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.

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