• Announcements

    • Welcome to the New Site!   09/30/2015

      Welcome to the brand new TST! Click the title of this announcement to read more about what's new and different here at The Sand Trap!       We're using some new software to power this forum, and while this means some change, it's for the better. However, there will be a few bumps, and one of those may be that you may have a little trouble logging in to your account. So try this: Log in with your existing username and password.If that fails, reset your password here: http://thesandtrap.com/lostpassword/ .If that fails, PM either @mvmac or @iacas and we'll help you out.After that, check out this thread to share any bugs you find along with your likes/dislikes, and check out this thread to see what awesome new features you can use on this site. Finally, once you're on the site, do a few things if you don't mind: Check your account settings. This is where you can clean up your signature.Edit your profile (to possibly include your GAME Golf account). Do this by clicking "Edit Profile" on your name in the top right corner of the site.Add or replace the cover photo on your profile. They're now Facebook-like dimensions. Change your avatar if it looks distorted, too.
    • Failed Logins   10/06/2015

      If you attempt to log in and can not, please email erik@thesandtrap.com or mike@thesandtrap.com (or both) to have your account password re-set. Thank you.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

How Launch Angle, AoA, Spin Rate And Smash Factor Work To Maximize Distance

3 posts in this topic


1. Maximizing Distance

The optimal combination of ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate needed to maximize driving distance for a particular golfer are primarily dictated by the golfer’s club speed and attack angle.

The reason has to do with a tradeoff between ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate. Distance is maximized with a high ball speed, high launch angle, and low spin rate – however, increasing launch angle by increasing the dynamic loft has the side-effect of increasing spin rate and decreasing ball speed. So, a tradeoff must be made, and the optimal tradeoff depends on how an individual delivers the club to the ball. Maximizing ball speed also implies making center impact – or at least close to center impact – as well squaring up club path and face angle.

As an example, someone with a club speed of 90 mph and an attack angle of -5 degrees would maximize carry distance with a ball speed of 129 mph, launch angle of 11.1 degrees, and spin rate of 3690 rpm. Meanwhile, someone else with the same club speed of 90 mph, but an attack angle of +5 degrees would maximize carry distance with a ball speed of 132 mph, launch angle of 16.4 degrees, and spin rate of 2630 rpm.  The golfer who hits up on the ball would end up with more carry: 214 versus 191 yards.

2. Smash Factor

Generally speaking, to maximize ball speed it is more important to improve centeredness of impact than to increase club speed.

An off-center impact is less efficient in transferring energy from the club to the ball, thus some of the power of the club speed is lost, resulting in a lower initial ball speed and consequently less carry distance. Smash factor describes the efficiency of impact and equals the ratio ball speed divided by club speed. Note that in addition to impact, the spin loft and club and ball properties also affect smash factor. This is important because it is common for amateurs to "over-swing". While over-swinging might increase club speed, it may negatively affect centeredness of impact, and net out in decreased ball speed, resulting in reduced carry distance.

As an example, assume someone with a club speed of 90 mph and smash factor of 1.45 can drive a ball so it has a carry of 200 yards. Increasing the club speed to 92 mph but reducing smash factor to 1.40 due to off center hit would result in a new carry of only 196 yards. Instead of increasing the club speed, the golfer could lower the club speed to 88 mph in order to swing under control and increase his or her impact, thereby increasing the smash factor to 1.50 resulting in a carry of 204 yards.

3. Spin Rate

Spin rate is generated primarily by spin loft and club speed; additionally, impact position and friction between the club and the ball (subject to a threshold) affect the amount of spin.

In general, a club with more loft generates more spin, up to the point where there is not enough friction to achieve “grip on the ball.” For iron shots, TrackMan has seen that spin loft (the difference between angle of attack and dynamic loft; SPIN LOFT = DYNAMIC LOFT – ANGLE OF ATTACK) remains virtually constant for a particular golfer, given club loft and club speed, no matter what the attack angle is. This means the myth that “hitting down on the ball creates more spin” is not true. For example, Moving the ball back in the stance generally creates a more negative attack angle, but the dynamic loft will be offset by a similar amount, resulting in an unchanged spin loft and thereby unchanged spin rate.

When impact is below center on the club face, more spin is generated, all else equal. Conversely, when impact is above center, less spin is generated, all else equal. This effect is pronounced on clubs where the center of gravity is significant behind the club face such as on drivers, woods and hybrids.

Reducing the friction below a certain threshold also reduces the spin rate. For example, if there is grass and/or water between the ball and the club, friction will be reduced,

and a low spin “flier” is a likely result.

Launch Angle

Dynamic loft will have a greater influence than attack angle in determining the launch angle of a shot .

The initial launch angle of the ball always falls between the dynamic loft and attack angle at impact. TrackMan data has shown for drivers, that dynamic loft normally accounts for about 85% of the launch angle, while attack angle accounts for the remaining 15%. For irons, the ratio is around 75% dynamic loft and 25% attack angle. For example, a 10° launch angle would result from a iron shot where the attack angle is -5 degrees and the Dynamic Loft is +15 degrees (15 * 75% plus -5 * 25% equals 10).

When friction between the club and ball is too low to get “grip on the ball,” the launch angle will be even more weighted toward the dynamic loft. This explains why “fliers” carry more – they come out at a higher launch angle and with lower spin.

Note that the static club loft together with attack angle primarily determines the dynamic loft, but the “lead/lag” of the shaft and the club head position relative to the hands (also described by the left arm/shaft angle) also play a role.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Want to get rid of this advertisement? Sign up (or log in) today! It's free!


In layman's terms,

The slower the golf swing, the more spin you need to maximize carry. But there is a trade off with roll, but i would rather see maximize carry because roll is determined by ground conditions, so the only thing you can control is carry.

This is why professional golfer's will take a lower lofted driver, it reduces spin. Loft on the driver has very little effect on launch angle, the golf shaft controls that more.

This is were it get's crazy for driver fitting, and is good for us because you can mix and match so many things.

Driver heads - were's the COG?, some will launch higher than others, some will have a higher MOI than others

Loft - Higher loft = more spin, lower loft = lower spin, I took about 500 rpm's off my driver by delofting it by 0.75 degrees

Shaft - were's the kick point, lower kick point = higher launch, higher kick point = lower launch. Golf shafts will also effect spin rate, particularly stiffer shafts = less spin

Swing speed - higher swing speed = higher spin rate

Angle of attack - a more negative angle of attack (Steeper) = higher spin rate

Golf ball - varies, some are more spin than others

So you can really take all this and hone in on how to fit for a driver maximized distance

First look at the swing speed, if its high then you probably don't need help getting the ball to carry far, so i would look at getting a stiffer shaft, mid to high kick point, lower lofted driver. If you still have trouble with ballooning the ball, then you might want to look at shallowing out the driver swing.

For lower swing speeds, you want to maximize carry, but your swing speed doesn't promote enough spin to maintain maximized distance. So you can go for a lower kick point, a softer shaft, and a higher club head loft to help maximize carry.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Originally Posted by saevel25

The slower the golf swing, the more spin you need to maximize carry.

And that's why those softer balls might go a little farther for slower swingers, and why a firmer ball will always have more ball speed. They're just spinning more.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Want to join this community?

    We'd love to have you!

    Sign up now.
  • Posts

    • Why is Polygamy Illegal?
      By Gator Hazard · Posted
      I don't know that it should be criminalized, Silent did bring up a good point however, equality being one of them.  Heck a wife could agree to be one of a number of wives to a polygamist one day and later on decide she wants to have another husband, and if that is the case, how could we in this day and age say that is wrong.   Perhaps a bit off topic: That is a few too many headaches for me, I love my wife dearly.  Honestly, I don't think I could ever love another woman the way I love her, and that has a lot to do with the fact that she loves me and chose me.  I couldn't imagine Christmas morning with three or four wives with a few kids each, or trying to take summer vacation.  Think about trying to remember everything special about each one, special moments, 4 anniversaries to remember, etc. I think it would cheapen the experience for me.  We talk about stuff and one of them is end of life circumstances, my wife is a bit younger than me and I told her she has so much love to give that if she got married again if I died young I could understand it but I could never marry another woman if it was the opposite. Besides, if they are western wives you can just forget about golfing again, ever.  3 or 4 permissions at the same time, all in agreement.... pppbbbttt!
    • Par 4 and 5's are killing me
      By uitar9 · Posted
    • NHL 2015-16 Season
      By mcanadiens · Posted
      Cocaine? There's some late breaking news for you. Nothing like some good PR to kick the season off.  On the 3-on-3s, I'll agree with you that teams will adapt to them over time as they always do. Still, it will result in a lot fewer games going to the shoot out both now and in the future. Will wait for a team to try and stuff it three skaters into the goal. Call it "Operation Meat Shield".   
    • Gun Laws
      By Jeremie Boop · Posted
      I don't totally agree that it's easier to get a gun than a bank loan. The only thing that slows or inhibits people from being able get a loan is credit score and income. If you have a good credit score and sufficient verifiable income you can walk into and out of a bank in less than an hour with a loan. About the same time it takes to purchase a gun. Both require, at it's base, a background check.
    • Tour Player Swing Videos
      By Mike Boatright · Posted
            Of course I gotta post this 
  • Images

  • Today's Birthdays

    No users celebrating today
  • Blog Entries