Want to smash the golf ball prodigious distances? Then you need to increase your “smash factor.”
The definition of this recently coined term is simple: It’s ball speed divided by clubhead speed, as measured by a launch monitor. For example, if the ball leaves your clubface traveling 140 mph, and your clubhead speed at impact is 100 mph, your smash factor is 1.40.
Essentially, smash factor measures how much power is transferred from club to ball. The biggest key to a high smash factor is striking the ball on the club’s sweet spot, thereby maximizing energy transfer from club to ball. Miss-hit shots lower your smash factor.
Here are a few more tidbits about this lesser-known datapoint:
- The less loft a club has, the higher smash factor it will generate. For example, a driver will produce a higher smash factor than a 9-iron.
- According to TrackMan, a leading ball flight measurement company, the average PGA Tour pro’s smash factor is 1.49 with a driver, 1.38 with a 6-iron.
- The average amateur golfer’s smash factor is about 1.44 with a driver.
- Smash factor can sometimes be increased by lowering clubhead speed, assuming the golfer’s contact improves.
- A golfer who swings at 100 mph with a ball speed of 150 (smash factor = 1.50) will outdrive a golfer with the same swing speed and 140 mph ball speed (smash factor = 1.40) by approximately 20 yards. In other words, 1 mph of ball speed equals 2 yards of distance.
- Smash factor is about more than clubhead speed and quality of contact. The club’s Coefficient of Restitution (COR), mass and loft also play a part, as does angle of approach into the ball. On top of all that, the condition of the ball can impact smash factor data. A used ball that has lost compression will decrease your smash factor because it leaves the clubface with less velocity than a new ball.
- Smash factor is sometimes confused with “X-factor,” which measures the difference between a golfer’s shoulder turn and hip turn at the top of the backswing.
Get your smash factor checked out on a launch monitor. (They’re available for use, sometimes for a fee, at many golf shops.) If it’s less than 1.45 with the driver, try these tips for pushing it higher.