Connect with us


Dynamic loft, angle of attack and your launch angle



I want you to remember way back to when launch monitors first became commercially available and what they actually measured. My first monitor showed me club speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and smash factor. That was it.

Such data is pretty basic by today’s standards, and as time has progressed and we’ve come to understand more about the club and ball interaction. I want to introduce you to two other terms that you need to understand and their efforts to control your ball’s initial launch angle: dynamic loft and angle of attack.

We’ll examine the data given to us by the old launch monitor and how these two new data points will help us to better understand what is going on in more detail.

Photo 01

As we examine the driver swing of a tour player friend of mine, I want to show you what the old launch monitor would have told me.

  • Club Speed: 110 mph
  • Ball Speed: 162.4 mph
  • Smash Factor: 1.48
  • Spin Rate: 2629 rpm
  • Launch Angle: 11.9 degrees
  • Carry: 268 yards

Based on this information, all I could tell this player with the old launch monitor is that we need to get his launch angle up a touch. But I really wouldn’t know why it was too low until years later when launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope became available. They give me two other vital pieces of the puzzle: dynamic loft and angle of attack.

Since we now know that the launch angle is too low, the real question is why? Based on information given to us Trackman, we now understand that launch angle is comprised of two factors:

  • Angle of Attack: The vertical (up and down) angle the club is moving on during impact.
  • Dynamic Loft: The loft angle of the club at impact.

Factor in the following numbers for this shot:

  • Launch Angle: 11.9 degrees
  • Dynamic Loft: 13.5 degrees
  • Angle of Attack: 2.8 degrees

Understanding that dynamic loft is 85 percent of your ball’s launch angle and angle of attack is 15 percent of your ball’s launch angle, we now see that the dynamic loft of this shot hit was a touch too low.

  • Dynamic Loft: 85 percent of 13.5 degrees is 11.47 degrees.
  • Angle of Attack: 15 percent of 2.8 degrees is 0.42 degrees.

Add those numbers up and you get 11.89 degrees for your launch angle.

Knowing this simple math can really help you to fine tune your ball’s launch angle, and it is now easy for me the teacher to understand exactly what piece of the puzzle is causing your launch angle issues. It might be your dynamic loft, it could be your angle of attack or it could be both!

Knowing all of the information help me make a more educated decision regarding your fitting. So the next time you have a fitting and the fitter says your launch angle is too high or too low, remember these two factors and you will have a better understanding of just why that is.

Your Reaction?
  • 74
  • LEGIT16
  • WOW10
  • LOL6
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP5
  • OB1
  • SHANK13

Tom F. Stickney II, is a specialist in Biomechanics for Golf, Physiology, and 3d Motion Analysis. He has a degree in Exercise and Fitness and has been a Director of Instruction for almost 30 years at resorts and clubs such as- The Four Seasons Punta Mita, BIGHORN Golf Club, The Club at Cordillera, The Promontory Club, and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. His past and present instructional awards include the following: Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, Golf Digest Top 50 International Instructor, Golf Tips Top 25 Instructor, Best in State (Florida, Colorado, and California,) Top 20 Teachers Under 40, Best Young Teachers and many more. Tom is a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 25 people in the world. Tom is TPI Certified- Level 1, Golf Level 2, Level 2- Power, and Level 2- Fitness and believes that you cannot reach your maximum potential as a player with out some focus on your physiology. You can reach him at tomst[email protected] and he welcomes any questions you may have.



  1. Pingback: Launch Angle Vs. Angle Of Attack In Golf - Everything You Need To Know - (MUST READ Before You Buy)

  2. Pingback: How To Put Backspin On A Golf Ball | 2021 Golfers Guide

  3. Golfinghound

    Oct 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Tom, Just found this article – very illuminating. Thanks for the clear description. One question i had was – given the Launch Angle and the Static Loft of the driver, couldn’t you just calculate the Dynamic Loft(DL) and the AoA ?

    DL = Static Loft + AoA
    Launch Angle = 85% of DL + 15% of AoA
    You already know the launch angle from the old trackman data and the static loft on the club. So you now have 2 equations with 2 unknown variables, which should be easy to solve to get the values of DL and AoA. You dont need the fancy new trackman numbers.

    What am i missing ?


  4. Chuck

    Apr 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I don’t know about anybody else, but I am so grateful for straight, solid, plain-English, authoritative writing like this.

    Thank you Tom.

    I am as much of an equipment junkie as the next guy at GolfWRX. “Tour only” could be my middle name. But if I’ve learned anything in the era of internet-fueled golf equipment fanaticism, it is that “Lessons are the best equipment you can buy.”

    • tom stickney

      Apr 26, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you very much for your comments….I try to do my best to make things easier to understand.

  5. BG

    Apr 24, 2014 at 9:37 am

    So how do you use this to fit a club?

    • Tom Stickney

      Apr 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

      The correlation of dl and your aoa controlls your launch angle. All if these factors influence spin rate, carry, landing angle, and roll…which are the keys to your distance output.

  6. AP

    Apr 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    If your angle of attack increases, won’t your dynamic loft increase as a byproduct too?

  7. Mekong

    Apr 22, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Hi tom
    What is the optimum numbers for spin rate, landing angle, launch angle?
    Thanks tom

    • Tom Stickney

      Apr 22, 2014 at 1:05 am

      All depends on your ball speed…

      • Mike

        Apr 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        Can you expand on this answer? For example, would optimum stats for someone with 154 to 157 avg driver ball speed be very different from the example dissected in your article?

        Thank you. Very cool article.

  8. Mekong

    Apr 22, 2014 at 12:58 am

    Hi tom
    How can i compute the spin rate and angle of descent?
    Thanks tom

    • Tom Stickney

      Apr 22, 2014 at 1:07 am

      You need a fitting with someone whom uses a TrackMan, flightscope wyc.

  9. Eric

    Apr 21, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    “Understanding that dynamic loft is 85 percent of your ball’s launch angle and angle of attack is 15 percent of your ball’s launch angle”

    Do you mean…?

    “Understanding that launch angle is the sum of 85 percent dynamic loft and 15 percent of angle of attack”

    • Tom Stickney

      Apr 22, 2014 at 1:08 am


    • mike wakes

      Feb 9, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Eric; I’am on your side. either tom’s not listening or he does not understand the math. Tom,this is good stuff.

  10. MHendon

    Apr 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    That’s some pretty slow club head speed for a 6’4″ tour pro.

    • tom stickney

      Apr 21, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Always in the top 20 of the ball striking category…works for him…never the longest but boy can he hit it! Shot 64 on the last day of qschool to get his PGA Tour Card on the number at PGA West two years ago. Good dude.

    • JJ

      Apr 22, 2014 at 12:34 am


      Typical “WRX” pro douche comment with your XX 118mph SS. He’s on tour, stick to your day job bud.

  11. tom stickney

    Apr 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    The driver is 85/15. The irons are 75/25. Testing done by Trackman.

  12. Gary McCormick

    Apr 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Where does the 85/15 split for dynamic loft/angle of attack come from? Is it always the same?

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.


The Wedge Guy: My top 5 practice tips



While there are many golfers who barely know where the practice (I don’t like calling it a “driving”) range is located, there are many who find it a place of adventure, discovery and fun. I’m in the latter group, which could be accented by the fact that I make my living in this industry. But then, I’ve always been a “ball beater,” since I was a kid, but now I approach my practice sessions with more purpose and excitement. There’s no question that practice is the key to improvement in anything, so today’s topic is on making practice as much fun as playing.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the range, and always embrace the challenge of learning new ways to make a golf ball do what I would like it to do. So, today I’m sharing my “top 5” tips for making practice fun and productive.

  1. Have a mission/goal/objective. Whether it is a practice range session or practice time on the course, make sure you have a clearly defined objective…how else will you know how you’re doing? It might be to work on iron trajectory, or finding out why you’ve developed a push with your driver. Could be to learn how to hit a little softer lob shot or a knockdown pitch. But practice with a purpose …always.
  2. Don’t just “do”…observe.  There are two elements of learning something new.  The first is to figure out what it is you need to change. Then you work toward that solution. If your practice session is to address that push with the driver, hit a few shots to start out, and rather than try to fix it, make those first few your “lab rats”. Focus on what your swing is doing. Do you feel anything different? Check your alignment carefully, and your ball position. After each shot, step away and process what you think you felt during the swing.
  3. Make it real. To just rake ball after ball in front of you and pound away is marginally valuable at best. To make practice productive, step away from your hitting station after each shot, rake another ball to the hitting area, then approach the shot as if it was a real one on the course. Pick a target line from behind the ball, meticulously step into your set-up position, take your grip, process your one swing thought and hit it. Then evaluate how you did, based on the shot result and how it felt.
  4. Challenge yourself. One of my favorite on-course practice games is to spend a few minutes around each green after I’ve played the hole, tossing three balls into various positions in an area off the green. I don’t let myself go to the next tee until I put all three within three feet of the hole. If I don’t, I toss them to another area and do it again. You can do the same thing on the range. Define a challenge and a limited number of shots to achieve it.
  5. Don’t get in a groove. I was privileged enough to watch Harvey Penick give Tom Kite a golf lesson one day, and was struck by the fact that he would not let Tom hit more than five to six shots in a row with the same club. Tom would hit a few 5-irons, and Mr. Penick would say, “hit the 8”, then “hit the driver.” He changed it up so that Tom would not just find a groove. That paved the way for real learning, Mr. Penick told me.

My “bonus” tip addresses the difference between practicing on the course and keeping a real score. Don’t do both. A practice session is just that. On-course practice is hugely beneficial, and it’s best done by yourself, and at a casual pace. Playing three or four holes in an hour or so, taking time to hit real shots into and around the greens, will do more for your scoring skills than the same amount of range time.

So there you have my five practice tips. I’m sure I could come up with more, but then we always have more time, right?

More from the Wedge Guy



Your Reaction?
  • 88
  • LEGIT12
  • WOW1
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK7

Continue Reading


The Wedge Guy: Anyone can be a better wedge player by doing these simple things



As someone who has observed rank-and-file recreational golfers for most of my life – over 50 years of it, anyway – I have always been baffled by why so many mid- to high-handicap golfers throw away so many strokes in prime scoring range.

For this purpose, let’s define “prime scoring range” as the distance when you have something less than a full-swing wedge shot ahead of you. Depending on your strength profile, that could be as far as 70 to 80 yards or as close as 30 to 40 yards. But regardless of whether you are trying to break par or 100, your ability to get the ball on the green and close enough to the hole for a one-putt at least some of the time will likely be one of the biggest factors in determining your score for the day.

All too often, I observe golfers hit two or even three wedge shots from prime scoring range before they are on the green — and all too often I see short-range pitch shots leave the golfer with little to no chance of making the putt.

This makes no sense, as attaining a level of reasonable proficiency from short range is not a matter of strength profile at all. But it does take a commitment to learning how to make a repeating and reliable half-swing and doing that repeatedly and consistently absolutely requires you to learn the basic fundamentals of how the body has to move the club back and through the impact zone.

So, let’s get down to the basics to see if I can shed some light on these ultra-important scoring shots.

  • Your grip has to be correct. For the club to move back and through correctly, your grip on the club simply must be fundamentally sound. The club is held primarily in the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the middle two fingers of the lower hand. Period. The lower hand has to be “passive” to the upper hand, or the mini-swing will become a quick jab at the ball. For any shot, but particularly these short ones, that sound grip is essential for the club to move through impact properly and repeatedly.
  • Your posture has to be correct. This means your body is open to the target, feet closer together than even a three-quarter swing, and the ball positioned slightly back of center.
  • Your weight should be distributed about 70 percent on your lead foot and stay there through the mini-swing.
  • Your hands should be “low” in that your lead arm is hanging naturally from your shoulder, not extended out toward the ball and not too close to the body to allow a smooth turn away and through. Gripping down on the club is helpful, as it gets you “closer to your work.
  • This shot is hit with a good rotation of the body, not a “flip” or “jab” with the hands. Controlling these shots with your body core rotation and leading the swing with your body core and lead side will almost ensure proper contact. To hit crisp pitch shots, the hands have to lead the clubhead through impact.
  • A great drill for this is to grip your wedge with an alignment rod next to the grip and extending up past your torso. With this in place, you simply have to rotate your body core through the shot, as the rod will hit your lead side and prevent you from flipping the clubhead at the ball. It doesn’t take but a few practice swings with this drill to give you an “ah ha” moment about how wedge shots are played.
  • And finally, understand that YOU CANNOT HIT UP ON A GOLF BALL. The ball is sitting on the ground so the clubhead has to be moving down and through impact. I think one of the best ways to think of this is to remember this club is “a wedge.” So, your simple objective is to wedge the club between the ball and the ground. The loft of the wedge WILL make the ball go up, and the bounce of the sole of the wedge will prevent the club from digging.

So, why is mastering the simple pitch shot so important? Because my bet is that if you count up the strokes in your last round of golf, you’ll likely see that you left several shots out there by…

  • Either hitting another wedge shot or chip after having one of these mid-range pitch shots, or
  • You did not get the mid-range shot close enough to even have a chance at a makeable putt.

If you will spend even an hour on the range or course with that alignment rod and follow these tips, your scoring average will improve a ton, and getting better with these pitch shots will improve your overall ball striking as well.

More from the Wedge Guy

Your Reaction?
  • 88
  • LEGIT7
  • WOW1
  • LOL5
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP3
  • OB2
  • SHANK18

Continue Reading


Clement: Don’t overlook this if you want to find the center of the face




It is just crazy how golfers are literally beside themselves when they are placed in a properly aligned set up! They feel they can’t swing or function! We take a dive into why this is and it has to do with how the eyes are set up in the human skull!

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading