Balloons and Rainbows Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote about angle of attack and how it affects your trajectory and distance. If you haven’t read that, click here. I promised to do some shots on a launch monitor to show you actual numbers. So here we are.

For this experiment, I used the Foresight GC2 launch monitor and the nFlight software developed by PING, both courtesy of Golf Depot.

My normal angle of attack with a driver is descending. So I decided to do that first. As expected, contact on the face was above the center, as proven by the impact tape.

high contact

To create an ascending angle of attack, I moved the ball forward in my stance and tried my best to stay behind through impact. Although I actually got some on the sweet spot, the pattern was obviously lower on the face.

low contact

After several shots with both swings, here are the averages on nFlight. Ascending attack is in green. Descending angle is in orange.

launch monitor numbers

I deliberately swung a little slower and used a slightly softer shaft than what I’m accustomed to, just to make this post relevant to more people. I also deliberately left out some information about the shots to avoid confusion. In summary, contact on the lower part of the face produced a lower launch angle, more backspin, and a steeper landing angle. In short… less distance despite similar ball speeds. And remember, I hit the same exact driver for both swing types.

Let’s say you don’t like all this math. Just look at the different trajectories. Which of them do you think will penetrate the wind better? Which do you think will run more after landing? I think it’s pretty obvious.

landing angle

Again, I am not saying that swinging up on the ball is wrong. It is only wrong if it causes you to hit the lower half of the clubface. The point here is that speed is not the only consideration when it comes to distance. And reducing the loft is not the only way to produce a better trajectory.


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