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Smash Factor: What is it?

Smash Factor is the relationship of the clubhead to the golf ball velocity. Put more simply, smash factor is the relationship of the clubhead speed to ball speed.

The USGA has limits on the speed a golf ball can leave a club face. In general, this limit is a ratio of 1.50. This means that 100mph clubhead speed should only generate a 150mph ball speed. This 1.50 ratio is also a good benchmark to measure you own smash factor.

If you’ve got a smash factor over 1.40 you’ve got a decent to very good smash factor. If you’re smash factor is lagging below 1.40 there may be a couple reasons for this inefficient transfer of energy. If you have too much spin, too much of the energy from your clubhead speed is going to be lost to that particular aspect. The same goes with your launch angle.

Maximizing launch angle and spin rate numbers can help in achieving a more efficient smash factor.

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6 Responses to Smash Factor: What is it?

  1. Richard March 23, 2019 at 9:00 am #

    It’s about time for you to straighten that weather station pole behind you.

  2. Raymond CHASTEL January 24, 2020 at 12:09 pm #

    Gene should have mentioned that the proper spot on the clubface which shpuld meet yhe bal ,is above the spot called the “sweet spot ”
    The physics and equations of movement of two objects colllding are pretty easy to write down

    • Gene Parente January 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm #

      Raymond,

      You are correct that the upper ⅓ of the clubbed can maximize distance but in terms of ball speed the center of gravity is the point at which maximum ball velocity occurs. The reason that the upper ⅓ maximizes distance is that it increases launch while decreasing spin. While this increases distance we sometimes see a slight decrease in ball velocity as it moves away from the center of gravity.

      Gene

    • Gary July 18, 2020 at 10:07 am #

      Who cares!
      Are we going to play golf like it’s supposed to be played so everyone can enjoy it, or rename it “Smashball”. Smashball would require a change of rules such as no penalties for off fairway hits; this is already being done by many who would rather smash than play. They abuse the rules of the game and offend those who truly respect the game. They will cheat in order to smash.
      Why not emphasize the rules and make pro’s and amateurs play an identical ball in all respects and place greater restrictions on golf clubs, as to length, head size and response. No other sport has varying characteristics in its equipment like golf, ie tennis, football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, cricket. Given a common ball and equipment would truly reflect the skills and temperament of the very best

  3. Bob Pegram July 19, 2020 at 12:23 am #

    For clarity, as the lofts of the clubs in your bag increase, more of the energy of the clubhead speed gets turned into spin rather than ball speed. So a 9 iron will have a significantly lower smash factor and high spin than a 5 iron for example if they are hit equally well. That is good otherwise the 9 iron wouldn’t bite well. Also, the more bacspin there is ther more sidespin it takes to makes the ball go crooked. That is why it is so hard to intentionally draw or fade a short iron shot much.

    • Gene Parente July 19, 2020 at 6:05 pm #

      Bob,
      Well said. When you get to a 60 degree half wedge shot it is actually a 1:1 ratio of head speed to ball speed. In regard to sidespin you have two factors that minimize side spin: lack of gear effect in an iron, and shorter length which limits wider arcs.

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