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Driving it straighter off of a lower tee

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

So today I went to golfsmith because I was interested in getting my driver shortened for better control (I'm 5'8"). After swinging the club a few times for the golf pro we both noticed I was hitting the ball of the top outer edge of the driver consistently. He had me lower the tee and address the ball near the hosel and I hit it right on the screws. We decided against shortening the shaft at this point.

 

After, I went to the driving range to try out my Cleveland Classic 270 (12 loft) and my Taylormade Burner (9.5 loft) and found interesting results. I did hit the club well with my Cleveland in terms of contact but was also lofting it pretty high when I teed it up too high. I also tend to lose a lot of distance because the ball just seems to peter out because of the trajectory being too high.  When I took my nice easy swing and teed it up low (ball just above sweet spot on clubface) I hit it about 200 yards or so with carry. For me, this is pretty good.

 

Now when I went back to my Burner 9.5 and teed it low, the ball came off the tee like a freaking rocket, straight. I was almost disappointed because while I hit it hard, I didn't put it up in the air very high. This made me think that if I teed it up just a bit higher I could really get a hold of it.

 

I don't know if it's psychological or what but when I tee the ball up higher I usually slice it (either a little or a ton) and seem to come up on the ball and give it too much loft. Maybe teeing the ball up lower forces me to take a wider swing which hits the sweet spot but I don't know.

 

Has anyone else experienced this before? Or maybe have any ideas as to what's going on? Either way, I need to slow down my swing for better consistency but still seem to hit my driver better with a lower tee.

post #2 of 20
I tee it lower when I want to hit a fade which is a more penetrating shot for me. I tee it high when the wind id behind me, but lower normally. Not as low as you though. The top of the crown bisects the ball. Maybe a little lower.
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnguy19 View Post
 

 

I don't know if it's psychological or what but when I tee the ball up higher I usually slice it (either a little or a ton) and seem to come up on the ball and give it too much loft. Maybe teeing the ball up lower forces me to take a wider swing which hits the sweet spot but I don't know.

 

Has anyone else experienced this before? Or maybe have any ideas as to what's going on? Either way, I need to slow down my swing for better consistency but still seem to hit my driver better with a lower tee.

 

It means you probably have a negative angle of attack with your driver and your path is across the ball.

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnguy19 View Post
 

 

 

I don't know if it's psychological or what but when I tee the ball up higher I usually slice it

I think it is psychological.  Teeing the ball higher encourages one stand more upright in order to hit up more on the ball; the swing arc is therefore more upright, which tends to force the forearms to rotate clockwise, which opens the face and causes a slice.  It's the same effect (though not psychological in orign), I believe, as when you swing at a ball below your feet:  the swing plane tends to be somewhat higher, the face opens more, and the ball is hit to the right.  Hence the general rule:  if it's below your feet, aim left.

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post
 

I think it is psychological.  Teeing the ball higher encourages one stand more upright in order to hit up more on the ball; the swing arc is therefore more upright, which tends to force the forearms to rotate clockwise, which opens the face and causes a slice.  It's the same effect (though not psychological in orign), I believe, as when you swing at a ball below your feet:  the swing plane tends to be somewhat higher, the face opens more, and the ball is hit to the right.  Hence the general rule:  if it's below your feet, aim left.

 

That's not why shots hit with the ball below your feet tend to go right. It's because the loft points the face to the right. Ball below your feet: clubface points to the right. Reverse for ball above your feet (for righties).

 

A detailed (math) thread on this:  Effects of Lie Angle on Varying Degrees of Loft .

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

That's not why shots hit with the ball below your feet tend to go right. It's because the loft points the face to the right. Ball below your feet: clubface points to the right. Reverse for ball above your feet (for righties).

 

A detailed (math) thread on this:  Effects of Lie Angle on Varying Degrees of Loft .

So, a more upright swing arc does not encourage a rolling of the forearms clockwise, in general?

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post
 

So, a more upright swing arc does not encourage a rolling of the forearms clockwise, in general?


I don't know why it would, by rule. Your arms are moving effectively the same way because of how your shoulder joint is constructed, and so on. A few degrees difference is not going to matter to how they function when the shoulder joints are the way they are.

 

Particularly when you're talking about… a lower tee versus a higher tee? The difference is negligible. If the golfer hits it better off one than the other, he's either swinging at it differently due to psychological factors, or he's altering the strike location on the club (particularly the vertical gear effect and its effects on the tilting of the spin axis).

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

That's not why shots hit with the ball below your feet tend to go right. It's because the loft points the face to the right.

This quote from Butch Harmon about swinging at a ball below your feet seems to support my view that the cause of the shot to the right is in the forearms, which he says are under-rotated (counter-clockwise), while I said that I thought the forearms were in fact rotated clockwise. Under-rotating counter-clockwise amounts to the same effect as a rotation clockwise: not enough counter-clockwise forearm rotation, preventing the face from closing soon enough, causing a shot to the right. Harmon says nothing about loft pointing the face to the right being the cause. Read what he says here about the swing when the ball below is below your feet:


"...your swing will tend to be more up and down, which means less clubface rotation, so aim left to guard against missing to the right."

Harmon's comments are on the web page at http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/2011-04/butch-harmon-uneven-lies

One can test this effect by rotating the iron in a horizontal plane. The forearms naturally rotate counter-clockwise, closing the face. Now, swing in as near to a vertical plane as possible: the forearms tend to rotate clockwise, opening the face.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post

This quote from Butch Harmon about swinging at a ball below your feet seems to support my view that the cause of the shot to the right is in the forearms, which he says are under-rotated (counter-clockwise), while I said that I thought the forearms were in fact rotated clockwise. Under-rotating counter-clockwise amounts to the same effect as a rotation clockwise: not enough counter-clockwise forearm rotation, preventing the face from closing soon enough, causing a shot to the right. Harmon says nothing about loft pointing the face to the right being the cause. Read what he says here about the swing when the ball below is below your feet:


"...your swing will tend to be more up and down, which means less clubface rotation, so aim left to guard against missing to the right."

Harmon's comments are on the web page at http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/2011-04/butch-harmon-uneven-lies

One can test this effect by rotating the iron in a horizontal plane. The forearms naturally rotate counter-clockwise, closing the face. Now, swing in as near to a vertical plane as possible: the forearms tend to rotate clockwise, opening the face.
We're talking about half an inch here right? In many cases I suspect the swing isn't going to change at all, the ball will just contact the face a little higher where the sweet spot is.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post

This quote from Butch Harmon about swinging at a ball below your feet seems to support my view that the cause of the shot to the right is in the forearms, which he says are under-rotated (counter-clockwise), while I said that I thought the forearms were in fact rotated clockwise.

 

I don't know what to tell you: I disagree with him. And more than that, I can prove that he's wrong…

 

With the driver, remember, we're talking about half an inch, and…

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post

One can test this effect by rotating the iron in a horizontal plane. The forearms naturally rotate counter-clockwise, closing the face. Now, swing in as near to a vertical plane as possible: the forearms tend to rotate clockwise, opening the face.

 

…I can do both of those and not rotate my forearms at all. I can swing horizontally and rotate my forearms the opposite direction if I want to.

 

And seriously, do the math and think for yourself: you're talking about half an inch (with the driver). It's not going to alter the way your body performs very much. Your VSP is still gonna be about 45° with a driver.

 

P.S. And if you want to do the math on uneven lies… I already linked to a thread which HAS some math in it: Effects of Lie Angle on Varying Degrees of Loft .

 


 

For Joe Mama (Click to show)
Imagine taking a lob wedge with 60° of loft and putting the ball on such an uneven lie that your arms and the club shaft are horizontal. The ball is at shoulder height, effectively.
 
What makes this ball go left? The face is pointing well to the left.
 
So again, it's very simple: balls below your feet go to the right because the face is pointing to the right. Balls above your feet go left because the face is pointing to the left.
 
For righties, of course. For lefties it's reversed.
post #11 of 20
You say you can prove Butch wrong. Just because he's perhaps the most successful, most respected golf coach of our generation doesn't mean he's always right. I believe you're both right, rather than you're right 100%, and he's 100% wrong. You mentioned the extreme case of a 60 degree at shoulder height. There is no doubt that the face at setup would be well closed, as you said.

However, if you swing that club horizontally, you will find that the right forearm NATURALLY rolls counter-clockwise over the left forearm. In order to prevent this from happening, some serious (unnatural) clockwise torque must be applied by your hands. Thus, there are TWO effects, each of which causes a more rapid face closing. Perhaps the effect you point out is dominant in the extreme scenario you present, but maybe not. In the more common case of a ball a couple of inches above your feet, the face of a seven-iron is only barely noticeably closed. The swing dynamics in both scenarios will be about the same, so the effects of the forearm rolling we're debating would be proportionately more important than it is in your extreme case. That doesn't prove that rolling is the dominant factor in face closing. I don't know which effect dominates, and under what conditions, but I think I DO know that BOTH effects contribute to a face closing. With a seven iron and a ball two inches above your feet, the static face closing at setup is very small, so perhaps dynamic face closing caused by forearm rolling is the dominant effect. How would you prove otherwise. No equations, please; just common sense.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post

You say you can prove Butch wrong. Just because he's perhaps the most successful, most respected golf coach of our generation doesn't mean he's always right. I believe you're both right, rather than you're right 100%, and he's 100% wrong. You mentioned the extreme case of a 60 degree at shoulder height. There is no doubt that the face at setup would be well closed, as you said.

 

Not closed. Pointing left.

 

Butch insists (last time I checked) that the ball starts on the path and finishes where the face is pointing. He's WRONG about that. His success at coaching Tour players doesn't mean diddly in the face of facts, or geometry, or math, or science.

 

That's all I'm saying.

 

And again, half a freaking inch on a teed ball isn't going to make much of a difference in the way your anatomy works. It's simply too small of an angle.

 

OT Crap that has little to do with the half inch you can tee a driver down or up (Click to show)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post

However, if you swing that club horizontally, you will find that the right forearm NATURALLY rolls counter-clockwise over the left forearm.

 

No, it doesn't have to. As I said before I can make them rotate the other way, rotate the way you're saying, OR keep them oriented such that the leading edge of the clubface remains vertical.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post

With a seven iron and a ball two inches above your feet, the static face closing at setup is very small, so perhaps dynamic face closing caused by forearm rolling is the dominant effect. How would you prove otherwise. No equations, please; just common sense.

 

Not gonna play that game. And by that I mean the game where I prove something, and you say "that's not common sense" by applying some bizarre standard of common sense.

 

If you hit your 7-iron 170 yards, and a ball that's 5° above your feet will (with a delivered loft of 30°) start the ball 2.8807° off-line. That's almost nine yards off-line, and that ignores any curvature - that's just start-line error.

 

Now then, since this is about the driver @Joe Mama, let's stick to that alone. If you want to start another thread about hitting off sidehill lies with your incredibly bizarre theories about how tiny changes in angle make the body function completely differently and ignore the very basic geometry of where the face is pointing, by all means, please go ahead.

 

 

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post



And again, half a freaking inch on a teed ball isn't going to make much of a difference in the way your anatomy works. It's simply too small of an angle.




A quarter of an inch above your feet would make even less of a difference. Pick an even smaller number, and there would be virtually no difference. But, I'm not talking about half an inch; I'm talking about a difference that I thnk matters, such as, say, two inches.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post

A quarter of an inch above your feet would make even less of a difference. Pick an even smaller number, and there would be virtually no difference. But, I'm not talking about half an inch; I'm talking about a difference that I thnk matters, such as, say, two inches.

We're talking about a ball on a tee. While it's possible to get 2 inches of difference, it's unlikely. Furthermore even 2 inches is not going to change the way your anatomy works very much at all. Because drivers have less loft than almost any other club, small changes to the angle also don't matter very much.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

It means you probably have a negative angle of attack with your driver and your path is across the ball.

Interesting. I hit it straighter more consistently when I tee it lower. I must have this issue. "Tee it high and let if fly" doesn't really work for me. 

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmdmbike View Post
 

Interesting. I hit it straighter more consistently when I tee it lower. I must have this issue. "Tee it high and let if fly" doesn't really work for me. 


I would have figured that everybody would hit the ball straighter if they teed it up lower.

 

I also would have figured they would hit it lower and shorter so not necessarily a trade off most of us would want.

post #17 of 20

I've actually caught myself recently teeing the ball up too high. Moving the ball back down has led to both more consistent contact and more accurate drives (in other words, they're longer and straighter than before). I would get into a habit of camping out on my back foot with the ball teed too high since it would make me really want to swing up on it. I still have a positive angle of attack with the lower tee height, but something about it allows me to hit the ball centered on the face more frequently.

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 


I would have figured that everybody would hit the ball straighter if they teed it up lower.

 

I also would have figured they would hit it lower and shorter so not necessarily a trade off most of us would want.

 

 

Pretty much. If you tee it lower, you will probably hit it lower on the sweet spot. This will take launch off the driver, but add spin. If the angle of attack isn't too severe then the ball will just fly much lower. If it is severe then the ball can end up ballooning up a lot. Either case the ball is going to loose distance, which probably means for many people less offline because just less travel time. 

 

The thing is, the accuracy gained doesn't out weight the distance loss. The only time I would consider not hitting driver with a normal shot or switching clubs is when the landing area has enough penalty to it that it creates a scenario were the average strokes is much higher with a normal driver than it is with another shot. Basically if half my landing area is a pond, then that will out weight the strokes lost due to distance. 

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