THE introduction of launch monitors, such as FlightScope, has made it much easier to custom fit golf clubs to all levels of golfer. The monitor provides a lot of information and it is from the analysis of this information that we can all benefit. Just as the information can be informative it can also be confusing, so during the next few months I will explain some of the terminology used and what it means to you when checking your data.
The first three terms are:
- launch angle,
- angle of attack and,
- smash factor
– the three most important items used when fitting a driver.
Also known as vertical angle or elevation angle. Its technical definition is “the angle at which the ball departs from the tee position from the horizontal plane”. The degree at which the ball departs the tee will vary based on swing speed and angle of attack. Slower swing speed means a higher launch angle and greater spin rate. Examples include:
• 80 miles per hour swing speed, 14-15-degree launch angle, spin rate
• 90 miles per hour swing speed, 13-degree launch angle, spin rate of 2,400rpm
• 100 miles per hour swing speed, 11-13-degree launch angle, spin rate of 1,900 to 2,100rpm
Angle of Attack
The technical definition is, “the angle in the vertical plane relative to the horizontal, at which the clubhead is delivered to the ball”. A negative number indicates a descending club and a positive angle indicates an ascending club. The average player hits more on a descending blow rather than an ascending blow. An ascending blow will hit the ball above the equator of the club and reduce the spin on the ball as well as hitting the sweet spot on the driver.
This is a measure of shot efficiency, indicating how sweetly the ball was struck. Smash factor = ball speed ÷ clubhead speed, and relates to the amount of energy transferred from the clubhead to the golf ball. On drives, a golfer should aim for a smash factor near 1.50.
I hope this information helps you the next time you use a launch monitor. If you’ve never been fitted for your clubs using a launch monitor, contact your local PGA professional and take the time to make sure your clubs suit your swing. At the Jason Laws Golf Academy, we use FlightScope launch monitors.
If you have any questions, e-mail me at [email protected]