What Is The Right Angle Of Attack In Golf?

Knowing your angle of attack in golf is key to unlocking your potential, says PGA pro Katie Dawkins

Katie Dawkins hitting a driver at West Hill Golf Club
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The optimal angle of attack in golf depends on so many factors. But before we talk about them, what is the angle of attack? In simple terms, it’s the angle the sweet spot of the clubhead is travelling at when impact occurs. It's an important concept to know, as Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Katie Dawkins explains in the video and article below.

First of all, what makes the ‘right’ angle of attack is all relative to the golfer in question and the club in hand. For example, those with a slower swing need to be careful not to hit down too much. Understanding this is key to unlocking your potential. 

It's also important to know what your angle of attack is, which is why it is always a good idea to see a PGA professional. Not only will this help if you are struggling with your game, but it will also make it much easier to get clubs that match your swing.

PGA pro Katie Dawkins hitting a drive at West Hill Golf Club

Knowing your angle of attack will help you get the most out of your swing

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

So, if you are hitting DOWN on the ball, which is desirable when it comes to iron play and pitching, your attack angle will be NEGATIVE. Assuming your driver address position is as good as it can be, hitting UP is ideal for a driver so you can sweep it off the tee - this would be a POSITIVE angle of attack.


This is where modern technology comes into its own. Launch monitors can provide an incredible amount of data to an incredible degree of accuracy. For example, technology allows us to know that the average LPGA Tour player hits two degrees up on their driver, and they do that because that’s what helps them hit the ball as far as possible. 

PGA pro Katie Dawkins hitting a drive at West Hill Golf Club

Hitting down on your driver (left) will cost you distance. Aim to hit up (right)

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The same is true in the men’s game. Most, if not all of the PGA Tour’s longest hitters will have a positive angle of attack. Dustin Johnson averages around four degrees up when he unleashes a drive. Going further still, the people who compete in long-drive competitions launch it with an upward angle of attack as high as eight degrees.

But, and it’s a big but, with this normally comes a loss of accuracy. So while it pays to be positive with your driver, it’s important not to overdo it as it can land you in trouble. 


Moving onto the irons and this is where it all changes. With more loft comes a need for accuracy and control. A descending blow will generate more spin and give golfers more stopping power to hit and hold greens.

Angle of attack in golf

With an iron in hand, a negative attack angle will help golfers optimise strike and control
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

If you aren’t hitting down on the ball or taking a divot, you’ll suffer from inconsistent strikes, distance and direction. Therefore, work on brushing the grass and hitting down to get the ball to go up. 

And for those who think they are struggling when it comes to either aspect of the game, my advice would be to invest in a lesson where you’ll find out WHY you do what you do.

Often it’s a simple fix, but it can be one that has you achieving the perfect attack angle for your swing, resulting in longer drives than ever before, and deadly approach shots to match.

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth Golf Club she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.