What is Smash Factor in Golf?

Smash Factor in Golf: Why does it matter?

If you’re like most golfers I’m sure you’ve asked yourself what is smash factor in golf?

It’s a good question as most of us are concerned with club head speed, ball speed, and distance. While these are important in a game that heavily focused on distance, it’s not everything.

The smash factor number you’ll see on a launch monitor is another piece of data that can help you better understand your swing. Today we’ll also cover the average golfer’s smash factor, how to improve smash factor, and benefits of using a launch monitor.

Smash Factor 101

First, let’s start by identifying what is smash factor as in golf it’s not as common of a term as slice, bogey, birdie, shank, or other terms. It’s also not as common of a metric on the launch monitor compared to ball speed or clubhead speed.

Trackman defines smash factor as the ratio between the ball speed and clubhead speed. Basically, it’s the ball speed divided by the club head speed.

If you swing at 100 mph clubhead speed and 140 mph ball speed, you’ll have a 1.40 smash factor.

The higher the smash factor, the more energy transfer and ultimately more distance. Smash factor is measured from 1 to 1.50 as the maximum amount. 

Key Takeaways

  • Smash factor is a metric that helps you identify how well a ball is hit. 
  • You can easily measure smash factor with a personal launch monitor.
  • Figuring out smash factor is as easy as dividing ball speed and clubhead speed. 
  • Longer clubs – like fairway woods and driver – will have a higher smash factor thanks to more swing speed.

Keep reading to learn more about smash factor data and see how it can help your game. 

Measuring Smash Factor 

Smash factor is something you can measure easily with a personal launch monitor. In fact most devices display this metric as one of the five most common data points including ball speed, club speed, distance, and launch angle. 

For example, my Voice Caddie SC300 displays these five metrics on the screen when I use it on the range or golf course. This launch monitor, like a lot of other ones, also displays more metrics via the app to learn more about your game. 

Smash factor is something I look at when using my launch monitor but not as much as ball speed or club speed. These two metrics are the ones I focus on the most, especially if I’m having a speed training session. 

How to Practice with a Launch Monitor

As mentioned above, the higher the smash factor the better energy transfer with the golf ball… which should lead to more distance. The goal is to get to 1.50 when hitting the driver and it’ll be less when hitting shorter clubs due to less club head speed.

For example, you don’t swing an 8-iron with the same clubhead speed as a driver. Thus, the smash factor will be less with shorter clubs in the bag. 

Let’s get into what is the average smash factor among different types of players to compare your numbers. 

Professional Golf Smash Factor Averages 

Trackman Golf – one of the leaders in the launch monitor industry – listed out these averages on their website in regard to smash factor.

PGA Tour Averages

  • Driver: 1.49
  • 6-iron: 1.38

Average Male Golfer with Driver 

  • Scratch or better: 1.49
  • 5 handicap: 1.45
  • 10 handicap: 1.45
  • Average golfer (14.5): 1.44
  • Bogey golfer: 1.43 

LPGA Tour Averages

  • Driver: 1.49
  • 6-iron: 1.39

 Average Female Golfer with Driver 

  • Scratch or better: 1.46
  • 5 handicap: 1.45
  • 10 handicap: 1.44
  • 15 handicap: 1.41 

Knowing these numbers should help you compare your swing data when practicing with a launch monitor. But just know that smash factor isn’t everything. 

As a Trackman fitter elaborated on their website, “Smash factor is often misunderstood as being representative of only how centered a ball was struck. I stress that it purely represents how well a player converted club speed into ball speed. It is also possible to have a smash factor that is too high with certain clubs.”

How to Increase Smash Factor 

I’m sure you’ve wondered, “How do I improve my smash factor in golf?” It’s a good question and few parts of your swing and equipment play a role. Before getting into the tips we’ll offer what Richard Woodhouse of KDV Sports said on Trackman’s website to guide you.

“During an initial assessment of a golfer I will observe smash factor, in particular with the driver. If a golfer’s attack angle, dynamic loft, face to path numbers, and impact location are good, then I will definitely question if the equipment is the correct fit.

If these items are not optimal, then I will educate the player to understand what we are looking for. From there we can begin work on the primary improvement which will be the parameter that is furthest from optimal.”

As you can tell, smash factor is a combination of technique, equipment, and speed. Let’s review some of the best strategies to improve your golf swing and hopefully gain distance.

Golf Club Sweet Spot

Fix the Fundamentals 

Whether you’re trying to improve smash factor or find the sweet spot more often, technique is important. Remember to increase your smash factor it’s important to find the center of the club face more often.

The fundamentals of the swing are what you should focus on first and foremost. This includes a proper grip (neutral or slightly strong preferably), good posture, stance, and alignment. Setup plays a huge role in getting started and building a consistent, repeatable golf swing.

Having the right fundamentals will naturally increase swing speed and thus, smash factor. For example, if you’re someone with an outside to inside swing and then learn to create lag for an inside to outside swing, you’ll see a big difference. 

Check out some of these popular articles for the most common swing issues among amateur golfers:

Work with An Instructor

If you’re struggling to figure out what part of your game needs help, it’s a good idea to hire an instructor. Don’t feel like you need to do it yourself or go down the YouTube rabbit hole and overwhelm yourself with endless swing thoughts or drills.

A golf coach can help identify the biggest issues in your swing and provide a plan to get better. Plus, they might refer to some training aids that can help you as well. 

Check Your Equipment 

Once you put in the work on the driving range and develop more consistency in your swing it’s time to evaluate your equipment. Switching clubs can have an overnight effect on ball speed which can improve smash factor.

For example, switching from the Callaway Rogue ST Max driver to the Callaway Paradym added 3-4 mph ball speed. Not to mention some serious distance gains and improved shot dispersion

Golf Club Fitting

If you’re not sure which driver head or shaft to get a custom fitting is a great idea. A club fitter can help you test out different clubs and shafts to see which ones suit your swing the best. 

Also, don’t forget to try out different settings if you have an adjustable driver as well. Sometimes tweaking loft and lie settings can help with speed and smash factor. 

Golf Workouts and Flexibility 

Another way to improve smash factor is to work on your body with workouts and flexibility. 

Regular workouts in the gym can help build strength, avoid injuries, and add speed. Which can help with smash factor and hopefully the ability to play the game later in life.

Also, don’t forget to keep up with regular stretching routines. This way you can get a full shoulder turn which can help add clubhead speed and maximize distance. Not to mention avoid lower back injuries too. 

Try Out Overspeed Training 

When it comes to increasing ball speed we can’t forget to mention overspeed training – commonly referred to as speed training. This is another great way to increase ball speed, club head speed, and hit longer drives.

Overspeed Golf Training

But we listed it last to ensure you do the other tips first and make sure your body and mechanics are solid. When you’re ready for speed training check out SuperSpeed Golf, Rypstick, or the Stack System to get started.

FAQs About Smash Factor in Golf

Do you have more questions about smash factor in golf? If so, keep reading through the most frequently asked questions now. 

What is Tiger Woods’ smash factor?

Tiger’s is likely the PGA Tour average or above – likely close to 1.5. Since he’s a world-class ball striker and has tons of speed he’s pretty much maxed out in terms of smash factor. 

What is the ideal smash factor?

The optimal range depends on the club you’re hitting. Since most of them associate smash factor with driver the ideal range is 1.49 which is the PGA Tour average. If you hit an absolute perfect shot you might get all the way to 1.50 which is maxed out. 

Why is my smash factor so low?

First, make sure you’re comparing smash factor correctly to the averages listed above. For example, a 6-iron won’t have nearly as much smash as a driver so don’t set unrealistic expectations.

If your numbers are still low it’s likely due to issues with your swing and lack of speed. Experiment with different training aids or hire a golf coach to work on fundamentals. Once those get dialed in, experiment with workouts, speed training, and tempo to swing faster.

All of these golf tips should help you increase smash factor for maximum distance. 

Why is my smash factor so high?

If your smash factor is high that’s generally a good thing as it leads to more distance. If you play with a closed face position this can also increase it as well. 

Winter Golf

Does temperature affect smash factor?

Yes, temperature can have a big impact on smash factor. If you’re hitting outside in cold, winter golf conditions it can negatively affect your club and ball speed. Which will limit your smash factor.

However, hitting in hot weather conditions can improve smash factor. When it’s hot outside it’s easier to swing faster as your body is more loose. The golf balls themselves can also play a role too. 

My Experience

Smash factor is something to pay attention to more if you’re shooting in the 80s or 90s. As you get to a single digit or even scratch golfer, chances are you won’t worry about it as much since you’re more consistent. Instead, you’ll likely think more about distance, ball speed, and clubhead speed.

Investing in a personal launch monitor is a great idea as it’ll help with so many aspects of your game. First, you can use it to measure data that we’ve mentioned throughout this article to make the most of your practice sessions. Second, it will make it easy to record your progress over time which is especially useful if you’re speed training. 

Plus, having a launch monitor is great if you get to new clubs and want to compare them vs. your old ones. They’re also a great way to create a wedge distance chart to improve your game on shorter shots. 

Final Thoughts on Smash Factor in Golf

If you’re committed to improving and want to hit your golf goals, more data with each golf club can help.

That’s why we believe so much in the power of using a portable launch monitor. Knowing this data can help you work on your swing path, swing speed, and dial in your distances to play more consistent golf.

To quickly recap ways to higher ball speed and higher smash factor make sure to:

  • Start speed training with regular workouts.
  • Test out your equipment to see how different clubs and shafts impact distance, swing speed and golf ball speed.
  • Work on fundamentals with a coach or training aids as better fundamentals lead to more speed. Focus on swing path, attack angle, and launch angle to hit the sweet spot more often. 

Soon enough you’ll have more carry distance and more ball speed than the average golfer for a better energy transfer.

Picture of Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard

Michael is an avid golfer of 25 years who played in high school, college, and now competes in Arizona amateur events. He is a full-time writer, podcast host of Wicked Smart Golf, and mental golf coach.