Hit up or down on the driver?

Started by : Connor I. |

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Connor I.


Here is a question many people can't answer, Do you hit up on the golf ball or Down with the driver? I have heard the best way to get the most distance is to hit the ball on the up swing but then again, some of the best drivers of the golf ball hit down on the driver. What is your opinion?

808HACKER


I've been told to hit up on the ball with a driver to maximize hang time and distance.  In your ready position and tilted away from the target line, your club head is going to look a little closed.  If the club is open you may slice your ball.   And, if there is wind against you just put the ball a little further back in your stance to hit it lower.  In reality, it's whatever works for your swing...I think anyways.

I have a question regarding spin...how does your spin numbers affect distance and what is the spin number you want for a 85 MPH swing speed, and lastly how do you achieve that spin rate?


Keano26


You hit the ball at the very beginning of the upswing, hence the ball placement parallel with your left foot. Think of a hula hoop. For irons, the contact is made at the bottom of the swing (bottom of the loop). The driver contact is made just after the bottom of the swing (3 or so inches past the bottom of the hula hoop).

Robert J


The best driver results would come from swings which are level with a slightly ascending (upward) angle for optimum launch. Most pros are this type of swing, and many amatuers, but most have a descending  (downward) angle which decreases launcangle and increases spin.

Connor I.


808HACKER

I've been told to hit up on the ball with a driver to maximize hang time and distance.  In your ready position and tilted away from the target line, your club head is going to look a little closed.  If the club is open you may slice your ball.   And, if there is wind against you just put the ball a little further back in your stance to hit it lower.  In reality, it's whatever works for your swing...I think anyways.

I have a question regarding spin...how does your spin numbers affect distance and what is the spin number you want for a 85 MPH swing speed, and lastly how do you achieve that spin rate?


Well a shot with the driver generally results in 2,000 to 4,000 rpm of spin. I believe that too much spin causes a soaring, " ballooning " ball flight that cuts down on distance with lack of roll after landing. Too little spin will kill the ball's ability to stay in the air, resulting in a short carry. It's important to note that, all other things being equal, the faster a players swing speed, the more backspin created. This is one of the reasons many people play a golf ball that spins less off of the tee. Although golf swings below 90 mph won't see a dramatic increase in distance with a low spin golf ball, the reduced spin will help to lessen severity of slices and hooks. Hope this helps.

Jayme G


You never hit down on a drive or fairway wood. I used to hit down on those clubs and that would result in me topping the ball each time. Swing through the ball and sort up an up ward fashion to get the ball up in the air and solid contact.

Ron M.


Connor I heard the same about hitting down on the driver but, I never see any pro play the ball back in there stance to confirm this...They also seem to have there head behind the ball at impact ...I've seen them play it back to hit a stinger but not a normal drive..I alway's hit the ball on the upswing unless I rotate wrong...

808HACKER


Thanks for the advise Connor :)

Fred C


Given the shaft of the driver is bowed away from the target at impact, the club will hit the ball on an upswing on its own. Just try to swing level and hit the ball solid and you will get maximum distance..

John L


There has been a lot of good advice in this thread. and a lot of good ways to describe what your looking for. i like the hula hoop reference. also the point of stressing its just barely on the up swing. there was some good advice on how high to tee the ball. a lot of this is probably what you would hear from a PGA instructor. I recommend getting with the course pro and have him look at your swing and see if you actually do need any help in this area.

Ron R


I'm 5' 7" and 48 and can still hit some bombs.  For the last 20 years its been tee it up as high as possible and grip it and rip it.  One of the biggest mistakes (IMO) golfers make is resting the driver on the ground; when you do that you take it back in one plane and then swing at the ball in another. Instead, Hover the Driver behind the ball and then take it back and swing through the ball - don't swing up - place the ball slightly more forward allowing you to hit the ball on the slight rise of the 'hula hoop.' This creates top spin which allows the ball to release more on landing improving distance.  Also means your worm-burners will travel further. 

greg g


I'm the type that figures accuracy is the most valuable factor in driving so that being said the ball in a neutral position (low point of arc) is the starting point IMHO.  I work it slightly forward depending on fairway but accuracy is primary focus.  (I hit my drives typically 285 range)  When wind is a factor if it's coming from behind I op for a little more hieght and use the 3 wood so wind can add to the carry.

James B


I was always told it's UP. Make contact with the ball as the clubface starts on the upside of the swing just passed the middle. I think LOL

Marc H


Trackman is really clear on this.  The  results from measuring touring pros is that they swing up 4-5 degrees and swing inside out.  The irons, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite.  They swing down and swing outside in.  Quite different than expected.  Empirical Trackman analysis of face angle and path also verifies that this is the way to hit the ball straight.

Irons, for Trackman, means fairway woods, hybrids, irons, and wedges.   Although the outside to in path gets closer to straight when the loft increases.  No pro hits up on fairway woods unless they want to hit a tremendous hook. 

Next time you watch "On the Range", watch how the pro downswing for irons are always outside the backswing. They are practicing coming slightly over the top and left of the target line.

I'm sure the scientists at Titleist can verify this information.

Olivia S


I always swing up with my driver on the ball. Hasnt failed me yet!

Ryan W


When they say that some pros are hitting down on their driver it's not to the extent of an iron shot. They'll play the ball a fraction further back in their stance with a very slight descending blow on the ball, 3-4 degrees at most. They are willing to sacrifice a few yards for increased accuracy in their mind.

Ming Y


Simple answer 99.99% of us should be hitting up and swinging slightly right of the target for the driver.  Assuming u are righ handed.  Pros depending on how they want to play the shot can hit it with zero to negative angle of attack.  Since their game is based on control they can vary their setup. Kevin streeman likes to have a zero AoA and he did quite well today.  If you want bombs and want max carry then up is the way to go.  Andrewricegolf or waitemayo on YouTube. 

Jack C


Jayme G I totally agree with ya on that I set about 3/5 on head When i come around I want to just smash the ball and while its smashing the club face its lofting  off it  with driver angle  high with a good launch angle low spin so I can get a good bounce out on those med hard farways.

Geoffrey B


Slightly up on the ball

Eric R


Marc H

Trackman is really clear on this.  The  results from measuring touring pros is that they swing up 4-5 degrees and swing inside out.  The irons, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite.  They swing down and swing outside in.  Quite different than expected.  Empirical Trackman analysis of face angle and path also verifies that this is the way to hit the ball straight.

Irons, for Trackman, means fairway woods, hybrids, irons, and wedges.   Although the outside to in path gets closer to straight when the loft increases.  No pro hits up on fairway woods unless they want to hit a tremendous hook. 

Next time you watch "On the Range", watch how the pro downswing for irons are always outside the backswing. They are practicing coming slightly over the top and left of the target line.

I'm sure the scientists at Titleist can verify this information.

 

You're not entirely correct as far as "Trackman" evidence is concerned.  As a reference take a look at:

http://www.trackman.dk/download/newsletter/newsletter6.pdf

PGA Tour pros "on average" have an angle of attack with the driver of -1.3* (that's a descending strike).  Contrast that with LPGA Tour pros, where they hit up with the driver on average of 3*. 

In fact, in the article referenced above (from Trackman's own data and study of touring pro swings), they address the question of "Why is the average PGA Tour attack angle with the driver negative when it is better to hit up on the ball?"  As for the answer the to question, they put forth a few theories, such as pros generate so much club head speed that they are willing to sacrifice a little distance for more accuracy (implies and increase in accuracy by hitting down with driver).  Regardless the Trackman evidence is clear that PGA Tour Pros hit down slightly with the driver.  The question than is should the rest of us mortals hit down with the driver?  Probably not for the simple reason that we're not on the PGA Tour (they're in a league of their own).  I would say we should probably do what the LPGA Tour Pros do, and that is hit up on the ball with the driver.

 

 

Marc H


Eric,

You are correct and probably the only other person in the USA that knows this.    The men touring pros hit down a little and the women hit up.  That is an anomaly that puzzles even Frederick Tuxen http://www.trackman.dk/download/newsletter/newsletter8.pdf.  The only odd thing is that David Toms changed from hitting down to hitting up at 3-4 degrees (see Brian Manzella) and is now the best statistical driver (added 20 yards or so).  So, I guess if you swing at 115 mph, you can still whack it out there.  If you are a normal human, you probably need to hit up.

 

MRH

Fox01v


My driver swing was something that I fought with for sometime now.  I now setup standing much more upright and farther back from the ball on the outside of my foot with only about a quarter of the ball above the crown and my hands a little forward.  I feel I can get the proper swing path this way and I hit it just as I'm starting my upswing.  I do have a fast swing at 122 and play a (913 D3 8.5 D+ White) and average 315-320.  Before the change I felt I was hitting down on it to much and was keeping the club face a little to open leading to a very bad slice, now no slice just a small controlled fade.

Tim S


5% upswing

 

Paxton C


It honestly depends on what your trying to do. For instance, if you are in a long drive contest and you hit one long and you want to build on that, hit up on it. Hitting up on the ball will create less spin, resulting in more carry as well as roll.

Greg F


Connor, Do not try to hit up on the ball. Tee it up just inside your front foot. Swing through the ball, and you should catch it as the driver starts coming up from the bottom of the swing. This should put the correct spin on the ball creating lift, to give you better distance. Pay attention to where on the club face you are contacting the ball. This is best done at a driving range on grass, sprinkle talc powder on the ball, then hit it. If you are too high on the driver, lower the tee a little, or choke down on the shaft a little to get the ball to the sweet spot. If you are hitting lower that the sweet spot, tee it up higher. You will see better results.

Fox01v


Just an update, I went out and played yesterday with my friend and we used a camera to record swings on the tee box since we started talking about how we drive the ball.  It turns out that when I swing my driver I do make contact on the downswing same as all my irons.  Every time after I hit my driver I do clean the club face so I can keep track of my contact point, 913 always leaves the ball outline and dimple marks.