In this day and age of technology knowing you numbers has become a vital aspect of the game. I recently purchased a blast golf sensor for £150 because it would give me feedback on swing tempo and angle of attack. Two metrics that are a vital components that top players manage very well and I felt would benefit me greatly in regards to distance control with my wedges and putter.
I had recently been clunking my wedges a little lately and wasn’t totally happy with my strike. Being -3 and bone hard on the range I couldn’t really see if my ball was spinning or if I was taking a huge divot. Both these factor usually tell me that my angle of attack is too steep
Having read James Sieckmann‘s book The Short Game Solution I have a toolbox of fixes for the different errors that can occur in the short game. However, the feedback I usually used wasn’t available and was also not feedback with solid numbers.
Listening to the James Sieckmann episode of Chasing Scratch James said that the magic number for angle of attack was -6 degrees. At the first opportunity I took my Blast Golf sensor to the range and hit some pitch shots and the results startled me.
My angle of attack was -11. No wonder I was clunking it on the range mat and struggling with crisp contact. What was more when I tried to get my angle of attack shallower I was shocked at how shallow -6 degrees was. My mental feels had been all wrong. I had no idea what -6 felt like.
When I finally nailed a consistent angle of attack of around -6 the results amazed me. Crisp contact with a picked ball that popped up with what felt like plenty of spin. I could even introduce some shaft lead to bring the flight down which was something I could never do. I began to test hitting the ball slightly fat and the results were still manageable. I still got a reasonable shot out of slightly fat strikes because of the shallow angle of attack.
If you don’t have a way to measure your angle of attack just experiment with the different extremes. Get a steep as you can then try a medium and move to as shallow as possible. Note the results and you will find which suits you best. This is good practice because when on the course different lies require different angles of attack. When the ball is sitting down in rough you want to get steeper. When it’s on an upslope or deadpan you want to be shallower. Adding variation to your practice builds your toolbox of shots and helps you understand more outcomes.
Feedback in anything is vital for learning. It gives you the necessary insights to know how your doing and how you are developing in a certain area. When doing my Masters in Education I did a course on assessment. I was told that the most important thing in a students education is that they know where they are in their education. We do this through assessments and assessments should always come with feedback.
The big problem I face with school kids is that they are seldom interested in the feedback. They simply look at the grade and they want the grade so they can feedback how they are doing to their parents. This isn’t the case in golf, we want the feedback respond to it but often overlook the numbers or grading ourselves.
Feedback from coaches is great, but how do we know if that feedback is having a positive effect? Well the simple answer is our scores and handicap drop. That’s the ultimate goal, but when broken down into smaller increments practice can become much more efficient and effective when we incorporate grading ourselves. Only through tracking our outcomes can we explicitly see improvement.
I can recommend the blast sensor as an affordable tool to track angle of attack. I’ve also used it to great effect when giving driving lessons, taking students angles of attack from -7 to +1 just by giving them the solid feedback of what they are actually doing, equipped with the necessary set up changes. I find as soon as a student is presented with convincing evidence it is quite easy for them to change their intentions and make a change.
I can also recommend James Seickmann’s book Your Shirt Game Solution. If you don’t have a system or had any instruction on your short game this book will give you a total system to guide you.
Finally the Chasing Scratch podcast is a good laugh and an insightful journey of two ordinary blokes trying to get to scratch.
I’ll post some more on methods of gaining feedback through your practice sessions. However you get your feedback, it’s important that you log and track your progress. Getting a golf journal in your bag and taking 5 minutes at the end of a practice session and just hitting down what went well and what didn’t is a good place to start.
Hope you enjoyed this weeks blog and that it has a positive Impact on your game.
Mick Parry (Österåsen, March 2022)
Leave a Reply