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The science behind why this European Tour player tees the ball so ridiculously high

June 5, 2019

As 22-year-old Italian pro Guido Migliozzi was closing out his victory at the Belgian Knockout for his second win in 20 starts last weekend, he hit a shot that astonished the commentary.

It was a knockdown iron that flew like a bullet. The shot wasn’t noteworthy in itself; it was just strange when you consider how incredibly high he teed up the ball.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” one of the commentators said.

Look at that thing! It’s a solid two inches off the ground

How is this possible, considering conventional wisdom is to forgo the tee for low-stinging shots like this?

It’s all about “Spin Loft”

There are exactly three terms one must know to understand how and why Migliozzi hits this shot:

  1. Angle of Attack (AoA)
  2. Dynamic Loft
  3. Spin Loft

In a nutshell, the Angle of Attack is how much your club is swinging down at the ball during your swing. It’s why you hear pros say things like, “I hit down about 2 degrees with my driver.” They’re referring to their Angle of Attack.

The dynamic loft is the loft of the club at impact. Pretty simple.

The Spin Loft is the difference between those two things.

The picture below, courtesy of Trackman, helps illustrate. The red line is the dynamic loft, the blue line is the Angle of Attack, the angle between is the Spin Loft.

The key to hitting the ball low isn’t just hitting down on the ball, it’s mostly about managing your Spin Loft. If the Spin Loft is too high, your ball will have loads of backspin and will fly higher as a result.

You need to keep your Spin Loft low, which is why the key to hitting the perfect punch shot isn’t just to put the ball back in your stance (which increases the Angle of Attack), it’s also to make sure your hands stay ahead of the ball (which de-lofts the club and can help decrease the Spin Loft)

Make sense?

Kind of?

Either way, that’s what Migliozzi is doing here.

Migliozzi is evidently very good at de-lofting the club during his swing, so he needs to make sure he matches that move with an Angle of Attack so the Spin Loft doesn’t get out of control.

Teeing the ball super high is his unique way of managing the Spin Loft. He tees it super high, hovers the club level with the ball, and swings around his body. 

And the result? The Spin Loft stays very low, and the ball flies like a bullet: Low and with very little backspin.

In general, here’s a recipe for the perfect punch shot.

  1. Ball position back (increases Angle of Attack)
  2. Set hands forward (decreases loft)
  3. Keep hands forward (decreases spin loft)