Posted May 19, 2023 in Play Better Golf by Trevor Cigich
Several measurables affect the distance and trajectory of a golf shot, and launch angle is one of the most significant. Launch angle is the angle at which the ball travels immediately after contact relative to the ground. All else being equal, the higher the launch angle, the more vertical the trajectory. A lower launch angle will have a flatter path and more forward momentum.
This has a substantial impact on the golf shot. Generally, the higher the launch angle in golf, the shorter the shot’s distance. Lower launch angles provide more distance, both in the air and after contact with the ground.
To get the results you’re looking for with each golf shot, you need to know what affects your launch angle and what you can do to improve it.
There are a few ways to change the launch angle of a golf shot:
Let’s dive into each and how they affect the launch angle.
|Launch Angle Effect
|Loft directly affects the launch angle by changing the face angle at contact.
|Stiffer shafts, or stiff shafts in the tip section, will often lower the club’s spin and flatten the launch angle.
|The moment-of-inertia is a term referencing how the weight balance of a clubhead affects its forgiveness. Higher MOI typically results in higher spin and launch angles.
While many different aspects of a golf club will slightly alter the launch angle of your shot, these are generally the most significant contributing factors.
Increasing swing speed will usually increase the launch angle. This is why those with slower swing speeds will use higher-lofted, or higher-MOI, clubs to help them get the ball up in the air. This is also part of the reason why more experienced golfers tend to require much stiffer shafts, as we mentioned above that stiffer shafts help reduce spin and flatten a golf shot to extract more distance.
The angle of attack refers to the angle of the clubface when it contacts the ball. While this can be affected by loft, it is also largely dictated by your swing. If you hit the ball closer to the bottom of your swing, your club will be delofted at impact and won’t launch as high. If you strike the ball at or after the very bottom of your swing, you will likely tend toward a higher launch. Regarding the horizontal angle of attack, a more closed clubface will usually produce a flatter shot, while leaving the face more open will increase the launch angle.
There is no one answer for what the right launch angle is. Generally, though, the average golfer would benefit by flattening their launch angle. To help give you an idea of what direction you should work toward, check out the average launch angles of male and female golf tour pros with each club:
|Men’s Pro Average (In Degrees)
|Women’s Pro Average(In Degrees)
Now, these numbers aren’t meant to be direct comparisons, as the average golfer is likely not ever going to achieve them. However, the women’s tour pros tend to have numbers closer to what the average male golfer can attain, as their swing speed is closer.
Either way, you will likely be looking to continually flatten your shots as much as possible without sacrificing accuracy as you improve your game.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t measure your launch angle accurately and consistently with your eyes. Swing analytics tools are vital in learning what your launch angle is and measuring the effectiveness of any changes you make. There are several swing analytics tools available online and in-store at specialty golf shops, from standalone launch monitor units to smaller monitor tools that use your phone to track your shots or connect your phone to trackers that can be attached to your glove or club.
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Trevor Cigich | Director of Retail Marketing | Worldwide Golf Shops
I’ve been at Worldwide Golf Shops for 6 years, and I’ve been playing golf for 23 years. I have played a few mini tour events but now compete occasionally at the amateur level– currently a +2.1 handicap. I am a bit of a tinkerer when it comes to golf and golf clubs. I enjoy testing all aspects of different products, utilizing various fitting systems and learning about all the different club shafts, club lengths, golf balls, and putter styles. Not just for my game, but to help customers of all calibers.
For more content from me and our team, as well as our vast online store, go to www.worldwidegolfshops.com.