Martin Kaymer’s dominant performance was a clinical display of German engineering, which can be attributed to his tuning of his swing and equipment with a radar ball-tracking monitor.
Kaymer is a prodigious ‘practiser’ who thinks nothing of playing for six or seven hours each day.
The key thing he has done is practise the RIGHT things, not just hit balls. His driving and ball striking was an impressive feature of his win.
When I first get a student that wants to work on their driver, one of the pieces of data that I look at is the angle of attack. To do this, I put them on the Flightscope launch monitor.
Angle of attack describes how the driver comes into the ball on the vertical plane. If you struck a golf ball at the very bottom of your swing arc, your angle of attack would be zero degrees. Strike it anywhere before the bottom of the arc and your attack angle (AoA) will be negative, or downward. After the bottom of the arc, you will strike upwards on the ball for a positive AoA.
Research with Flightscope has revealed that to hit your longest drives, you must strike the ball with a positive degree, or upwards, angle of attack.
It is left to the golf instructor to figure out how to position their students to achieve this optimum strike.
And since the average AoA on the PGA Tour is downward, between one and two degrees, there are many teachers out there that aren’t doing this!
Here are a few points that I use with my students to help them raise their angle of attack:
• Just knowing your angle of attack and getting feedback on your AoA is key; once you understand it, it almost improves on its own.
• Adjust your ball position. Every book I ever read or video I watched told me to play the driver off my left heel. With the new ball flight laws, established by Flightscope, this is probably antiquated. The key is to tilt the spine appropriately. No one ball position is right for everyone.
• Use as high a tee as you can to encourage a sweeping blow — teeing the ball down is guaranteed to create a descending blow.
The difference between a five-degree downward strike and an optimal five degree upward strike is about 25 yards with a 90 mph swing speed.
Most golfers I work with for the first time have a negative AoA. If you want up to 25 yards of free distance, know your numbers. Just like Martin Kaymer does.
Paul Adams is the PGA Director of Instruction at Tucker’s Point Club, Flightscope Certified Professional, Certified Golf Fitness TPI Level II, and Certified Club Fitter.