Fundamentals for a Better Game – Launch Angle – Part 4

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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This is the continuation of my series titled, “Fundamentals for a Better Game.” The aim of this is to provide ball flight and impact fundamentals any player regardless of skill level can use to become better. In part 1 of this series we discussed Maximizing Distance, part 2 was Smash Facto, part 3 was Spin Rate and now Part 4 is Launch Angle.  

Previous Misconceptions?
Launch Angle is one of the more interesting fundamentals because for the longest time, it seemed so black and white. The largest misconceptions stem around the Launch Angle with a driver and/or fairway wood. The Launch Angle itself is predicated on two factors. A driver/fairway wood has a curved face, meaning it has pitch from top to bottom and left to right. The contact point of the shot directly influences the Launch Angle because the measured loft of the club at impact is variable.  

What is Spin Rate?
The most basic definition of Launch Angle is it’s the angle at which the ball leaves the club face in relation to the ground. There are two factors that contribute to the Launch Angle. Those are Dynamic Loft (the measured loft at impact, not the static loft of the iron) & Attack Angle (the movement of the golf club up or down in relation to the ground).  The difference between those variables creates a vector and the ball launches within that vector. The ball will always launch closer to the Dynamic Loft.  

What Do I need to know?
Really, a few things. One is that if you want to hit it further, optimizing your Launch Angle is the best way to do that. I recommend getting fitted on a TrackMan for this. Really, it’s simple. More loft at impact should result in a higher launch and less loft at impact should result in a lower launch. The most fascinating thing about Launch Angle is how with a Driver because the face rolls from top to bottom, striking a ball 1 inch above or 1 inch below center can dramatically increase or decrease your Launch Angle.

How Can I Practice This?
Practicing Launch Angle is fun. All you have to do is play with it. Try and launch it high, then low. Higher, then lower. There is a tremendously practical application in doing this because on the golf course you never know when you’ll need a high shot or low shot to save par.

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher the past 14 years. Voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State the past 21 years. Trackman Master Certification. Titleist Certified Club Fitter. Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches private lessons at McCormick Ranch Golf Club and conducts all Scott Sackett Signature Schools at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club. If you would like to reach Scott, contact him through his website at or email directly to