Long soaring golf drives
When you watch top professional golfers in tournaments on TV or in person, watch their drives. Note the flight of the golf ball through the air. Although it is a bit difficult when viewing on TV to continuously track the ball, due to camera angles and limitations, the ball flight tells a story.
Does the ball look like it is on a long arching trajectory, powered by a strong golf swing with a power driver? Is there much roll along the fairway after the ball hits the ground?
Or does the ball seem to keep rising, seemingly resisting the forces of gravity until finally gives in and drops to the fairway with only a short roll?
The above outcomes represent two different approaches to using ball spin in drives. In fact touring professional sometimes use two drivers in tournaments. Each driver has a different loft for different driving situations.
Design of the clubhead affects backspin
Drivers come with different lofts -- the vertical angle of the clubhead face. In choosing a driver, you should consider your swing speed. If you have a relatively low swing speed -- say 60 to 70 mph -- a club with a higher loft angle (12 degrees) will typically result in longer drives. A 12 degree loft driver for this player will produce about 3000 rpm of backspin.
How does backspin affect the flight of a golf drive?
Think about an airplane in flight. Air flows faster over top of the wing than it does along bottom of the wing. The Bernoulli principle says that lift results when the velocity of the air increases, the air pressure decreases causing lift.
It's the same with a spinning ball. In a drive with a lot of backspin, the lift force is applied to the top of the ball causing an upward force that results in longer ball flight -- and less roll after it hits the fairway. In a drive with less backspin, the result is the opposite -- the lift force on the top of the ball pulling it downward is less resulting in a shorter ball flight -- but possibly more ball roll.
How to hit a golf drive with more backspin
To put more backspin on the drive, the clubface must strike the ball before the bottom of the downswing arc. This means that you should play the ball a bit more toward the center of your stance. Tee the ball a bit lower.
How to hit a golf drive with less backspin
The clubface should make contact with the ball after the bottom of the arc -- as it move upwards. Tee the ball up a little higher. Play the ball a bit more to the left in your stance and don't sole the clubhead at address. Instead raise the clubhead to the position you want it to strike the ball so that the clubface strikes the ball upward.
How to hit a golf drive with average backspin
Strike the ball at the bottom of the swing arc. Play the ball a bit to the left in your stance and tee the ball normally.
Whether you want more backspin or less backspin -- make sure that when you begin your downswing, you begin the rotation with your hips following with your shoulders and shift your weight to your left foot (for right-handed golfers). Don't let the clubface get ahead of your hands.
How to get professional golf instruction -- online
Whether you are a pro, an amateur or weekend golfer, one thing is sure -- you need help to fix your golf swing. An excellent set of golf instructional resources offered by a team of professional golf instructors is available online to help you in every part of your golf game. Follow their advice -- and practice! -- and you will fix your golf swing.
Go to a driving range and practice your drives. Try the setups in this article to vary the amount of backspin on your drives. Before you step up to the tee, do some warm-up exercises to loosen your muscles.
Put backspin to work for you in your golf game!
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