The anatomy of the perfect driver strike
The next time someone tells you you hit it like a girl, don’t rise to it; they’re probably right. According to TrackMan, the average male golfer delivers the driver to the ball at 93mph – exactly the same as the typical LPGA pro. The longest tour pros get up to around 125mph and World Long Drive champ Joe Miller reaches a scarcely credible 150. Given the range of speeds here, it won’t surprise you to learn that there is not one set of driver impact conditions that work optimally for all. But the launch monitor-derived data detailed here will help you get closer to your own distance potential. If you’re still in any doubt, book a session on FlightScope, GC2 or TrackMan; all three have features that let anyone understand what they need to change to reach max power.
Point of impact 0.5in above centre Spin loft 11º
The vertical roll on your driver makes the higher part of the face more lofted; strike from here and you get a free launch boost, helping carry. A high strike also moderates backspin by triggering vertical gear effect, a phenomenon that sees the ball want to spin in the opposite direction to the way the face deflects. Half-an-inch above centre removes around 450rpm of spin. Some studies also suggest that as the toe moves faster than the heel in a rotating face, a strike slightly into the toe also helps distance. Think of spin loft as the difference between the club’s loft at impact and its attack angle. The closer those two align, the more compression you can generate, and the more you’ll reduce spin. “Joe Miller looks for 3-5º of spin loft to find his optimal flight,” says his coach Lee Cox. “But as club speed drops you’ll need more spin and more spin loft to keep the ball airborne.” TrackMan generally advise a spin loft of around 11º as ideal for the regular player though, as with all elements of optimising, a driver fitting is essential.