These statistics show that Scotty Scheffler may be one of the least efficient drivers in golf (we’ll get to that later).

Scottie Scheffler just hit the ball this year. Or is it? Scheffler averages 300 yards per tee shot, but ranks 176th (out of 186 players) on tour in terms of smash factor (a statistic determined by the ratio of ball speed to club head speed). Simply put, smash factor is a measure of how effectively a player swings a golf club, or perhaps how effective the club itself is. Any professional or amateur with access to a launch monitor should pay close attention to swing factor. Swing factor, when combined with actual ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate, helps golfers determine which club they hit best with. This means that given launch conditions, a driver with a higher strike factor may be slightly more effective for that player, at least in terms of distance. A smash factor of 1.50 is considered very effective, with 109 players on tour this year achieving that average, led by Camilo Villegas with a score of 1.517. Mr. Scheffler, on the other hand, has a score of 1.479. Yet the number of professionals has increased significantly over the past decade. Ten years ago, Robert Allenby led the tour with a smash factor of 1.485 and the lowest was Charlie Beljan with a daily player type number of 1.449. The reason for this growth is very easy to explain. Players will still use launch monitors for better optimization. “The efficiency of strike and efficiency of release through the hitting zone are two things tour pros are very good at,” says Ben Giunta, owner of The Tour Van, a Golf Digest 100 Best Clubfitting outfit and the primary equipment van for LIV. “If you hit in the middle and the face to path is square, smash factor is going up.”

Improvement in equipment also plays a role. Manufacturers have been successful in reducing ball speed loss, especially on driver misfires, which helps improve impact factor performance.

However, Giunta believes that success factors are less important for professionals. They’re all close to 1.5 or already at 1.5, so there’s not much need to chase them (for example, if Scheffler is 1.5, you might gain 1-2 yards). Additionally, many of the players below 1.5 are sluggers, such as Scheffler, Sam Barnes, Keith Mitchell, Jake Knapp, Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland, and Tony Finau, and when you swing as hard as they do There is a theory that there will be more center hits. This makes it difficult to maximize your smash factor. Conversely, many of the people at the top of the success factor ranking are travel enthusiasts. Take Villegas as Exhibit A. He ranks 177th in passing, averaging just 282 yards per punt.

And this is the bottom line for us regular players. There is no need to swing quickly to be effective. “The smash factor is underestimated and unused in the adjustment of everyday players,” said Jonta. “Everyday players tend to just look at distance, maybe launch and spin. But smash factor can help you get a better fit. Which head and shaft is best for a particular player and their typical swing? For example, if a player’s check involves a high kick, some drivers will handle that kick better than others. This may also lead to recommending balloons. Lower class balls do not allow high strike rates.

Given that many average golfers have a swing factor around 1.45, there is room for significant improvement (in fact, a Golf Digest study a few years ago found that 40% of average golfers had a factor less than 1.40). A swing speed of 100 mph that produces a ball speed of 145 can achieve a ball speed of 150, increasing their swing factor by those five points. Is it easy to do? No, but the advantage is over 10 extra yards from the tee if that can be achieved.

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