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There's much more to learning this game than hitting it long and straight.







        Probable Golf Instruction


June 2014

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Click on any of the following Newsletter topics or just scroll down the page:

High & Low Trajectory Difference

Cool Mornings -- Hot Afternoons

Maximum Height Same for All Clubs

New Technology Trampoline Effect for Distance

New Social Golfer Foursome Pairings Solved


Swing Like a Genius T-shirts

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Swing Speed Radar with Tempo Timer



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High and Low Trajectory Difference

One of the things that the best players practice is trajectory control and consistency. Hitting shot after shot so that they reach the same peak height. You'll recall from my last newsletter that for most golfers, the maximum height for each club is about the same: your 4-iron flies as high as your 9-iron. The 9-iron "appears" to fly higher because it reaches its maximum height soon and at a closer distance to the golfer.

Now, when you hitting balls, it's unlikely that the trajectories with any one club are consistent, even when you are hitting the ball well. For instance, say you are hitting 7-irons. You might be hitting the ball very solidly but some of the shots "seem" to fly signficantly higher than others, especially those that start right of your intended target (for a right swinger).

Those significantly higher shots are likely not that much higher at all. It's all a matter of your perspective again. Recall that a shot that appears to be higher is due to a steeper launch angle.

So lets say you're hitting 5-irons with an average launch angle of 15 degrees. You hit 4 in a row, solidly, and on almost the exact same trajectory at your target. Then, you hit one about 10 yards right of target (assuming you are a right swinger with a push) and it has a higher trajectory that "appears" to be significantly higher. A very plausible launch angle for such a shot is 17 degrees which is only 2 degrees higher.

But again, it's about perspective and comparison. Although your 17 deg shot is only 2 deg higher, relatively speaking, its 13% steeper (2/15 = 0.13). A 13% increase in launch angles "appears" to be a 13% increase in height, but in reality, it's not.

Below are the trajectories for an average PGA Tour 6-iron when it with a square clubface, a 2 degree open and a 2 degree closed clubface. Note that at 100 yards, the square face 6-iron ball is at an incline angle of 14 degrees while the 2 degree open ball is at 16 degrees, 2 degrees steeper (an increase of 14%). The golf ball heights, however, are 27 yards and 32 yards, respectively.


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Cool Mornings -- Hot Afternoons

Now that summer is here, we can have some major temperature changes between morning and afternoon, especiallyif you find your self in a desert like region. Temperatures can be 50 to 60 degrees at dawn and then 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit by afternoon. Hotter temperatures mean the ball will fly farther (and roll farther) compared to the cool mornings. So, make sure you adjust by at least 1/2 club with your irons.

You can use my Golf Club Distance Temperature Calculator to calculate the exact effects.


Trajectory Height Same for All Clubs

Would you believe that you hit your Driver as high as your full pitching wedge? Doesn't it seem like you hit your wedge much higher? It's all perception.

In fact, you hit each club in your bag (with a full swing) about the same maximum height. Why is this? And why does it appear that you hit your short irons so much higher than your longer clubs?

Take a look at the PGA Tour Average Statistics below. Observe how the maximum height for each club is about the same. The LPGA Tour Average heights have a similar pattern except the heights are less.



It all has to do with what you are observing. What's very different between your Driver and full wedge is the launch angle. The full wedge trajectory has a much greater launch angle. Therefore, the ball climbs to its maximum height in a much short distance. The Driver trajectory climbs gradually. Once the ball is at its peak, it's a long ways away, and therefore it appears to be low.

It's much like a distant mountain. It appears to not be very high because it is a long ways away and low on the horizon. But, from experience, your know it is high. Likewise other objects at a distance such as trees and buildings appear very low on the horizon, but you know there are actually high.

A golf ball launched by a short iron like a wedge climbs very quickly, thus it is very high relative to the horizon. You need to be looking more upwards, at a greater angle, to follow its flight than the flight of the Driver. The angle at which you need to look up is greater.


Look at the trajectory graph below. The 3 trajectories are average PGA Tour trajectories as determined by Trackman. The various values such as maximum height, carry distance, launch angle, etc are consistent with the Trackman data above.

Take a look at the trajectory graph below of just the 5-iron and 9-iron trajectories. The trajectory that carries 200 yards is an average 5-iron trajectory for a PGA Tour player. I've marked on each trajectory the angle above the horizon as seen by the golfer during each second of flight.


So, after 1 second, the 9-iron is higher but has travelled less distance (because the ball is not moving as fast as when struck with a 5-iron). Thus, the angle you need to look up at is significantly greater: 20 degrees for the 9-iron and 13 degrees for the 5-iron.

At the 2 second point, the 9-iron angle is about the same, but by 3 seconds, the angle is less at about 13 degrees so it appears that the ball is now falling, while in fact, it's at its maximum height. The 5-iron ball can be seen at 14 degrees, just before it reach maximum height.

Note that between 2 and 4 seconds, the 9-iron angle changes as 20-18-13 while the 5-iron changes as 15-14-11. The 9-iron angle changes more quickly. The 5-iron angle is more steady. The Driver angle, in comparison, is even more steady, hardly changing at all, thus the ball appears to just hang there in flight.

So, there you have it. Another "golf myth" revealed for what it really is. So, next time you hit the high full wedge shot, remember, it's not any higher than your other clubs, it just appears to be because of your perspective of the angle of the ball above the horizon.

Other than curiosity and the need to know, how helpful is this fact of trajectory height for your different clubs. Well, consider choosing a club to hit over a tree. You can hit over the same height tree with a 5-iron as a 9-iron; you just need to be further back with a 5-iron. Knowing where your peak trajectory is for you various clubs is really important when you're trying to clear trees. I'll have more on this in my next newsletter.

Disclaimer: Now, the maximum height for your clubs might not be as clustered as those of the average PGA Tour player. You might actually some of your irons higher due to your swing. PGA Tour players hit their irons with a descending blow (club is moving downwards at impact). You might "scoop" your irons more, releasing your wrists more quickly and increasing the loft of the club. Plus, let's face it, your launch angles (and therefore peak heights) are probably not very consistent. One shot goes high, then low, then really high, .......

If you have access to a club monitor (like a Trackman or Flightscope), see if you can get a profile done of your trajectories. What are your launch angles? maximum heights? etc.

Clubs that use the Trampoline Effect

There is no disputing that technology in recent years has increased how far golfers can hit the ball, especially the professionals. There is countless stories of older PGA players hitting the ball in their later years the same or farther than when they were playing in their youthful prime.

There have been improvements in the golf ball as well as the golf club. This newsletter will focus on the improvements in the golf club. Check out my last newsletter for more on the golf ball.

The significant gain in distance with the Driver came with the invention of hollow, metal face "woods." The hollow metal made possible a "trampoline effect" with the impact of the club face on the ball. This in effect increased the collision time between the club face and the ball (although still very short in the order of micro-seconds), which increases the efficiency of energy transfer, resulting in higher ball speeds.


The measure of efficient transfer is call the coefficient of restitution, or COR. As soon as manufacturers realized the effect, they began to experiment with larger club faces (thus increasing the trampoline effect), so much so that the USGA had to place a limit on it. The old wooden Drivers had CORs on the order of about 0.75 (75% efficiency). The limit set by the USGA is 0.83 (83% efficiency).

Imagine yourself jumping on a trampoline. The flex of the trampoline tarp enables you to bounce and gain significantly more height, especially from the center. Move off towards the outer edges, and the effect is not as greater, plus, you are forced towards the center of the trampoline instead of straight up.

This is an exagerated image of how much the club face flexes as the ball collides with the face.  

With the larger faces also came further distance on mis-hits (when the ball doesn't make contact with the sweet spot of the Driver). Effectively, the sweet spot size was increased, which really benefited those that have the greatest number of mis-hits (higher handicappers). So, distance gained on sweet spot shots and on mis-hits, thus the average distance increase.

Low Handicap Misses Mid to High Handicap Misses

Research with golf robots has shown that there is a significant loss in distance when the ball strikes even 1/4 inch away from the center of the sweetspot, especially when towards the toe of the club. Below is a graphic which shows those losses for a 100 mph swing speed.

Manufacturers today are experimenting with variable thickness club faces to increase the sweet spot even more. This is most beneficial to higher handicap golfers.

So, if you haven't bought a new Driver in the past 5 years, I'd suggest you do so this year, even if it'one of last year's models. But, make sure you test some Drivers using a golf ball monitor (such as Trackman or Flightscope), because the launch angle and amount of backspin is crucial for maximizing your distance (this is influenced with weight placement in the head to alter the center of gravity).


Loft, Launch Angle and Driver Length


Other than club head speed (which is a consequence of your swing), the distance you hit a Driver depends on:

*the amount of trampoline effect due ot the flexible face
*the loft angle of the face
*the location of the center of gravity

What's important is your combination of launch angle, backspin and ball speed. Lower ball speeds will go farther if launched at higher angles than high ball speed. Even many professionals are switching to higher loft Drivers which now are able to launch the ball with lower backspin than before.

I really encourage you to stay away from the long shaft Drivers. Longer shafts will enable most golfers to have higher clubhead speed, but at the same time there will be a change in launch angle and a greater number of mishits. So, when you hit one off the sweet spot, the ball will go farther, but, you'll hit less balls off the sweetspot and end up in the rough (trees and water) more often.

Fellow Canadian Don Irving publish his study last year called, "Driver Test Study," for his Masters Degree. He tested a full range of handicap golfers and found very few benefited from the longer Driver. If you'd like to read the study, email me, and I'll send you a copy.

If you play with a long Driver, please let me know if you find it beneficial to your game.

Below is a table from research done by Tom Wishon, golf clubmaker guru. Note that there is no significant distance gained by using a longer Driver, regardless of handicap group. This would be due to the fact that even if the golfer were able to increase clubhead speed, the golfer would hit the sweetspot less often, and thus lose any distance gained by increased clubspeed. But, there is a signficant amount of increase in lateral dispersion (hitting the ball right or left of the center of the fairway).

Driver Length (in)
Average Distance (yds)
Average Lateral Dispersion (yds)
24 - 36










18 - 23










12 - 17










6 - 11










0 - 5











Another good example of this is single length golf clubs. I play a set of single length irons, with every club being the same length as a standard 7-iron. I hit all of these clubs about the same distance as a regulation set of irons, that vary in length. By far the most significant determinant of distance with irons is the loft of the club. And, the single length clubs are also all the same weight, thus they all feel exactly the same to swing.


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Golf Balls & Temperature -- Learn how temperature affects the distance a golf ball carries. Widgets





To learn more about Intermediate Focus Golf, CLICK HERE


Stages of the Golf Swing

Review the different important stages of the golf swing. Are you getting into the proper positions?. Click on the links below.

Lesson #1: Golf Grip -- The Connection

Lesson #2: Golf Stance & Set-up -- The Foundation

Lesson #3: Golf Swing Plane -- The Swing Slot

Lesson #4: Golf Swing Weight Transfer -- The Athletic Move

Lesson #5: Golf Swing BackSwing -- The Takeaway & Coil

Lesson #6: Golf Swing DownSwing -- Maintain Angles & Transition Period

Lesson #7: Tempo Timing Rhythm -- Backswing/Downswing Ratio


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Trying to find answers on my website? Here's how.

1. Go to my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. There's a link to it on my pages from the left hand menu near the top of the page, just below the Search icon. It's called "FAQs." You then click on the graphic icon and you'll be taken to my database page. For your convenience, here it is:
FAQI've answered hundreds of questions over the past 6 years and have created a fairly large database. You can search it out. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, submit a question and I'll answer it.2. On all of my web pages, there is a search feature in the top left section, right underneath my LOGO. Just place your search keywords in the search box, select "This Site" below it, and then press "Search." What will come up is a Google search of the pages on my site with relevance. You can also search the entire internet by selecting "Web" instead.
Go to my main page now: Home or just check the top left menu of this page. 3. Also, directly under the Google Search area, you'll find a pop down menu called "Your Topic." Select the topic of interest and press "Go."I would suggest you bookmark my main page and/or your specific areas of interest so that you can find them easily in the future. On each page at the very top, there is a link you can click on:
"Click here to add this page to your favourites"Hope you find all you're looking for.You can learn more from NEW Titleist Pro-V1 by clicking HERE.


A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my web site here.

Hope I provided some useful ways for you to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar

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