Ball Speed NOT Just Swing Speed

We are all looking for more distance off the tee and for our irons to travel further.  Without putting in the time in the gym to get stronger and work on movement patterns, doing yoga for flexibility, and training for speed what are some areas that will help maximize our potential?  For the YouTube clip that ties in with this blog CLICK HERE

In a previous article about maximizing the driver, HERE, I discussed spin axis and club delivery. If we are delivering a glancing blow to the ball the club speed is not projecting its full potential onto the ball. Also any balls that are not hit out of or near the center of the club head will deliver less speed.

Let’s take a look at a 7 iron example.  In the below image the club head was traveling 77 miles an hour, the face to path was slightly closed at -1.5* for a slight draw delivery, the spin loft was 27.5 which is good for a 7 iron,  and the ball speed was 107.1 mph.  107.1 ball speed decided by 77 club speed gives us 1.39 which is the Smash Factor.  The golf ball left the face at 1.39 times that of the swing speed.  In this scenario the ball launched at 18*.


Now let’s take a look at another 7 iron scenario.  Here is the same club speed but the ball was slightly miss hit, face was more closed to the path, and spin loft was higher.  These little variances had a club traveling more across the ball resulting in a ball speed of 94mph.  Even though the ball launched higher at 20* with the potential to carry further the smash factor was down from 1.39 above to 1.23 here resulting in a ball speed of 12.8mph and 28.8 yards of carry.  Could say roughly every MPH of ball speed is 2.25 yards.IMG_10C11E0A2E37-1.jpeg

Here is a LPGA driver example off TrackMan’s data base showing an efficient strike with a smash factor of 1.49 which is right at the 1.50 USGA limit where a ball can leave the club face.  The swing direction and club face difference was minimal at 0.8 open and attack angle to loft small at 12.2 degrees.  This swing speed it a typical male club player swinging their driver 90mph.IMG_8781B9F0B177-1.jpeg

What creates spin? : Spin Loft

Wanted to write a quick article on spin and increasing or decreasing spin.    If you are looking to make a change where should you start?  Let’s start with Spin Loft and what that is.  Below is an image from GolfTec showing what creates Spin Loft is the difference in Attack Angle and Dynamic Loft.


Let’s take a look at reducing spin on a driver.  The image below was a well struck shot.  As a reminder due to the drivers bulge and roll it will change the spin quite a bit on a miss hit.  You can see that the driver presented 13.3* of loft at impact but because it was traveling up 2.2* that resulted in a spin loft of 11.1* and a low spinning driver. To reduce spin on a driver first is having a solid strike, low face impact spins more, and second is to reduce the Attack Angle and Dynamic Loft in order to narrow the two vectors.


Now let’s take a look at a wedge shot.  Here the goal is to create the opposite condition in order to create spin.  There is a point that the Spin Loft becomes too great, usually around 55*, where the spin starts to go down.  Also any debris between the ball and wedge will drastically reduce the spin.  This shot launched at 35* and if I if we wanted to launch it lower without crossing the spin thresh hold on Spin Loft we could tilt the vectors down.  Option would be to move the ball slightly back to increase the attack angle and add more rotation in order to get more shaft lean at impact.  That will move both Attack and Dynamic Loft keeping the Spin Loft the same.


Now lest talk about hitting a flighted shot into the wind.  The goal on this shot is to have a low launching shot that is not spinning too much.  Option one would be to go up a club, say form a 7 iron to a 6 iron, to reduce the Dynamic Loft part of the equation.  Next option would be creating more shaft lean without increasing the attack angle.  This is done by adding more body turn in order to keep the handle moving before the club head passes at the bottom.

For the YouTube video that corresponds to this article CLICK HERE.  This video covers a spinning shot and a flighted 7 iron.

Another video on flighted iron shots: CLICK HERE.

For a great drill to help reduce the spin loft on the drive by moving the attack angle from down to up and help with the moving the swing direction out to the right CLICK HERE. Players who swing under 100mph will benefit from a slightly upward attack. Those swinging over 100mph and higher may choose to give up some carry distance to get the ball on the ground sooner for control.

Pressure Vs Weight

There has been a lot of talk lately about pressure shift vs weight shift in the golf swing. What is the difference? A good way to think about the two is weight being the upper body and pressure is what is happening under the feet.  Here is the YouTube video to go along with this blog: Moving the Pressure Correctly

In the below photo on the left is me moving my weight over my right foot, the center is me keeping my weight centered as I turned, the right is me moving my weight over my left foot.  There is a vertical alignment rod behind my left heal and you can see that in the middle there is some showing, the left none showing, the right a lot showing.  If the centers (torso and hips) are moving around too much in the swing it gets harder to control where the club will interact with the ground over and over.IMG_1033.jpg

The guys at Athletic Motion Golf shared a great video showing what was happening during a golf swing. Here are some stills from their Instagram Post:
Below at address the center of the torso is slightly behind the center of the pelvis but there is 2% more pressure under the left foot.  That way there is something to push off to start the swing.

Here at left arm parallel the center of the torso and pelvis are turning on top of each other between the feet but notice the pressure has moved to 72% under the trail foot. The reason for this is the golfer is pushing up and back behind them to get the pelvis to turn on a tilted angle. The up and back also keeps the pelvis turning catered without moving over the trail foot.  Just past this point the golfer starts to fall into his lead foot.

At the top of the swing, with the transition already beginning somewhere between left arm parallel and the top of the swing, the pressure gets back to 50%/50% with the centers of the torso and pelvis still on top of each other.  Also notice that the centers have moved slightly towards the target from left arm parallel.

At left arm parallel on the downswing the golfer starts to apply the most vertical force in the golf swing. This is the point that the golfer is pushing up and back with the left leg. This will get the hips turning and start to raise the pelvis and torso in order to create room for the arms to come through into impact. Rotational forces will start to increase and the centers are still on top of each other. IMG_1024.jpeg

At impact as the golfer continues to push off the ground and rotate as the pressure moves more forward. The lead shoulder is going up and back behind them as well keeping the head centered while this hips continue to move forward and up. This motion of pushing up and back gets the torso center behind the center of the pelvis. IMG_1025.jpeg

The pressure and centers will continue to move forward as the golfer goes into the finish to stand on the left foot with 95% pressure under the lead foot and they will come out of the spine tilts and the toros and pelvis will move more forward.IMG_1034.jpeg

Thank you for reading. To see the YouTube video on Moving the Pressure Correctly click HERE.