“Smash Factor” For Golf

“Smash Factor” For Golf

Ever wonder how the pros can hit the ball so far with seemingly little effort? Ever wonder why it feels like you are swinging the club as quick as your playing partners, but your ball doesn’t have the same ‘pop’ to it?

It could be down to your smash factor


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What Is Smash Factor?

You’ve heard of clubhead speed, right?

Well, while clubhead speed is necessary for big booming drives (and 200 yard 7 irons), it’s worthless if that speed doesn’t get transferred to the ball.

Smash factor is a relatively new term which has been popularized by golf ball/head measuring devices such as Trackman. Basically, it refers to the ratio of the ball speed relative to the clubhead speed.

Smash Factor = Ball Speed/Clubhead Speed

As a simple example, if you have a clubhead speed of 100mph and the ball launches at 150mph, your smash is 1.5.


Due to the construction of the ball and clubs (and limits put on them by the R&A), the optimal smash factor with a driver is 1.5.

It is a very efficient ratio, whereas amateurs can often be down averaging 1.3 – effectively losing a lot of ball speed and thus distance.

Increasing your clubhead speed is certainly one way to increase your distance, but improving your smash factor can be an easier and better way (as you will often gain other benefits).

So, how do we increase smash factor?


Face To Path

What hurts you more – if I punch you with a glancing blow, or a dead-on collision.

Let’s test.

The same idea goes for the ball. The more you glance across the ball, the lower the smash.

So, if you are creating massive slices or hooks via a wildly off-line swing path, your smash is going to be lower.


Getting the face and path matched can increase smash factor. Doing the above will cut distance.


Spin Loft

Last week, we discussed spin loft more in-depth. You can read that article (I will link it to the bottom of this post).

Spin loft is basically the same as glancing across the ball and creating a slice/hook, but it is the vertical version.

If there is a big difference between the loft you present at impact (dynamic loft) and direction the club is moving vertically (angle of attack), we will see more spin and a lower smash factor.


The bigger the difference (yellow) between the attack angle and the loft, the lower the smash.


Sweet Spot

This is the “lost art” of golf with amateurs.

While many average golfers are searching for complex secrets, they completely neglect one of the simplest skills – striking the sweet spot.

Although modern clubs are incredibly forgiving these days (allowing people to get away with much worse strikes – hence “lost art”), everyone should be working on this skill.

Howard (a pupil of mine) had his first lesson a couple of weeks ago. He hit 6/10 of his shots as hosel rockets (the dreaded shank). Within a few minutes (using drills from The Strike Plan), he eliminated the shank.

This picture shows his strike pattern (9 shots) a week later.


Needless to say, improving your face-strike not only stops those embarrassing days on the course where you can’t keep the ball in the county, but it increases smash factor.

It also helps greatly improve directional consistency with the driver due to gear effect (see article at the bottom of this post).


Stay Grounded

Ever hit the ground before the ball?

Of course you have – it’s the commonest fault in golf, and it’s the main reason why you are not as good as the pros.


The pros strike the blue zone. You strike the red and yellow. I’ll put money on it.

Hitting the ball with the cold, hard steel of the clubface will get the golf ball going from 0-60 faster than a Bugatti Veyron.

However, hit just a couple of inches of mud first and you will cushion the blow (and slow the clubhead down). As a result, the smash drops enough to make your ball look like it has been hit by a care bear.


What To Do?

Luckily, for members of The Strike Plan, I laid out a comprehensive program with drills, techniques and concepts designed to increase your smash through improvements in

  • Face strike
  • Ground strike
  • Angle of attack

I’m getting a ton of emails through each day by happy customers letting me know how it is not only improving their games, but completely changing their philosophy on playing golf. Like this tweet below


Why not check it out for yourself here. With the season coming to a close, now is a great time to get a plan of action for your winter-range practice.

Click the image link below to see more about The Strike Plan.

Strike plan enter


Other Reading

Spin Loft

Path and Face

Gear Effect


  • Ekky67

    Hi Adam. You say modern clubs are forgiving but is there any data demonstrating that? Just wondered as when I have an off centre strike it still seems to lose a lot of distance and sometimes twist the club head. I use cavity back irons so presumably they should be helping but I wondered if anyone had quantified what that actually means?

    • admin

      Hi Ekky. Modern clubs have higher MOI and so less energy gets lost on off center hits. I’m not sure exactly what the data would be (for example, hit 1 inch from sweet spot) btu there would be lots of other factors at play. It might make a good blog post for me next time

      • Ekky67

        OK thanks. I was thinking of say 100 shots with a 7 iron blade v a 7 iron cavity with some variable strike on either. Measure the distance from sweet spot and correlate with distance from target versus a sweet spot strike. Just wondering how much better the cavity would be versus the blade. It’s a constant selling point for the different types of clubs but I’ve only ever seen statements and theories – never actual facts.
        Keep up the good work – strike plan is great.

  • Dbo

    Hello Adam

    I notice a lot of times as well as playing partners that my ball seems to explode off the driver face with a ton of energy and speed. THen it seems to just drop out of the sky, whereas it looked like it was going to continue to carry for 20-30 more. The ball flight is slight draw. When I see it fade/slice rt. I understand that I’m coming out in with a straight face but glancing blow and accept the ball doing what it does. But not sure when I hit it with a draw that it would lose all that energy and just seem to drop.

    • admin

      I would have to see the ball flight but, typically, a “dive bomber” is a result of a high-toe strike. The gear effect (read my article on gear effect from a few months ago) causes the ball to have more draw spin and less backspin, causing it to drop out of the air.

  • Bay Colony

    Hi Adam!

    Curious to know if you tested the new Titleist balls and if so what you thought about them!?!

    • admin

      Not tested them – smash would remain the same with them as they are limited by the rules. However, launch and spin conditions can be manipulated by the ball type – so most distance increases would come from here (or any aerodynamic changes via dimple design), I believe.

  • John Synan

    All sports come down to one basic idea that the brain interprets what the eyes see! Sounds simple but I believe it is how basketball players can literally throw a ball through a hoop 10 to 25 feet away by using good mechanics but truly by looking at the rim when they shoot. Also a baseball (or cricket) player can hit a round, spinning object(baseball) moving at 90 mph, with a cylinder shaped bat only because they see the ball in motion! Bowling, archery, tennis etc. All use the eyes and brain to meet the objective. My question then is related to this concept in golf. Certainly we golfers must look at the golf ball in order to hit it correctly, but I hear so much about the divot coming after the strike of the ball, Ball first then the ground. This is the optimal function of a well struck ball. Why then are we not taught to look at the front of the ball during the swing as opposed to looking “at the ball” or top of the ball or, heaven forbid the back of the ball. My question is: shouldn’t our eyes concentrate on the front of the ball so our contact with the ground will be in front of the ball. I have never seen this thought in published in golf instructions. Please comment!

    • admin

      You need to see the 3D aim spot module in my program, The Strike Plan.

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