Understanding the importance of Impact location
I often repeat that the key to good wedge play at it’s core is controlling Spin Loft and still believe that to be so, this is because so many other factors that influence how your golf ball behaves fall under the umbrella of Spin Loft. Impact Location is one of these variables, let me explain briefly why it falls under the Spin Loft umbrella and then we’ll move on to just how crucial it is to hitting great wedges. Impact location is a product of a few things such as attack angle, dynamic loft and the type of lie the ball finds itself in. You’ll notice that the first two factors are a basic definition of Spin Loft. Dynamic loft defines some limits to where on the face impact can occur, attack angle and lie conspire to define exactly where within those limits impact finally occurs. So let’s talk about the effects of impact location and how significant these can be, particularly the vertical component of it. I’ve taken data from a couple of shots during a recent practice using Foresight’s GC2 with HMT and put them into the graphic below to illustrate a couple of important points. Firstly let me draw your attention to the club delivery differences between shots A & B, shot B has a slightly steeper attack angle and a little less dynamic loft. This should add up to a lower launch angle but as you can see the launch is in fact 1.6º higher with the less lofted and steeper attack. This is entirely down to the impact location moving 6mm lower on shot A, impact location has over powered the combination of attack angle and loft when it came to creating the launch. So what use is this to us? It should assist us with choosing the best method to create the slightly lower impact location that will produce lower flights and more spin (did you notice the difference in spin rate?) As a simple guide, more shaft lean (lower dynamic loft) will move impact location up and a steeper attack angle will do the same. So if you wanted the lowest impact location you would be best served with minimal shaft lean (high loft) and a shallow attack angle, these tend to go hand in hand so are relatively easy to achieve as long as you can control the bottom of what would be a fairly sharp arc. You can of course choose different combination to control either factor and that’s ok too, so long as you understand the implications and risks/benefits of doing so. As mentioned the lie will have an influence on impact location and the flight it creates, firmer = lower, softer = higher. Be sure to bear this in mind when selecting the trajectory of the shot you want to play. If you liked this and would like to learn more about the great wedge shots why not join us at Lake Nona for our PGA Show week short game seminar, find more details here and keep an eye out for my new wedge game videos due in December. James