This article was originally published on my blog: http://malcolmisaacs.com
Trackman has become an essential part of the game for the better player. Every major manufacturer utilises the ball tracking radar to fit customers with their latest models. Every serious golf facility has either Trackman, Flightscope or GC2 launch monitors.
These devices can help you hit it further, straighter and give you a better swing. Personally I feel I have really benefited
a) by understanding the cause of my bad shots better and
b) by hitting my driver further through increased efficiency.
Lets look at how this is possible.
Before you dive into this article beware! It is quite technical. Some of the information interpreted wrongly could hurt your golf. If this article prompts you to vary your technique or leaves you with more questions than answers don’t hesitate to comment below.
SMASH AND SPIN
Spin loft and smash factor are two of the most important measurements in judging the efficiency of a swing. If you had four golfers with identical swing speeds and equipment you would be able to predict with great accuracy their rank in order of distance (based on an average of 10 shots) based on their ‘spin loft’ and ‘smash factor’.
Smash factor is an equation of ball speed divided by clubhead speed.
1.5 is pretty much the ultimate number for a driver. Anything less than 1.47 for an elite player is quite poor and hints at poor equipment or a series of miss-hits and technique defenciencies. (This is based on premium ball use— be careful with range balls!)
Spin loft is the difference in degrees of a clubs dynamic loft and attack angle.
The smaller this angle the greater the efficiency of the strike (Its an extremely rare fault to have too low a number with driver, such as 7 degrees). This is sometimes referred to as compression. Too big a number increases friction, spin and loses energy. This data has given players a chance to optimise their technique for efficiency and distance.
Rory Mcilroy and Adam Scott both have a club-head speed of around 120mph (PGATOUR.COM — stats) but Rory is significantly longer — around 10–15 yards according to Adam (reference- interview 2014 PGA Championship).
Rory creates his gains through technique. By hitting up on the ball (2–3 degrees versus Adam’s 0 or -1) and launching it a little higher (14 degrees versus 10), he get’s more carry. His higher trajectory with less spin creates this longer carry.
It is not just simple maths though. It is very difficult to change your attack angle in your swing. Achieving an optimum spin loft is a tricky thing to do.