Understanding Smash Factor in Golf

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Understanding Smash Factor can help you diagnose problems in your swing, and the SC200 can actually tell you what your smash factor is.

****** You can purchase the Swing Caddie SC200 here ******

Mastering Smash Factor, Maximizing Speed

You know how satisfying a solid drive can be. The clean “thwack” of the club making contact. The spin of the ball. The feel of solid impact.

Nothing feels better than smashing the ball. And smashing the ball begins with a very simple concept:

You have to hit the ball in the center of your clubface.

Of course, if you’ve been golfing any amount of time, you know centering the golf ball is easier said than done. And if you’re new to golf, you may have a difficult time judging your contact simply by the feel of it. The best way to evaluate and improve your contact is by actually knowing your smash factor.

I will explain exactly how to use smash factor to make sure you’re hitting the ball in the center of the clubface. But first, let me clarify exactly what “smash factor” is.

What is Smash Factor?

To put it simply, smash factor is a calculation between your clubhead speed and ball speed. For those who like to know the exact math:

Smash Factor = Ball Speed / Clubhead Speed

So why do we care about this calculation?

Well, the speed of your golf ball depends on two major factors. One factor is the speed of your swing. This is what I mean by “clubhead speed.”

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The other factor is the amount of energy transferred from the clubhead to the golf ball at the moment of impact. This is what we refer to as the “smash factor.” The smash factor tells you if you’re hitting the ball cleanly and in the center of the clubface. Or to look at the big picture: it tells you if you’re making the most of your swing speed.

When using a driver, the smash factor to strive for is 1.5. This is the gold standard.

How do you know what your smash factor is? And once you know, how do you improve it?

It’s easiest to explain by example, so I performed a field test to demonstrate this process. Here’s what happened.

Smash Factor Field Test

As I mentioned, the ideal smash factor on a driver is 1.5. The gold standard is a little lower for an iron, so for the sake of simplicity, I used a driver. In fact, I used my old driver from college. I was just curious how an outdated driver would do compared to the more advanced clubs we use today. This old driver did not let me down.

To measure my smash factor, I used Voice Caddie’s portable launch monitor. I use the SC200 model, also known as the Swing Caddie 2.

If you’re not familiar with the SC200, let me give you a quick rundown of what it’s for and how it’s used.

Using the Swing Caddie 2

The SC200 is an affordable, portable launch monitor. The device is battery operated and is about the size of your smart phone. To use it, you just have to set it up behind your ball. With each shot, the SC200 tells you vital information about your swing. These stats include your carry distance, swing speed, ball speed, and – of course – your smash factor.


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TPA tennis says:

Can you get perfect smash factor with a draw or fade?

RiverRuns NC says:

So if my driver swing speed is 97 and the smash factor is 1.5, is it possible to carry 300 yards?

Clint Bixler says:

Quick question. I just purchased the SC200. Great tool for feedback on the range rather than just bashing balls. In the video, you mentioned "distance was …284, or 284…" etc. On the SC200 it says that is the "carry". So you are you hitting it 284 plus roll or are you hitting it 284 total?

Digital Networker says:

I just did 1.50 with a 9 iron today

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