Advances in technology have made driver optimization a realistic goal for amateurs.
Dana Dahlquist has taught the golf swing to everyone from PGA Tour players, Grant Waite and Eric Axley, to the LPGA’s Anna Rawson, actor Michael Pena, and some of the top junior players in Southern California. So the veteran instructor, based at El Dorado Park Golf Course in Long Beach, has his finger on the pulse of all the latest discussions and debates about how golfers can improve their game.
One of the areas that have advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years is driver optimization, thanks in part to adjustable clubs and significant technological improvements in launch monitors, and the data that they can capture. Dahlquist is 100 percent on board with using these new tools to help players get the most out of what they already have.
“We now have technology that proves what the ideal swing conditions are. It’s basically like getting an MRI at the doctor’s office,” Dahlquist said. “You can look at a player’s swing and make a slight adjustment in the face angle, and all of a sudden they have gained 30 yards without swinging any harder, or going to the gym.”
Dahlquist recently found himself picking sides on Twitter in a heated debate between Golf Channel analyst, Brandel Chamblee and four-time major championship winner, Rory McIlroy on whether it’s most effective to hit up or hit down on the ball with your driver. McIlroy delivered some data that argued strongly in favor of hitting up on the ball, and Dahlquist was fully behind that assessment.
“The average amateur golfer needs to hit up on the driver at least four degrees to hit the ball as far and as straight as possible,” Dahlquist said. “The data is out there, and because of that there are universal truths that we can all look at for proof.”
Dahlquist believes that getting the most out of your driver isn’t something only professionals can aim to achieve. With a little bit of work and the right data and instruction, amateurs can improve greatly.
“There is no way to measure angle of attack with the naked eye,” he said. “You can measure other elements of the swing without it, but by and large, looking at angle of attack with an advanced launch monitor is the most important thing you can do to improve how you hit your driver.”