The wrong driver face contact can cost you distance. I fit a golfer yesterday for a driver shaft because he felt he had been losing distance since he bought his new driver. First questions I always ask before we even get on the ball flight monitor: 1. Do you think your ball flight is too high or too low? 2. Do you get a lot of roll after the ball lands? Answers: 1. Sometimes low left but I can also hit a lit cut that is too high. 2. I get very little roll-out after the ball lands. After a few warm-up shots, the TrackMan numbers verified my assumptions: consistent contact on the wrong side of the club face – the heel, and a negative attack angle that was increasing spin. His 12 degree driver was launching at only 12.8 degrees but with 4,560 rpm of spin! His attack angle of -3.8 degrees meant he was hitting down on the ball which also was creating a lot of spin. And he was getting very little efficiency out of his club head speed of 103 mph as his ball speed was only 140 mph.
The shaft he was playing was a stock S flex that tested out at 6.7, or X flex on the FM Precision scale. Our fitting recommendation was to put him in a slightly softer flex, 6.0, and a shaft that was a little firmer in the tip section, and a slightly shorter length. Immediately he started hitting more consistently on the face of the driver and his spin dropped to 3,400 rpm. Just with the shaft change, the attack angle went from -3.8 degrees to -2.1. We then talked about how to get rid of that negative attack angle with a couple of swing changes. As a 7 handicap player, he was able to very quickly pick up the concept of using a little more spine tilt to get him in a position to swing up on the ball and change the tee height so that he could make contact more consistently just slightly above the centerline of the clubface and slightly towards the toe. Within three swings he had gone from -3.8 degree attack angle to +1.4. We than adjusted his driver to a 10.5 degree loft so that he could optimize his launch angle. The result? His driver distance went from 240 to 265! His average ball speed jumped to 152 mph, launch angle settled in at 13.8 and spin dropped to 2,780. His comment? “Wow! I learned a lot in an hour about what was causing my loss in distance. I never thought a shaft and a couple of swing changes could make such a big difference.”
So, if you are not getting the most out of YOUR driver these days, take a look at where you are hitting the ball on the face. Anything low or high and toward s the heel is NOT good. You want to hit the driver slightly towards the toe and slightly above centerline. If that is not happening, get yourself to a qualified clubfitter and see how much you can improve with the proper shaft and technique. Check out our other blog post on making solid contact here…