How do the Professionals hit the ball so far?
I have recently given quite a few long game clinics and the one question I always get is:
“How do I hit the ball further?”
The answer is quite simple, just find the middle of the golf club every time!
Yes, club-head speed will give you distance, but if you are not utilising the middle of the golf club or 'sweet spot' as it is more commonly known, then you will not get maximum efficiency from that speed.
Basically, the sweet spot is the most efficient part of the golf club-face at transferring energy to the ball.
In other words, a shot that hits the sweet spot will travel farther than a shot that misses it (with the same swing speed and in some cases higher).
The sweet spot is about more than distance, though.
Since the club doesn’t vibrate on a sweet spot strike, the ball launches on a straighter path than when it’s hit on the toe or heel.
Backspin is maximised by the sweet spot, while sidespin (which robs distance and accuracy) is minimised.
Wear marks of good players
Below are a few examples of wear marks on some good players' irons. Note Tiger Woods' club-face in the centre, bottom row.
What is Smash Factor?
Quite simply, Smash Factor is ball speed divided by club speed.
Through the introduction of Launch Monitor Technology over the last few years, many coaches base their teaching around trying to get the student to get maximum efficiency from hitting the ball out of the middle of the golf club whilst swinging on the most natural arc as possible.
*Note – hitting the ball out of the middle of the club still needs to happen with a naturally swinging golf club.
Let me prescribe drills to help with this!
Smash Factor relates to the amount of energy transferred from the club head to the golf ball.
The higher the smash factor the better the energy transfer. A golfer would hope to achieve a smash factor near 1.50 on driver shots.
That means for a 100 mph club speed the ball speed would be 150 mph. The higher the loft of the club, the lower the smash factor is expected to be. A PW should have a smash factor near 1.25.
What does all of this mean?
In a nutshell, if we are trying to generate club-head speed we need to ensure that the we are not trying to generate power through anything but the golf club, controlled through the hands, arms and shoulders.
When they swing in sequence with the body, the centre of the club-head finds the golf ball.
Below are two shots that I hit with a Driver.
My first shot
The first shot was me really trying to give it my all. We can see that:
- I managed to get the club-head speed up to 105.3 mph
- Ball speed was 147.3 mph giving me a Smash Factor of 1.40
- What we can also see is the spin rate of 3250 rpm was a little high, meaning that I didn’t quite catch the middle of the club-face.
From a coaching point, we would look at how to minimise that spin rate.
In my case when I try to hit the ball harder I tend to use my hips a little too laterally and that gets the club cutting across the ball, thus increasing the spin rate.
My second shot
With the second shot we can see that:
- Even though the club-head speed was not as fast as the first shot, the Smash Factor was a little higher, showing that the ball came a little more out of the centre of the golf club
- The spin rate was also lower and the ball actually went a little further.
I am sure you have hit that shot on the course where it feels like you have swung a lot easier than all previous drives and the ball seems to go further?
That’s right, you have found the sweet spot of your driver!
So how do you work on your smash factor as well as trying to find the sweet spot on your golf clubs?
Firstly the easiest way is to:
- Book in for a lesson!
We can use FlightScope’s superior technology to ascertain what your club is doing as it approaches the golf ball.
Another few options are to:
- Invest in some face tape which you can get quite easily online, or
- Take a marker (non-permanent of course!), colour the club-face in and see where the golf balls leave a mark after you have hit the golf shot.
Try to pay attention to the feeling associated with each shot, have a look at the club-face and you will soon start to get an understanding between what the swing is doing and how it influences what the club is doing.
When you'd like for me to take a look at your swing, come and see me at the Sydney Golf Academy, Moore Park Driving Range (Wed - Sat).
I am always happy to help and answer any questions.
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