Structured training to improve DRIVER skills by TrackMan Master Chris Reimann using TrackMan and www.golf.training to train yourself.
This is an article for coaches or players who train themselves. We will look at some background on how to train and how driver shots have specific skills that can be improved.
How to train – Technique vs Skill
Looking at a tour player, you realize that they are experts at controlling the ball, no matter what kind of swing they apply. A lot of golf players that I trained over the years have achieved very good results with an approach that uses development of skills that can actually help them to play better.
Seeing this example, you realize that every tour player uses different techniques, but their skill of hitting a drive is obviously very high. They all have the skill of high clubhead speed and the skill to control their face angle amongst other skills, which leads to a perfect ball strike.
The knowledge of motor learning studies and watching players that I’ve trained over the years, made me realize that training most of the time happens without a trainer. It is about players developing their own feeling for a skill since the technique can vary as seen with the tour players above.
This is why I usually focus to develop certain skills with a player. Let’s take a look at which area can be improved and what are the key skills in my opinion. TrackMan can be used for initial analysis, during training and during competitive games. Making training sessions much simpler and more intuitive for the player to develop certain skills.
Before I would start training with a player, I would quickly analyze whether to train distance or direction with a driver. This analysis is based on statistics and helps you to decide what to train, as explained in a previous article.
Let’s say you want to improve distance. The following three skills are dominant to increase total distance with your Driver:
- Clubhead Speed
- Spin (Angle of Attack)
To me, Clubhead Speed is always the initial starting point. Since Clubhead Speed is directly affecting Ballspeed and in the end distance. In the beginning, it is all about clubhead speed, total distance will be achieved with the other two skills.
The second factor in order to maximize distance is center strikes. The more you hit the middle of the clubface the more energy is transferred into the ball.
Drills could be to intentionally hit the toe part of the clubface or the top part of the clubface. Using TrackMan’s Impact Location feature is the ideal way to measure where you strike the golf ball with multiple hits. Intentionally moving the impact location, enables you to hit center strikes more often.
Spin (Angle of Attack)
In order to maximize distance, the last part is to optimize spin. The most important skill to optimize spin is the angle of attack. You achieve this by hitting with an upward motion at the ball which creates a positive angle of attack resulting in a lower spin.
I usually test the ability of a player to create different attack angles between -2° to +6° and analyze the effects on spin and total distance. Theoretically the more you can keep a positive attack angle the lower your spin rate will be. I want players to create a sense of hitting a drive in a downward and upward motion, so that they feel and see the difference.
TrackMan is ideal for monitoring these parameters and raise the belief of a player to hit with a positive angle of attack. Using TrackMan with the Optimizer feature provides an easy way to monitor this during training and maximize distance.
In my training sessions with players, I usually monitor Impact Location in combination with Spin and Clubhead Speed. Taking this step by step usually is the best process for a player to learn all factors.
With TrackMan you can monitor single skill improvements like Clubhead Speed, Spin or Impact, without taking total distance into consideration in the beginning. This gives me the possibility as a coach to develop this step by step with players.
Now let’s look at direction for a Driver. The following two skills are dominant to improve accuracy with a Driver:
- Face Angle
The first directional factor is impact. Hit the club head on the toe and the ball curves to the left. Hit the clubhead on the heel and it curves to the right. Improving center strikes is key to hit straight shots.
Drills could be to intentionally hit the toe part of the clubface or the top part of the clubface, similar to the Impact Drills for Distance.
The second directional factor is Face Angle. With a Driver the ball will start 85% towards your face angle, the remaining 15% are influenced by your club path. Training for accuracy should involve a lot of training on face angle awareness.
Is the player able to control their clubface? The smaller the gap is between Face Angle and Club Path the easier it is for the player to control their ball flight. TrackMan can be used to control Face to Path directly as a feature while in parallel monitoring the face angle and club path separately.
A good sequence is to monitor if a player is able to create different face angle positions intentionally. Based on statistics from the TRACKMAN shot database the following table can give guidance:
|Player Skill Level||Variation of Face Angle (in degrees)||Side Total (in percentage of total shot length)|
|110 Shots per round||+3 and -3||12%|
|100 Shots per round||+2.5 and -2.5||10%|
|90 Shots per round||+2 and -2||8%|
|80 Shots per round||+1.5 and -1.5||6%|
|70 Shots per round||+1 and -1||4%|
|Tour Level||+0.75 and -0.75||3%|
Detailed Explanation based on TRACKMAN reference data: Side total is calculated as a percentage value of total distance. Meaning 1 Degree of Face Angle Variation at a Spin Loft of 10 degrees for a Driver results in 4% Shot Bend. For example, 200 yards shot with 1 degree of face angle will curve 4% which results in 8 yards side total.
In my training sessions with players, I usually monitor Impact Location in combination with Face Angle. A player can master direction when hitting center strikes regularly and controlling their face angle.
Structured Approach to train Driver skills
What is important for good driving. This three-step approach gives you an overview of the necessary steps for structured training.
Following this three-step logic helps to create a structured training approach. Using Trackman in the analysis phase during improvement and during play. This helps to record improvement and eventually achieving a higher skill level.