like I'm hanging back on it).

Not sure if the link's been posted, but this is a nice page to refer to about angle of attack and driver loft/spin/carry.

http://www.iseekgolf.com/clubfittingandrepairs/7313-angle-of-attack-its-role-in-fitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by the wiseman

Not sure if the link's been posted, but this is a nice page to refer to about angle of attack and driver loft/spin/carry.

http://www.iseekgolf.com/clubfittingandrepairs/7313-angle-of-attack-its-role-in-fitting

Pretty cool look at the effects of AoA here.  Carry distance in the far right column

What kind of spin rates and ball speeds were you seeing there? The smash factor is terribly low for a driver,even assuming limited flight balls. What's interesting in that data is the vertical swing plane numbers....37.4*? never seen anything that flat before, was the club below his right shoulder at the top of the backswing? His inside-out path number would be mostly a result of the negative AoA with such a shallow swing plane.

Slight head wind and not normalized. But no, he's not hitting it solid. Average smash factor 1.37 with one-piece Srixon range balls -- I look for about 1.43 out of those. High spin. Probably hitting it low on the face, but we didn't have time to get into it. VSP on most swings is around 40*, so yeah he really needs to be positive.

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