• Catching the ball on the beginning of the upswing produces a higher launch angle and less spin, leading to greater distance. • At impact, the ball compresses because of the force transferred to it from the clubhead. The ball actually sticks to the clubface, sliding and rolling on it for about .0004 seconds. • After impact, the ball leaves the clubface with whatever launch angle, speed and spin your swing has imparted to it. About 1 percent to 2 percent of deformation in the ball remains, causing tiny vibrations inside. • Once clear of the clubface, the vibrations are damped out, and the ball is on its way. • Striking the ball above the center of the facethe new "sweet spot"promotes a higher launch angle and less spin. These conditions result in a longer, more efficient ball flight that more than makes up for the clubhead rotation (and loss of ball speed) caused by hitting the ball above dead center.
What the Tour Pros Do
On the PGA Tour, one tee size doesn't fit all. We took to the range at Bay Hill to find out how high the best players in the world tee their balls when hitting driverand their philosophies on why it matters.
Darren Clarke: If I tee it too low, I put too much spin on the ball and it shoots up...Zach Johnson: The higher I tee it and the higher I catch it on the face, the less spin I'll get. I want high launch and low spin, and I need every yard I can get...Bubba Watson: I try to stick my tee in the ground as little as possible and then hover my driver over the ground...Ryan Moore: I don't hit the ball very high to begin with, so a little more tee height helps me catch it more on the upswing...Jerry Kelly: Instead of teeing the ball at one height and hitting it as hard as I can, I try to work the ball. Different tee heights are key for me...Camilo Villegas: It's a hard enough game-I don't think about it!...Paul Lawrie: If it's a tight driving hole, I'll tee it down...Bart Bryant: If I tee it a little higher, I might gain a couple more yards, but this seems to be the optimal height for me to hit it straight...Jose Maria Olazabal: People keep telling me to tee it higher, but I'm too stubborn to listen...Jim Furyk: When I tee it real high, I have a hard time getting through the ball. When I tee it lower, I have more control.