Hit the ball Farther (and still be in the fairway)
When you boil it down, there are 2 variables that determine distance.
- the ball
- the club
Elementary, I know, but we need to understand the difference between the 2. We need to look at the key features of each and how to maximize those for more distance. Let’s look first at the main feature, the ball.
Only 3 factors determine how far a ball goes:
- Launch Angle
(Other variables such as wind, temperature, etc. are not in our control, so for our purposes, we will disregard those for now, and yes spin axis/too much curve will cause you to lose distance, but for simplicity’s sake, we will just look at the main variables)
How do we max out these factors?
GOAL #1 for INCREASING DISTANCE:
Radar Unit: Achieve a SMASH FACTOR of 1.48 or higher
Camera Unit: Achieve a SMASH FACTOR of 1.45 or higher.
If you are using a radar unit such as Flightscope or Trackman, YOUR GOAL is to Achieve a 1.48 or above SMASH FACTOR. If you are using a Foresight GC Quad or GC3, then your goal is to get north of 1.45. Why the difference? The Radar based systems measure differently from the camera based system on the Foresight units. The Camera based system gives you higher club speeds, so slightly lower smash factors.
Speed: Ball Speed (“BS”) is the result of the clubhead speed (“CHS”) and impact quality. Impact quality is represented by the SMASH FACTOR — the ratio of BS to CHS. If your BS is 145 and your CHS is 100 mph, then your smash factor is 1.45. The maximum achievable SF is approximately 1.5 and anything above 1.48 is considered Tour Level. (1.45 or above on Foresight)
HOW TO DO IT: The simplest/only way to create the 1.45+ smash factor is to hit the ball in the sweet spot of the club.
GOAL #2 for INCREASING DISTANCE: Achieve Spin rates below 2400 rpm (ideally 2100 or less) with a Launch Angle between 12-15 degrees.
Spin Rate and Launch Angle:
Two truths emerge from my 15 years of work with launch monitors.
First, almost everyone needs to drastically REDUCE spin on the driver. Based on my analysis of Tour Players and Long Drivers I prescribe LESS spin than what others recommend.
Second, Golfers need to hit it higher. Again, this is based on my analysis of Tour Players and Long Drivers. We want the proverbial HIGH LAUNCH and LOW SPIN for more distance.
Ideal Spin rate should be between 2000-2400 rpm.
Ideal Launch angle should be 12-14 degrees.
Depending on conditions, you might want even less spin or higher launch.
HOW TO DO IT: Get your AoA (Angle of Attack) Positive. Ideally +2.5 or more. The mistake golfers make when hitting ‘up’ on the ball is trying to lift the club up thru impact. It’s better to think of it this way:
Your club is traveling on an arc (similar to a circle). If you hit the club at the bottom of the arc, your AoA will be Zero. If you hit it before the bottom it will be negative and if you hit it after the bottom it will be Positive. Hit it after the bottom of the arc! (with driver)
Side note to Spin/Launch: if you hit too high or too low on the face, this will affect launch and spin. This is just one more reason to find the center of the face! The absolute worst place to contact the ball is low and towards the heel. There is less speed at the heel and there is more spin as you hit lower on the face.
CONCLUSION: The quickest way to more distance is to do the following:
- Achieve a SMASH FACTOR of 1.45+ or higher
- Reduce spin rates below 2400 rpm
- Launch ball at a 12-15 degree angle
Once you do this, you will have ‘maxed’ out your impact geometry…..
To hit it farther, we turn to the second variable: the ball. This is the fun part, training for increased clubhead speed!