Want more distance off the tee? Get more driver distance with these five key measurements from a launch monitor. Everyone wants more consistency off the tee but if you are looking for more accuracy, consistency AND distance, these are the stats you need to focus on.
Smash Factor and Ball Speed
Smash factor is determined by dividing club speed into ball speed. The optimum ratio is 1.5. This means at a 100 mph driver speed, your ball speed will be 150 mph. This is an efficiency rating of how much ball speed you are getting for your swing speed. Smash factor is determined by where you are hitting the ball on the face, how “hot” the face is and how well the shaft is delivering energy to ball at impact. The better the smash factor, the higher the ball speed which means more distance! As the TrackMan optimizer shows, this player could be getting twenty more yards by getting a better smash factor.
The proper launch angle not only gives you the optimal carry distance but more roll-out as well. Too low and you will not get enough carry and your roll will be limited by the friction of the turf. Too high and your carry will be great but you will get very little roll. The chart on the left will give you an idea of optimal driver launch angle based upon your ball speed.
Spin rate goes hand in hand with launch angle and attack angle. Slower ball speeds require higher spin rates so the ball stays in the air longer (usually over 3,000 rpm). On the flip side, higher ball speeds require lower spin rates to reduce drag (usually 2,500 rpm or lower). In some cases, spin rates can become too low (under 1500 rpm) and the ball will fall out of the sky like a knuckle ball. Spin rate is dramatically affected by where you hit the ball on the face of the club. High spin is usually caused by hitting the ball more towards the heel and/or on the top of the club face. Lower spin is caused by hitting the ball center-to-toe and slightly above the equator.
Swinging up on the ball with your driver is the secret to higher launch, lower spin and potentially more distance. While there is no “Optimum” angle of attack, most of the golfers that we fit that have lower spin, great carry and roll out have attack angles above 3 degrees positive. When you have a positive attack angle you will probably need a lower lofted club to optimize your launch angle as well. It is common for our golfers that have higher attack angles to have driver lofts of 9 degrees or below. Our long drive contestants have 5 -7 degree positive attack angles and use 4 to 6 degree lofted drivers.
Proper Shaft Flex and Profile
The right shaft for your swing dynamics can help you optimize all of the above metrics. Shaft stiffness (butt stiffness) usually determines shot direction, however, shafts that are too soft in the butt section and/or tip section can increase spin and launch angle, thus robbing you of distance. Shafts that are too stiff can reduce launch angle, create a negative angle of attack and also increase spin. While lighter shafts may increase club speed, they may cause you to decrease smash factor because your face impact is not optimized.