Connect with us

Instruction

The Quest for 300: It Starts with Your Clubs (Part 3)

Published

on

So far in this series I have discussed the prerequisites for hitting a true 300-yard drive. This means hitting it 300-plus yards without the aid of wind, elevation, a sprinkler head or a cartpath.

It is true that only a small segment of golfers who read this are capable of this feat. Heck, many golfers would love to hit their drivers 250 yards once in a while. I understand the struggles of those golfers, and aim to help every one of them hit their drivers as far as they can, even it that distance is much less than 300 yards.

One of the most talked about aspects of driving a golf ball long and straight is the club that is used. Since this article is published on GolfWRX, I feel very confident assuming that my readers are using drivers that are six years old or less. If you are playing something older than this, consider upgrading, because you’re really missing out on forgiveness.

Click here to read other articles written by Steve Pratt.

To maximize performance, a golfer needs a driver that fits their swing, not just an expensive or flashy one. It needs to create the correct launch and spin to have a landing angle between 36 and 39 degrees. If golfers see their tee shots “climb” in the air, and their shots don’t roll much when they land on a firm fairway, they probably have a landing angle of more than 45 degrees. If they hit low line drives, they likely have a landing angle under 30.

There are infinite combination of launch angles and spin rates that will produce the correct landing angle for a golfer’s course conditions. For example, golfers who play in the desert might get more total yards out of drives with a lower landing angle, while golfers who play in softer conditions might get more distance from drives that carry farther. The ideal launch, spin and landing angle will also vary by a golfer’s club head speed and angle of attack.

Let me give an example of wildly different launch and spin numbers that will produce an optimal landing angle. Some golfers might launch their drives at 6 degrees with 3600 rpms of backspin with a landing angle of 38 degrees. They might get similar results by launching their drivers at 16 degrees with 2200 rpms of backspin. It is a delicate balance, but the distance golfers gain from finding the ideal launch, spin and landing angle will be well worth it. For the golfers who I have fitted, the average gain has been 33 yards.

Here are a couple of tips to help you find the right driver for your swing:

  • The loft stated on the bottom of the club can be misleading. Head design and shaft can change the actual spin loft of that driver by several degrees. Just because you’re a 9.5 in one brand doesn’t mean you will be in another brand — or next year’s model from the same brand.
  • Shaft choice can affect ball flight by affecting the overall spin loft of the club. This is why the “bend profile” and “tip stiffness” of a shaft can be so important. Knowing “cpms” may also come in handy, considering that a stiff shaft in one major brand can differ significantly from another.
  • A golfer’s angle of attack (AoA) will profoundly affect what driver will work best for them, so it is integral that they knows what their AoA is. Keep in mind that AoA does not affect spin rate. Trackman has discovered scientifically (and in practice) that hitting down by itself does not cause an increase in backspin.
  • User error will trump equipment changes by a large margin. Unless a golfer is a really good player (2 handicap or less), they will not see a meaningful differences in spin or ball flight by making small changes in shafts or heads. They’ve got to compare apples to apples, and the average golfer hits a lot of oranges. Even small mishits will result in gear effects that will easily overcome a minor change in equipment.

For example, I’ve seen golfers go from 4000 rpms of spin to 2000 in a half hour without changing gear. They merely worked to hit the ball more solidly and squarely. It would be very difficult to simply change gear and get this much change, and much more expensive too!

While technique plays the biggest role in the efficiency of ball flight, a poorly fit driver can cost golfers as much as 60 yards. If golfers can understand what optimal ball flight looks like and decode what the target audience of a particular driver head or shaft is, they will be on their way to adding free distance off the tee. Their best bet is get on a FlightScope or Trackman with an experienced fitter and learn what they can do to hit it farther.

Coming next: I will talk about a simple training routine that can steadily increase your club head speed so that you can realize your distance goals.

The Quest For 300: How To Bomb Your Driver (Part 1)

The Quest For 300: How To Bomb Your Driver (Part 2)

Your Reaction?
  • 19
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW3
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Steve Pratt teaches full-time at Lindero Country Club in Southern California using Trackman technology. Steve teaches the Mike Austin method of swinging which, using Kinesiology, unlocks the maximum power and accuracy possible from the human body. Steve's clients include many professional long drivers who routinely hit the ball over 400 yards. You can find Steve on the web at www.hititlonger.com, and @hititlonger on Twitter.com.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Steve Pratt

    May 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    @tmk – For 115 mph I like 2000-2300 spin a lot more than 1500. Even at 14 degrees launch I doubt that the ball is hanging up long enough. Can you share what you’re hitting to get that low spin?

    You may have overshot the mark here a bit. The penalty would be not being able to carry bunkers or doglegs on command, which is two advantages a long hit can gain. Of course, the built in hazard of going from, say a 9.0 to a 7.5 is the slight extra curve on a face error.

    • tmk

      May 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Steve. The club I was fitted for that brought my spin down that low is an Adams speedline super LS in an 8.5 degree loft. Loved it on the launch monitor as it was getting me about 15 extra yards. But your prediction was correct. I was able to demo before buying, and, on the course this weekend, in soft conditions, the Adams generally was not quite as long as my gamer (Ping Rapture V2 with Fuji Rombax 6w06, x flex). Now, I’m at a total loss. Maybe just stick with my current gamer.

  2. tmk

    May 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Great article Steve. Quick question — I have a 115 swing speed and recently was fitted to a very low spinning head (slightly lower loft as well). With just this change, my spin dropped from 3000 to 1500. LA is around 14 degrees. All this seems good as I know I’ll get more distance on solid hits. However, I’m sure there is going to be some downside as well. Will I have less control in general? Will mis-hits be penalized more severely? Thanks in advance.

  3. Steve Pratt

    May 15, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Hey Andy!

    A full set of data makes it really easy to give feedback.

    You would ideally want to launch it higher and land it steeper. You could either add loft, keeping the same swing…or you could change the swing direction from -4.8 to +4.8 by swinging significantly more to the right. This will dramatically increase your AoA and launch automatically.

    Of course the kicker is that you will have to square the face to the new path and not leave it open. Overall it appears you are losing about 15-16 yards here.

    • Andy

      May 17, 2013 at 4:14 am

      I’m continually working on getting more from the inside, but this has always been a weak point. I come from a steep swing that was from the outside with a big cast. Now (years later) that’s gone, but when I haven’t played for a while I slip back into that weak cast a little from the outside. The data above shows this clearly.

      Having hardly played in Jan-April (terrible winter here in the UK) it’s as bad as it gets right now and will improve over the summer as I get into comps, training and much more practice.

      But I need to get the swing speed up a LOT if I’m going to get the ball further out there. Right now 98 is an average with my best peaking at 101 / 102.

      I will definitely up the loft on the driver during the winter / wet conditions. But in the summer I’m going to be enjoying watching that ball roll out. 🙂

  4. Andy

    May 15, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Hi again Steve. Still enjoying the articles and especially looking forward to part-4.

    Looking at the Trackman data from the fitting session at TaylorMade Wentworth recently… Landing angle averaged at 32.5 (lowest 31.7, highest 35). Averaging 231 carry + 30 roll.

    I have regular sessions with my PGA Pro and suspect that extra strength / fitness is the key to raising club speed and therefore distance. I doubt that there are any easy fixes.

    Below is my Trackman data for the R1 TP driver with Rul 60 shaft.

    Att Ang — -1.8
    Club Path — -3.1
    Face to Path — 2.1
    Club Speed — 98.7
    Ball Speed — 146
    Launch Angle — 11.2
    Spin — 2553
    Carry — 231.6
    Total — 261.7
    Land Angle — 32.5
    Smash — 1.48
    Spin Ax — 5.3
    Spin Loft — 15.1
    Face Ang — -0.9
    Dyn Loft — 13
    Swing Dir — -4.8

    • Andy

      May 15, 2013 at 5:37 am

      It’s also worth adding that this data was taken with range balls. Although they were 100% compression the fitter stated there would be a small performance loss (up to 5%) over a premium ball.

      Weather was around 9 degrees Celsius and fairly calm. It didn’t rain during the fitting, but had done so earlier. I’m guessing they set the TrackMan to “concrete” ground settings to make you look better – lol.

      The driver was set to 10deg loft, draw bias (10g in the heel -1 in toe), face alignment left as standard.

  5. G

    May 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    You’re not helping manufacturers sell more gear if you’re telling people they can improve their spin rate just by changing their swing in a half-hour session!

    • Andy

      May 15, 2013 at 4:26 am

      We all know that working on our swing is far more important than any equipment. But that fact will never stop us buying more equipment anyway 🙂

  6. Steve Pratt

    May 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    @Niles – Yes chances are pretty good that you can pick up 25 or 30+ yards. From your information I would guess that you have high clubhead speed and a fairly severe negative AoA on the driver (-5 or more). It also sounds like your driver probably fits your current swing pretty well…if the smaller devices can be trusted.

    It would take some adjustments to your swing, but you would probably end up hitting your 3 wood as far as your driver.

    Your first step could be to check out the Trackman locator on their site, or just google it.

  7. Niles

    May 13, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I am a +1 and have a low launch angle (6 degrees or so and create 3300 rpms or so) I’ve never been on a Trackman rather smaller devices at demo days and simulators. I am as long or longer than most people I play with in competitive state and USGA events. I am often told I should hit it further than I do. I am located in Iowa and would love an accurate driver fitting. What are options in central Iowa?? Thanks!

  8. Steve Pratt

    May 13, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Trackman has shown conclusively that AoA has virtually no effect on spin rate. This is because the spin loft stays the same, no matter what the AoA is. You only change dynamic loft and launch angle by hitting down.

    • Tony Wright

      May 13, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks for the reply Steve. So you are saying, as an example – say I am using a 9 degree loft driver, if I hit a drive with a -3 degree AofA and then another with a +3 AofA that the spin rates of the two shots will be the same? Or am I missing something here. Thanks again.

  9. Tony Wright

    May 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    I am enjoying this series of articles thanks Steve. I do have a question. You say AofA does not affect spin rate. That has not been my experience. Can you elaborate with details on why you said that thank you.

  10. nick

    May 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    very beneficial info regarding multiple options to achieve landing angle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instruction

Clement: The best video for beginner golfers ever

Published

on

One of the deep expertise we have is knowing what side you need to be swinging from to enjoy your best golf. Sometimes it’s both sides like me! So many professionals on tour are including left-handed swings (for the right-handed player) in their warm-up routines and practice routines as a great way to create muscle confusion. Our fabulous kinesiologist, Munashe Masawi, confirms this through his studies and personal training for his grueling sport of football.

But there is always one side that fires better, feels smoother, and has the potential for a lot more than the other for many golfers. Which one are you?

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB2
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Instruction

Clement: Important video on grip! (dare we say “historic!”)

Published

on

We so much love being historically correct! Back when I started teaching 35 years ago, when I looked at what the top 5 coaches were teaching, I knew I had to forge my own way. Not only did it not make sense anatomically, it did not make any sense neurologically either! Fast forward to today and we talk about ground forces and how to let the hips turn in the backswing and grip? WHOA, DID THEY MISS THE BOAT THERE!!

This video really takes the cake and REMOVES ALL QUESTIONS AND DOUBT ABOUT GRIP; where to hold it, grip pressure and IN OUR OPINION, THE FIRST TIME IT HAS BEEN REVEALED IN IT’S FULL ANATOMICAL FUNCTIONALITY.

This will end all debates about the “weak grip vs strong grip” argument!

Your Reaction?
  • 8
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP7
  • OB7
  • SHANK9

Continue Reading

Instruction

Clement: Help your girlfriend or wife get some extra yards fast!

Published

on

Nothing beats playing golf with your life partner especially when things are going well! This video has a couple great tips on the art of getting through the ball and for most women, a strong grip is a great asset to that! Keep your eyes open for our new podcast premièring this upcoming Tuesday which will focus on golf instruction that gets you to your next level without any positional thoughts, golf fitness tips that will help you strengthen the parts of your kinetic chain needed to perform optimally and great tips to help your loved ones perform better without the mental fatigue and eyes rolling.

Your Reaction?
  • 5
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK6

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending