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Don Golfo

Importance of Strike on Distance

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Many golfers appear to be obsessed with driving distance.  In the drive to increase distance they focus on new drivers, custom shafts and increasing their swing speed. I’d contend that the best way to increase the consistency and length of the tee actually involves improving the way in which they strike the ball.  Average golfers have a swingspeed between 85-95mph.  An averagely poor strike (off centre with a slightly glancing blow) at 85 mph results in a carry of 180-185 yards and barely runs out 195-200 yards in good conditions.  In contrast a pure strike might carry 205 yards and run out past 220 yards. At 95 mph, taking the same approach total driving distance will vary from 230-265 yards. That’s a prize of between 25-35 yards.  Could all the money spent on drivers and shafts be better invested in lessons and understanding how to improve strike and launch conditions?

Edited by Don Golfo

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A perfect strike at 85mph withe the perfect aoa (5° up) will get a carry of 189. 

A perfect strike at 95mph with the “worst” aoa (-5°) will carry 201. 

 

No pure strike at 85 will carry 205 unless aided by wind. 

Speed is more important than aoa as well. And the aoa is much more easily changed from -5 to 5 than the speed from 85 to 95. 

With new drivers having a much larger “sweet spot” the importance of true center hits becomes less important for average golfers as a hit of 1/2“ off centre will result in nearly the same result as the perfec sweet spot hit. 

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1 hour ago, Killa said:

A perfect strike at 85mph withe the perfect aoa (5° up) will get a carry of 189. 

A perfect strike at 95mph with the “worst” aoa (-5°) will carry 201. 

 

No pure strike at 85 will carry 205 unless aided by wind. 

Speed is more important than aoa as well. And the aoa is much more easily changed from -5 to 5 than the speed from 85 to 95. 

With new drivers having a much larger “sweet spot” the importance of true center hits becomes less important for average golfers as a hit of 1/2“ off centre will result in nearly the same result as the perfec sweet spot hit. 

I’m not sure what you are basing your opinions on? My estimates are based on a verified, calibrated, mathematical model. Admittedly it assumes ideal weather conditions and some of the assumptions might not be borne out in practise. It is quite reliable though. 

I also wonder how you could classify a downward hit with an angle of attack of 5 degrees down as a perfect hit? Perfect in what sense?  Certainly it doesn’t lead to any sort of success with a golf driver.

Increasing swing speed is difficult for most golfers. Maintaining a high swing speed over a life time is virtually impossible.  In contrast most people should be able to learn to deliver the club well to create a high launch with low spin.  That optimisation will deliver much better golf outcomes than trying to thrash the ball and being successful one time out of ten?

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This may interest you. Simulations of varying launch angle and the impact that has on carry and roll.  Swingspeed is 85 mph, Smash Factor 1.47, 2500 rpm back spin, no side spin, hard level fairway -mid summer conditions.  The numbers are launch angle, carry yards, total yards:

9, 185, 226; 

10, 189, 224;

11, 192, 225;

12, 195, 225;

13, 197, 226;

14,199.5, 227;

15, 201, 227;

16, 203, 227;

17, 204, 227;

18, 205, 227;

19, 205.5, 227;

20, 206, 226;

The higher launch angles would require a high lofted driver.  It’s therefore unlikely that a spin rate of 2500 rpm could be maintained. I’m guessing though that a 16 degree launch is possible and would peak carry at around 200 yards with 225 yards overall. This gives around 2.6 total yards/mph of swing.  Similar efficiencies have been directly measured on the LPGA tour. 

 

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My opinions are based on the trackman optimizer chart. 

Perfect -5° only means that the contact was perfect. A 5° impact will result in much more carry. 

 

 

7A9E390E-A873-439D-A3B4-F20272D0C7AF.png

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22 minutes ago, Killa said:

My opinions are based on the trackman optimizer chart. 

Perfect -5° only means that the contact was perfect. A 5° impact will result in much more carry. 

 

 

7A9E390E-A873-439D-A3B4-F20272D0C7AF.png

Interesting data. Is that prediction or measurement I wonder? I think Trackman physically measures the ball in the air using Doppler radar. My simulations were based on a higher dynamic loft, resulting in a launch angle a bit higher than the +5 degree angle of attack they’ve used, which might explain the longer carry predictions. My simulations were based on FlightScope’s simulator. 

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Is it really an either/or? Both are important.

 

I think for beginner golfers getting the form right, mechanics of the swing, hitting it flush, good angle of attack, these are all the things to focus on.

 

Swing speed and club fitting become more important for mid level golfers who can hit it straight consistently and are trying to make their game more competitive.

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8 hours ago, Killa said:

My opinions are based on the trackman optimizer chart. 

Perfect -5° only means that the contact was perfect. A 5° impact will result in much more carry. 

 

 

7A9E390E-A873-439D-A3B4-F20272D0C7AF.png

That says TOTAL optimizer, meaning they're assuming some amount of roll. Look at the 189 graphic - it rolls out to 241.

You need to look at the carry optimizer.

image.png

197 yards at 85 MPH.

Higher launch, more spin.

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Depends on the golfer. I used to be a 25 hcp with no training ever. Started playing at 25 years old having never stepped foot on a course in my life. I had a terrible swing. My 7 iron used to be my 150 yd club. I then invested in lessons on and off for 5 years with the same teacher. We started from step 1. Now I'm a 12 hcp and I hit my 7 iron 180 yds. For a hacker like I was no club will ever help you. Go get some lessons. For a mid or low hcp clubs can make a significant amount of difference. 

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I agree with the OP. Regardless of the numbers, tthe quickest for a golfer to increase his distance is to develop a swing with which he can consistently strike the ball solidly and square with the clubface. You can't buy a golf swing in the golf shop.

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On 12/9/2018 at 1:01 AM, Don Golfo said:

Many golfers appear to be obsessed with driving distance.  In the drive to increase distance they focus on new drivers, custom shafts and increasing their swing speed. I’d contend that the best way to increase the consistency and length of the tee actually involves improving the way in which they strike the ball.  Average golfers have a swingspeed between 85-95mph.  An averagely poor strike (off centre with a slightly glancing blow) at 85 mph results in a carry of 180-185 yards and barely runs out 195-200 yards in good conditions.  In contrast a pure strike might carry 205 yards and run out past 220 yards. At 95 mph, taking the same approach total driving distance will vary from 230-265 yards. That’s a prize of between 25-35 yards.  Could all the money spent on drivers and shafts be better invested in lessons and understanding how to improve strike and launch conditions?

I think distance is mainly swing speed and path to face related? Solidness or center strike might be important, but newer driver designs seem to have mitigated some of that requirement?

Very few people I’ve seen and known can hit really pure with a slow swing speed. I think the statistics show that too as the average SS for an average male is 94 mph  with an average distance of 208 yards total.

If the average golfer were capable of better strikes, I’d think the statistics would show that?

Average LPGA is also about 95 mph with an average distance of 246 yards. Very efficient, but that’s why they’re pros...

54 minutes ago, 308 Ragin Cajun said:

I agree with the OP. Regardless of the numbers, tthe quickest for a golfer to increase his distance is to develop a swing with which he can consistently strike the ball solidly and square with the clubface. You can't buy a golf swing in the golf shop.

This is really hard to do, and a good reason why sites like this one exist...

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6 hours ago, Lihu said:

Very few people I’ve seen and known can hit really pure with a slow swing speed. I think the statistics show that too as the average SS for an average male is 94 mph  with an average distance of 208 yards total.

If the average golfer were capable of better strikes, I’d think the statistics would show that?

 Average LPGA is also about 95 mph with an average distance of 246 yards. Very efficient, but that’s why they’re pros...

You’re some what making my point here? Hit the ball badly and get a 208 yard result or hit it well and get a great result (246 yards)? To improve your total distance by simply swinging harder is very difficult for most people.  If you are hitting the ball so badly that a 94 mph swingspeed delivers only 208 yards, to increase the total distance to 245 yards, without making swing changes, requires a swingspeed of around 110 mph.  I just can’t see that happening for most people? In addition, quality of strike generally deteriorates as swingspeed increases - it stands to reason that hitting the ball in the middle becomes more difficult if you’re trying to swing out of your shoes.

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First you get the strike...then you get the speed !! Strike is boss...the first thing that you should ask yourself after every shot that you hit is how did I strike it.  If you struck it well...proceed to analyze the shot, and if you didn't strike it well, disregard the results and go back and fix the strike because the shot didn't end up where you wanted it to because poor strike should NEVER be apart of your plan.  In my opinion you aren't truly playing golf until a solid strike can be taken for granted and ignored.  Planning for a miss or taking one extra club is not the same thing either because the intention is to still strike it solidly.  Impact is boss.

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I have played with many high handicap golfers. One thing I have noticed is how many of them “hood” the club at address. Not just drivers and long irons, but throughout their bag. They set up for a glancing blow to counteract a conglomeration of swing flaws. I cringe when I see when someone address the ball in this manner. A lot of science and engineering went into making the club and they make a mental decision that the club needs a major adjustment. I am not sure if they see what they are doing or not. 

Edited by Carl3

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12 hours ago, Lihu said:

I think distance is mainly swing speed and path to face related? Solidness or center strike might be important, but newer driver designs seem to have mitigated some of that requirement?

Very few people I’ve seen and known can hit really pure with a slow swing speed. I think the statistics show that too as the average SS for an average male is 94 mph  with an average distance of 208 yards total.

If the average golfer were capable of better strikes, I’d think the statistics would show that?

Average LPGA is also about 95 mph with an average distance of 246 yards. Very efficient, but that’s why they’re pros...

This is really hard to do, and a good reason why sites like this one exist...

Hard to do, but that's why most players should spend their money on good instruction instead of the latest "super driver" or $300 shaft that promises them they can hit it 300 yards. Oh yes, and practice

Edited by 308 Ragin Cajun

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7 hours ago, Righty to Lefty said:

First you get the strike...then you get the speed !! Strike is boss...the first thing that you should ask yourself after every shot that you hit is how did I strike it.  If you struck it well...proceed to analyze the shot, and if you didn't strike it well, disregard the results and go back and fix the strike because the shot didn't end up where you wanted it to because poor strike should NEVER be apart of your plan.  In my opinion you aren't truly playing golf until a solid strike can be taken for granted and ignored.  Planning for a miss or taking one extra club is not the same thing either because the intention is to still strike it solidly.  Impact is boss.

You must have a different definition of “solid” than me because I shoot 70 hitting two solid shots the whole round.

Also in your quest for “solid,” @Righty to Lefty, you’ve made compensations in your golf swing to accommodate flaws that are capping your true potential. (Ball way back in your stance.)

That said, strike and speed are important to distance, and I don't necessarily agree with "first you get strike, then you get speed." Speed is important too, and if you're slowing down in order to try to chase "strike" then you might be striking it worse, too. I don't want my students "guiding" or "steering" it either, and many golfers actually hit the ball more solidly when they swing at a good pace, with speed.

7 hours ago, Don Golfo said:

In addition, quality of strike generally deteriorates as swingspeed increases - it stands to reason that hitting the ball in the middle becomes more difficult if you’re trying to swing out of your shoes.

"Swinging out of your shoes" is not the same as "as swing speed increases."

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7 hours ago, Don Golfo said:

You’re some what making my point here? Hit the ball badly and get a 208 yard result or hit it well and get a great result (246 yards)? To improve your total distance by simply swinging harder is very difficult for most people.  If you are hitting the ball so badly that a 94 mph swingspeed delivers only 208 yards, to increase the total distance to 245 yards, without making swing changes, requires a swingspeed of around 110 mph.  I just can’t see that happening for most people? 

Someone who has a 94 mph swing speed and a total distance of 208 and have been golfing for a while is likely NEVER going to develop enough skill to hit the ball 245 yds with the 94 mph swing speed, that's a 35+ yd increase based on strike alone. Could they get 10-20 yds off of strike? Sure. But it's unrealistic to expect every person that swings 94 mph to take lessons and then suddenly be capable of hitting the ball 245. Golf is too hard for that to hold true.

7 hours ago, Don Golfo said:

In addition, quality of strike generally deteriorates as swingspeed increases - it stands to reason that hitting the ball in the middle becomes more difficult if you’re trying to swing out of your shoes.

Do you have a source that backs this up or is just your opinion?

I think amateurs are just as inconsistent on their "fast" swings as they are on their "slow" swings.

 

7 hours ago, Righty to Lefty said:

In my opinion you aren't truly playing golf until a solid strike can be taken for granted and ignored.  

This is horribly flawed logic and would mean that 98%+ of all golfers on this planet arent truly playing golf

Edited by klineka

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7 hours ago, Don Golfo said:

You’re some what making my point here? Hit the ball badly and get a 208 yard result or hit it well and get a great result (246 yards)? To improve your total distance by simply swinging harder is very difficult for most people.  If you are hitting the ball so badly that a 94 mph swingspeed delivers only 208 yards, to increase the total distance to 245 yards, without making swing changes, requires a swingspeed of around 110 mph.  I just can’t see that happening for most people? In addition, quality of strike generally deteriorates as swingspeed increases - it stands to reason that hitting the ball in the middle becomes more difficult if you’re trying to swing out of your shoes.

I don’t understand why swinging faster always involves swinging out of your shoes?

As your swing improves the speed will improve a bit. Unless, you train for speed with SS or a similar product. Then more.

Most people I watch with slow swing speeds look so inefficient that I can’t help but think they could increase their SS more easily that hitting the center of the face every time.

Your assumption that hitting the center is easier than swinging faster, and I’m not sure that holds for all cases?

I’d think that hitting a 1/4” spot with a 5 foot total arc, not counting the body motion involved, at 85mph to 100mph takes quite a bit of talent?

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