Club Head Speed

Increase Golf Club Head Speed to Maximize Distance

In the world of golf club fitting, golf club head speed and swing speed play a vital role in determining how to best pair a set of custom built golf clubs to your swing. Mainly what the swing speed measurement is trying to gauge is which type of golf shaft will be best for your swing.

As a general rule, golfers with slower swing speeds benefit from shafts built with more flex. The increased flex in the golf shaft helps to artificially create more golf club head speed even though the swing speed is slower. It does this by using the “trampoline” affect in the shaft to help propel the ball off of the club face at impact if the timing is right.

Club head speed is a product of swing speed. The two terms are often used synonymously with each other, but they’re not quite the same thing, but that’s a topic for another day. Additional equipment factors like shaft flex and shaft length help to increase club head speed while maintaining the same swing speed. Also, the timing of the release of your wrist cock in the downswing to release the club into the ball increases club head speed at impact where you want it most. This timing takes a little practice.

Swinging the club hard, and maximizing club head speed are so often confused. The specific moves and timing in the golf swing is what help increase club head speed and maximize distance. It’s not the fact that you swing out of your shoes that will always create the most club head speed. And plus, you want to be able to repeat that swing time and again for consistency.

Staying more on the golf club fitting side of things, equipment can really benefit a golfer if they are properly fit for their golf swing. The club shaft is the most important piece of the golf club, and if you’re using the wrong shaft for the wrong swing, you’re leaving a lot of strokes out on the course. To most accurately square your club face and maximize your club head speed, you need the proper golf shaft flex for your swing speed.

Do you know your swing speed?

Swing Speed

Shaft Flex

< 70 mph

Ladies Flex

70-85 mph

Senior

85-95 mph

Regular

95-105 mph

Stiff

>105 mph

X-Stiff

If you’re looking to increase your distance off the tee, you need to marry up your swing speed with the proper shaft flex. And you can do this most accurately by obtaining a swing speed monitor, or going in to your local golf shop to be fitted.

Knowing your club head speed for your normal swing is a must in order to optimize your golf swing. It used to be that you could only determine your club head speed by going to a golf shop to be professionally fitted and have your golf swing analyzed.

It’s getting quite affordable to monitor your club head speed while on the range to maximize your practice time and find your magic swing speed that will make you the most consistent. Click here to determine your swing speed.

Did you know that the average professional PGA Tour player has a swing speed between 108 and 115 mph with their driver? Yet the average weekend golfer has a swing speed between 75 and 95 mph.

It’s no wonder they hit the ball further. Sure they play on nicer courses that are perfectly manicured and the ball rolls for days on the thinly shaven fairways, but the numbers don’t lie. The club head speed is what generates the distance, and that’s what we could all use more of.

Let’s say you carry your driver on average 225 yards in the air. You probably have a swing speed in the area of 90 mph. Figure out your swing speed right now.

Smash Factor

The ratio between your ball speed and your club head speed is what is referred to as “smash factor”. If you take your ball speed and divide that by your club head speed, the resulting value is what is known as your smash factor. There are a number of things that will determine smash factor:
  • How close to the sweet spot on the club face the golf ball is struck
  • How well your shaft flex is matched to your swing speed
  • Material in which the club face is made of (steel, titanium, tungsten, etc.)
  • Type of ball you use
Golf club head speed plays no factor in smash factor, because the smash factor is only the ratio between the club head speed and ball speed. For example, I could have a swing speed of 75 mph, and a ball speed of 112 mph, and my smash factor would be 1.5 (if you do the math, 112/75). At the same time, I could have a swing speed of 115 and a ball speed of 172 mph, and would achieve the same smash factor of 1.5. In the example, the swing speeds were different by 40 mph, but the smash factor was the same.

The key in swing speed is to also look at your smash factor, because a swing speed of 115 mph with a smash factor of 1.3 will only result in a ball speed of 150 mph. While a swing speed of 10 mph less at 105 mph and a smash factor of 1.55 will result in a ball speed of 163 mph.

Off center hits on the club face can result in losing between 10 and 20% of your ball speed than if you hit the ball on the sweet spot. To recap, this is the order of events and the cause and effect relationship for maximizing your distance:

Swing speed along with proper golf swing mechanics will lead to the optimized club head speed. Ball speed is a product of: club head speed, how close to the sweet spot the golf ball is struck, shaft flex based on your swing speed, type of golf ball you play and the material your club face is made from.

For every 1 mph you increase your ball speed, your golf ball will travel 2.5 yards further. Conversely, this works the other way around as well. So a premium is put on centering up the golf ball on the club face to hit the sweet spot as often as you can. This alone will add 10 yards or more to your average drive.

Ball speed is THE number one metric you need to focus on increasing to add distance to your golf shots. Because it’s the ball speed value that ultimately has the final say as to how far your golf ball travels in the air. We’ve just learned the factors that go into creating ball speed. Since ball speed is the number that you need to most concern yourself in increasing, you need to know what yours is, and experiment with your golf clubs and different shots to see which swings produce the optimum ball speed. Now you can know YOUR ball speed.

Knowing your golf club head speed and ball speed numbers is as important to the health of your golf game as knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol to help determine your overall physical health. If you’re serious about improving your golf game and maximizing your distance, click here.

Optimum Ball Speed, Launch Angle and Backspin Relationship Chart

Ball Speed (mph)

Launch Angle (degrees)

Backspin (RPM)

120

15-17

3700-4000

130

14-16

3500-3700

140

13-15

3300-3500

150

12.5-14.5

3000-3300

160

12-13.5

2700-3100

170

11-12

2500-2700

180

10-11

2300-2650

190

9-10

2000-2400

200

7.5-9

1900-2100

210

6-8

1700-1950

What’s YOUR Swing Speed?

 

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