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johnclayton1982

AoA questions

7 posts in this topic

I am struggling to understand some of the physics behind driver angle-of-attack issues.

I read LSW and thought it was fantastic.  I have been working ever since reading it on achieving a positive AoA with the driver.  I picked two "points" for each green at my local and depending on the flag hit to one or the other (no more pin positions).  Overall, the book has been very positive for me.  My scores arn't lower yet, but I feel more confident on the course with a plan.

My driver AoA has typically been anywhere from -6 degrees to -3 degrees with the driver, as measured right after reading the book.  I have a low, line drive cut with the driver and I hit it fairly consistently.  However, I see a small divergence between my iron distances and my driver distances, and I really want to work on getting a better AoA with the driver as I think it will help me add yards off the tee.  I especially want more carry for a few specific holes at my local, where I have to hit lower than driver b/c I can't clear certain obstacles (I can roll it into the bunkers with a ton of pace on #5, for example, but I can't carry them - this leaves me with a hybrid into the green instead of a PW because the bunkers bisecting the fairway are in the middle of my typical 20-30 yard roll out.  Same on #13 - Bunkers bisect the fairway, so I have to hit lower, and have a long shot into the green).

I hit my 8 iron around 155-160ish, and I carry my driver about 235-240 with a whole lot of roll.  I'm thinking I should be carrying the driver farther.  Is there anything you can extrapolate from my iron carry?  My swing speed is actually kindof all over the place with the driver when I got on a machine, ranging from 91 on the low end to 105 on the high end.  Is this type of range typical?  Most of the swings were in the low 100s, but there were some significant outliers.

Increasing my driver carry would give me a ton more course-planning options as outlined in LSW (another hole #6, has big trees to the left if I could carry it 250 (instead of 230+20 roll) I could have a wedge in instead of the usual 8 iron.)

Some things I don't understand:

1.  Why can't you fix AoA by adding more loft to the driver?  I carry a high-lofted, shorter driver I use like a SLDR-Mini type club.  If I hit down a few degrees with a lofted driver why is it different than hitting up a few degrees with a lower-lofted driver?  In other words, why can't you "improve" AoA by simply adding driver loft?

(Note: I understand that it is wrong to say that you can increase AoA with driver loft, I don't understand why).

2.  I've read in a bunch of places that you should try to "stay back" when you hit the driver, and doing so can help you with a positive AoA.  However, when I try to "stay back" with my body, my clubhead speed drops dramatically and I find it hard to carry it more than 210 or so.  When I drive my hips hard, I can swing much, much harder.  What exactly is meant by "stay back" with the driver?  Is there a good drill/key to understanding how to have a positive AoA while still firing the hips forward?

3. I usually played my driver tee'd low about off my left heel.  After reading LSW, I moved it forward and moved my back foot slightly inside as suggested.  When I do that (tee up slightly higher, forward ball position, back foot pulled back from the target line) I started hitting hard line drive hooks (instead of my usual hard line drive fades).  I suspect its because I pulled my foot back to far from the target line, but putting the ball forward hasn't helped me hit it higher it just turned the cut to a hook.  Not sure why?

4. Is there a good way to measure AoA when i don't have access to a monitor? (which is about once every two months).

5. How does shaft play into ball flight?  My shaft is a "low launch" shaft.  What does that mean?  How does that interact with my launch conditions / AoA?

Thanks in advance for any knowledge.  This forum has been a huge help to me in getting better, especially in terms of understanding the theory behind the way certain things happen.  I think adding more carry to my driver is the best way for me to get better right now, at least at my local.  It would change the way I could play the course.

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1.  Why can't you fix AoA by adding more loft to the driver?  I carry a high-lofted, shorter driver I use like a SLDR-Mini type club.  If I hit down a few degrees with a lofted driver why is it different than hitting up a few degrees with a lower-lofted driver?  In other words, why can't you "improve" AoA by simply adding driver loft?

(Note: I understand that it is wrong to say that you can increase AoA with driver loft, I don't understand why).

2.  I've read in a bunch of places that you should try to "stay back" when you hit the driver, and doing so can help you with a positive AoA.  However, when I try to "stay back" with my body, my clubhead speed drops dramatically and I find it hard to carry it more than 210 or so.  When I drive my hips hard, I can swing much, much harder.  What exactly is meant by "stay back" with the driver?  Is there a good drill/key to understanding how to have a positive AoA while still firing the hips forward?

3. I usually played my driver tee'd low about off my left heel.  After reading LSW, I moved it forward and moved my back foot slightly inside as suggested.  When I do that (tee up slightly higher, forward ball position, back foot pulled back from the target line) I started hitting hard line drive hooks (instead of my usual hard line drive fades).  I suspect its because I pulled my foot back to far from the target line, but putting the ball forward hasn't helped me hit it higher it just turned the cut to a hook.  Not sure why?

4. Is there a good way to measure AoA when i don't have access to a monitor? (which is about once every two months).

5. How does shaft play into ball flight?  My shaft is a "low launch" shaft.  What does that mean?  How does that interact with my launch conditions / AoA?

Thanks in advance for any knowledge.  This forum has been a huge help to me in getting better, especially in terms of understanding the theory behind the way certain things happen.  I think adding more carry to my driver is the best way for me to get better right now, at least at my local.  It would change the way I could play the course.

1) If you add more loft you would just increase spin loft and defeat the purpose. Think of it this way, if you hit down -6 with both the driver and the wedge, which one spins more?

2) Not sure. I would presume it is a general term used to describe something that might feel different depending on the golfer. I would post a video of your driver swing (face on), in your My Swing thread (create one if you haven't already)

4) Generally ball flight. If the ball starts off like it goes up earlier in the flight, but has a boring trajectory. Hitting down usually produces a ball that starts low and then rises up quickly (ballooning shot). Think more "shot out of a cannon" type trajectory. You can also tell by slow motion video (Face on view)

5) It will produce a lower launch by producing a lower dynamic loft (loft produced at impact). Wont matter much, though if you are finding the ball not carrying as far (due to hitting up), you might have too low of spin. So a mid launching, mid spinning golf shaft might be better. The key is to find that sweet zone where the spin is low enough not to cause too much rise, but high enough to promote maximum carry and roll. Usually it is around 15-17 degrees of launch angle, with 1700-2000 rpm.

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My driver AoA has typically been anywhere from -6 degrees to -3 degrees with the driver, as measured right after reading the book.

That's quite a bit down, so you are probably correct in wanting to improve that.

1.  Why can't you fix AoA by adding more loft to the driver?  I carry a high-lofted, shorter driver I use like a SLDR-Mini type club.  If I hit down a few degrees with a lofted driver why is it different than hitting up a few degrees with a lower-lofted driver?  In other words, why can't you "improve" AoA by simply adding driver loft?

The AoA is the angle at which you're swinging the clubhead. It has nothing to do with loft. Imagine if right before impact you could somehow grab the club and glue a piece of metal with an extra 10° of loft to the clubface, you'd still be hitting down the same amount.

Plus, the more the path of the club (downward) and the delivered loft vary, the more backspin you'll get and the less "compression" (deformation) you'll get as well. So raising the loft is generally bad if you hit down quite a bit. More spin, less ball speed.

2.  I've read in a bunch of places that you should try to "stay back" when you hit the driver, and doing so can help you with a positive AoA.  However, when I try to "stay back" with my body, my clubhead speed drops dramatically and I find it hard to carry it more than 210 or so.  When I drive my hips hard, I can swing much, much harder.  What exactly is meant by "stay back" with the driver?  Is there a good drill/key to understanding how to have a positive AoA while still firing the hips forward?

It means your head, because that controls the left shoulder, which is an approximation of the center of your "swing arc" with virtually all clubs (it's not a true circle, and the "center" if it exists moves around, but I'm speaking loosely here). You can still drive your hips without driving your head forward, though, given your 8I yardages and your clubhead speed with the driver, I'm guessing you drive everything forward in your golf swing and hit the ball lower than you should with ALL clubs, so it's likely going to be a bit more difficult for you.

Do you have a My Swing thread? I don't think you do. That would help…

3. I usually played my driver tee'd low about off my left heel.  After reading LSW, I moved it forward and moved my back foot slightly inside as suggested.  When I do that (tee up slightly higher, forward ball position, back foot pulled back from the target line) I started hitting hard line drive hooks (instead of my usual hard line drive fades).  I suspect its because I pulled my foot back to far from the target line, but putting the ball forward hasn't helped me hit it higher it just turned the cut to a hook.  Not sure why?

Because you're probably rolling the face in addition to having, as you said, pulled the foot back too far. You're probably setting up well too far forward, or moving forward with everything during your downswing. Again, without seeing it in a swing, these are educated guesses, but I'd rank the likelihood as fairly high…

4. Is there a good way to measure AoA when i don't have access to a monitor? (which is about once every two months).

Put a second tee in the ground lightly in front of the teed up ball. Make the top of that tee about the same as the tee off which you're hitting the ball. Just a few inches. Hit the ball solidly without touching the second tee.

It's not really a "measurement" at all, but it will tell you if you're hitting down because you'd clip the second tee.

5. How does shaft play into ball flight?  My shaft is a "low launch" shaft.  What does that mean?  How does that interact with my launch conditions / AoA?

Not a lot. A degree or two.

It doesn't really change AoA.

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I could be something as simple as your setup.  As stated in LSW, move the ball forward in your stance and you will change the AoA.  In addition, you can set up your hips to be slightly forward and preset your weight forward.  Check out this thread.

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Thank you for the great replies all.

Quote:

I'm guessing you drive everything forward in your golf swing and hit the ball lower than you should with ALL clubs,

This is very true, actually.  I'm not sure if its lower than I "should" but I do typically hit the ball lower with my irons.  I have a playing partner that is close to a zero and we have about the same distance, but his goes significantly higher.  I get the ball to stop pretty quickly tho.  The other day (Sunday) I played TPC Louisiana with its fast/hard greens and I couldn't make the ball stop.  It was frustrating.  On my local, though, the ball comes in low, hits and sits.

Quote:
It means your head, because that controls the left shoulder, which is an approximation of the center of your "swing arc" with virtually all clubs (it's not a true circle, and the "center" if it exists moves around, but I'm speaking loosely here). You can still drive your hips without driving your head forward, though, given your 8I yardages and your clubhead speed with the driver, I'm guessing you drive everything forward in your golf swing and hit the ball lower than you should with ALL clubs, so it's likely going to be a bit more difficult for you.

I think I kinda get this.  If the left shoulder goes forward, you are really kinda changing the approach into the ball.

When I look at myself on video, my head comes forward quite a bit with all the clubs in the downswing, although it barely moves it all in the backswing.  Obviously this is poor (no key #1), but I've managed to play fairly good golf this way.  Do you want the head to stay back on all shots, even wedges?  Could this be why I can't, for the life of me, hit a draw?  If the left shoulder goes forward in the downswing, I could totally see how that could throw the club out to in.  I hit fades up and down the course all day, but I can't draw to save my life even on the range.  I'd say in a typical round 80% of my balls curve left to right, even the misses, and the remainder go relatively straight.  I can't remember the last time a ball I hit moved right to left.

I have not yet created a My Swing thread even though I have video of my swing, mainly because I'm scared of getting too many mechanical thoughts.  This is probably silly and I should probably create one.  Basically, the way I got better was making dead certain I had a good impact condition and doing your clubface control drills.  I didn't pay attention to my head very much.  Its probably something I need to do.  My miss with the irons is a line drive cut thats slightly thin, I'm not sure if that relates to my head, but that miss is pretty consistently how I hit the ball when I hit it poorly.  I'm somewhat scared of tinkering too much TBH, as my current swing is OK for getting around the course.

Going to search the forums for Steady head and see if I can find some good drills.

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I have not yet created a My Swing thread even though I have video of my swing, mainly because I'm scared of getting too many mechanical thoughts.

Check this thread out. Mechanics are feel, and everyone is a feel player. You can not have one with out the other. So don't be afraid to delve into using video to aid your progression as a golfer.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnclayton1982 View Post

Thank you for the great replies all.

Quote:

I'm guessing you drive everything forward in your golf swing and hit the ball lower than you should with ALL clubs,

This is very true, actually.  I'm not sure if its lower than I "should" but I do typically hit the ball lower with my irons.  I have a playing partner that is close to a zero and we have about the same distance, but his goes significantly higher.  I get the ball to stop pretty quickly tho.  The other day (Sunday) I played TPC Louisiana with its fast/hard greens and I couldn't make the ball stop.  It was frustrating.  On my local, though, the ball comes in low, hits and sits.

Quote:
It means your head, because that controls the left shoulder, which is an approximation of the center of your "swing arc" with virtually all clubs (it's not a true circle, and the "center" if it exists moves around, but I'm speaking loosely here). You can still drive your hips without driving your head forward, though, given your 8I yardages and your clubhead speed with the driver, I'm guessing you drive everything forward in your golf swing and hit the ball lower than you should with ALL clubs, so it's likely going to be a bit more difficult for you.

I think I kinda get this.  If the left shoulder goes forward, you are really kinda changing the approach into the ball.

When I look at myself on video, my head comes forward quite a bit with all the clubs in the downswing, although it barely moves it all in the backswing.  Obviously this is poor (no key #1), but I've managed to play fairly good golf this way.  Do you want the head to stay back on all shots, even wedges?  Could this be why I can't, for the life of me, hit a draw?  If the left shoulder goes forward in the downswing, I could totally see how that could throw the club out to in.  I hit fades up and down the course all day, but I can't draw to save my life even on the range.  I'd say in a typical round 80% of my balls curve left to right, even the misses, and the remainder go relatively straight.  I can't remember the last time a ball I hit moved right to left.

I have not yet created a My Swing thread even though I have video of my swing, mainly because I'm scared of getting too many mechanical thoughts.  This is probably silly and I should probably create one.  Basically, the way I got better was making dead certain I had a good impact condition and doing your clubface control drills.  I didn't pay attention to my head very much.  Its probably something I need to do.  My miss with the irons is a line drive cut thats slightly thin, I'm not sure if that relates to my head, but that miss is pretty consistently how I hit the ball when I hit it poorly. I'm somewhat scared of tinkering too much TBH, as my current swing is OK for getting around the course.

Going to search the forums for Steady head and see if I can find some good drills.

There is nothing wrong with this mindset.  Many players are worse than you and still happy with their game.

If you want to improve though, I would definitely recommend starting a my swing thread.

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