In the world of golf, every little detail counts. One of the most critical factors that can affect the distance and accuracy of a shot is the vertical launch angle. The angle at which the ball is launched into the air can have a significant impact on the shot height, distance, and overall performance. In this article, we will explore the concept of vertical launch angle, its importance in the game of golf, and how you can improve your launch angle to take your game to the next level. So, get ready to dive into the world of data-driven golf!

What is Vertical Launch Angle?

The vertical launch angle is the angle at which the golf ball is launched relative to the horizon of the radar. Launch angle will influence the shot height and is mostly determined by the dynamic loft and angle of attack.

The ball will launch somewhere between the club’s dynamic loft and angle of attack. Vertical gear effect due to off-centre impact could cause a difference of 6° from top (+2.5°) to bottom (-3.5°) on a driver's face.

Gear effect is what causes the ball to spin following an impact that is off-centre resulting in a clubhead shift. Vertical gear effect is the reason why golfers aim for the sweet spot impact location of just ahead the centre of the clubface as this results in a higher vertical launch angle, reduced backspin and thus, more distance!

What is a good Vertical Launch Angle?

There is certainly a sweet spot for vertical launch angle. If your launch angle is too high, or low, then ball carry distance will be compromised. The PGA Tour average vertical launch angle is 10.8° and the Euro Tour average is 10.4° for a driver. Interestingly, this matches the optimum launch angle suggested by PING but as a rule of thumb, the higher the launch angle with a reduced amount of spin is your best bet to increase distance. However, a good launch angle could be anywhere between 6-16°.

How to improve your Vertical Launch Angle?

For the purpose of this, we are going to focus on increasing your launch angle with a driver although we know that there is a sweet spot. The vertical launch angle mainly depends on your angle of attack of which we can affect in a number of ways:

  • Elevate the ball

This is an artificial way to increase launch angle by simply teeing the golf ball up higher.

  • Shift the ball forward in your stance

If your ball is further back in your stance then you will be swinging down on the ball, rather than up and into the ball if it is at the front of your stance.

  • Tilt your shoulders upwards

Your front shoulder should be higher than your back shoulder so that the angle of attack can come from low to high into the golf ball.

Written by Malcolm Mackenzie

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