Speed & Power Part 2: The Distance Equation

LukeEpp

Tony Finau Swings with PowerTo maximize your driving distance it’s important to understand the inputs that go into creating length off the tee. Having fast clubhead speed is certainly a very important factor, but you also need to optimize launch angle and backspin.

For reference, the average male golfer swings their driver at 93.4 mph, launches it at 12.6 degrees with a spin rate of 3275 (rpm) resulting in an average drive (carry) of 204 yards.

As a comparison, check out the averages for PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players*:

PGA Tour:

Club Speed – 113mph

Ball Speed – 167mph

Launch Angle – 10.9 deg

Spin Rate – 2686 rpm

Carry Distance – 275 yards

LPGA Tour:

Club Speed – 94

Ball Speed – 140

Launch Angle – 13.2 deg

Spin Rate – 2611 rpm

Carry Distance – 218 yards

Clubhead Speed

Generating clubhead speed is a combination of swing technique, fitness, and utilizing your best physical assets. Take Tony Finau, our SKLZ Golf Team Captain, for instance. Tony is Tony Finau Warms Up with the SKLZ Gold Flex6’4” with long arms, which helps him generate a very long and wide swing arc. He also creates tremendous lag on his downswing. These factors enable Tony to create an average clubhead speed of 124.29, which currently leads the PGA Tour. He is also 2nd in ball speed at 183.04.  In addition, Tony trains hard in the offseason, building core strength and increasing his flexibility. When you combine all of these factors, it’s easy to see why Tony averages over 308 yards off the tee.

Launch Angle

Tony Finau's Golf Swing at ImpactHitting the ball at the proper launch angle off the tee will allow the necessary loft for the ball to travel the furthest distance. Optimal launch angle depends on a player’s swing speed and angle of attack. A good range for launch angles is between 10-15 degrees depending on your swing speed. Typically, the higher your swing speed the lower your launch angle should be and vice versa. Definitely consider working with you local golf professional and/or club fitter to determine your optimal launch angle.

Backspin

The amount of spin on the ball affects the distance of the ball’s flight. Even with a perfect launch angle, having too much spin or too little spin can affect distance. Additionally, side spin will affect the ball’s trajectory. All in all, by minimizing the total amount of spin on the ball, and erring on the side of backspin, you’ll find yourself with a longer drive.

*Stats Provided by Trackman Golf