Attack Angle – What Is Angle of Attack In Golf?

Only a few understand the brute force in play at the time of contact between golf club and golf ball. This moment of impact plays a major role when it comes to determining distance, spin, trajectory, and more crucial factors like these.

Golfers with a faster swing speed (over 100 mph) automatically achieve a greater clubhead speed (over 150 mph), thus the ball just rockets far off. And it’s all because of an all-out angle of attack during the swing that simply tears through that golf ball.

So the attack angle or angle of attack (one and the same thing) is something that cannot be overlooked. In that case, let’s find out what it really means and what it’s capable of doing.

What Is Angle of Attack In Golf?

What Is Angle of Attack In Golf?

The term, simply put, means the angle at which the clubhead approaches the ball. Is the path ascending (where the head moves up into the ball) or descending (where the clubhead moves down into the ball)? And what is the degree to which this ascending or descending movement takes place? That degree is the attack angle or angle of attack.

When the blow is ascending, the attack angle is positive while it’s negative when you have a descending blow.

To be honest, recreational golfers don’t even have to think about this particular factor in golf. But, on the other hand, competitive play requires you to improve your game in every which way in order to score better. And that could also mean fixing potential angle of attack problems.

Technically speaking, the angle of attack is the vertical path the geometric center of the clubhead takes when the golf ball reaches maximum compression.


  • Men: -1.0 degrees (driver), -4.1 degrees (6-iron)
  • Women: +2.0 degrees (driver), -2.3 degrees (6-iron)


  • Men: -2.1 degrees (bogey golfer), -1.8 degrees (average golfer), -1.2 degrees (10-handicap golfer), -1.1 degrees (5-handicap golfer), -0.9 degrees (scratch golfer)
  • Women: -2.3 degrees (15-handicap golfer), -1.7 degrees (10-handicap golfer), -1.8 degrees (5-handicap golfer), -0.9 degrees (scratch golfer)

Angle of Attack – Understanding Spin

The best shots in golf are actually a result of an attack angle that’s shallow combined with a higher golf club loft. That’s how you’re able to generate greater backspin – when you hit down on that ball.

But then hitting down doesn’t necessarily always produce more spin. The spin rate of the golf ball is majorly generated by a combination of several factors. These include clubhead speed and spin loft, along with friction between ball and club and also the impact position.

A higher-lofted golf club, generally, increases spin. As for spin loft, this is the difference (measured in degrees) between the attack angle and loft angle of the club. When this numerical angle difference is greater, then spin also increases. And vice versa.

Hitting down on the golf ball gives you a lower launch but then it ensures the same spin rate. The angle of attack must be shallow while also preserving the loft of the golf club for producing spin on the ball and making it stop once it touches the green.

Angle of Attack – How It Affects Golf Swing and Ball Flight

A badly hit golf shot is an inevitable outcome of a too shallow or too steep angle of attack.

The attack angle with irons, since hitting down with the iron on the golf ball is how it’s supposed to be, is descending. And that with drivers is ascending because the contact between driver and ball is made on the upswing movement of the driver in order to maximize distance.

Ask just about any Tour player and he/she will tell you how much (and how dedicatedly) they focus and rely on the attack angle golf parameter for hitting Tour-grade shots.

So here are all the important factors of ball flight and golf swing that are determined by the angle of attack…

Smash Factor

When your attack angle with a golf iron is too steep, all of that much-needed, extra energy at impact is not transferred to the ball. Rather it’s wasted into the ground. That’s how you end up with fat shots and deep, sometimes chunky divots.


Once again, an angle of attack too steep produces excessive spin, which is not what you need when it’s too windy or even in the case of crosswinds.

But, on the other hand, if you take a shallow approach to the attack angle, you eliminate the possibility of too much spin. Thus, creating that perfectly stable and penetrating trajectory, no matter the wind or weather conditions.

Launch Angle

For an optimal launch angle with your driver, hitting up on the golf ball is the most effective strategy. This has proven to increase distance potential. So make sure that your angle of attack is positive.


You’re bound to lose distance in the case of an off attack angle. To avoid that, try changing from a negative angle of attack to a positive angle of attack (even by a few degrees). This, in turn, adds 20-30 extra yards just like that without having to increase the clubhead speed.

In the end, it’s as simple as maximizing force transferred to the golf ball through a correct attack angle. Hence, greater smash factor, greater distance, and more stable and piercing ball flight even when windy.

Does Angle of Attack Really Matter Then?

If you want to become a better golfer, then producing the right attack angle can make a whole lot of difference in your level of play. When miles out of line, the angle of attack totally messes up your golf swing, thus leading to poorly hit shots.

A good example would be hitting your wedges with a too shallow angle of attack. You’ll see how this approach, and maybe even when you hit up a little bit, doesn’t generate enough spin for stopping the shot quickly on those firm greens.

So to avoid these kinds of mishaps, you have to understand how the angle of attack works. And how a steeper attack angle or swing can turn out to be a HUGE success!

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1 thought on “Attack Angle – What Is Angle of Attack In Golf?”

  1. I’m not sure what angle of attack you are referring to in golf, but it sounds like you are talking about a different game. In golf, the angle of attack is the angle at which the clubface is directed at the ball.


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