Increase your smash factor for longer drives

Most golfers when they reach a certain age notice that their swing speed starts to diminish and as that starts to happen the ball does not travel as far.

If this is of concern to you there are different approaches you can take to try and improve your distance.

The first and most obvious is that you can try to increase your swing speed to bring it back up to where it once was.  Some golfers try to achieve this using strength building exercises and an increase in flexibility, two things we tend to lose as we get older.

The problem faced by many, however, is that due to a lifetime of accumulated injuries and ailments increasing one’s strength and flexibility many no longer be a viable option.

The good news is that there are other things you can do to increase the distance you hit the ball without swinging faster.  You can increase the efficiency of your swing in terms of energy transfer to the ball and increasing the ball speed as it leaves the club face.

Smash factor is a measurement of the efficiency of club to ball contact.

The speed of your golf swing is an important factor in terms of distance but how far the ball travels is determined by how fast the ball is moving when it leaves the club face.  Ball speed is not determined solely by the speed of your swing.

As a general rule the closer you hit the ball to the center of the face the more efficient the energy transfer will be.  As well, modern driver faces flex on contact with the ball and in order to take full advantage of the ‘trampoline effect’, contact with the center of the club face is crucial.  Off center hits can reduce ball speed and distance by as much as 20 percent.

If you do not have access to a launch monitor to measure your swing speed, ball speed, and smash factor,  here are some simple steps you can take to determine how solid your club to ball contact is.

  1. Spray some foot powder on your club face (Dr. Scholl’s works well) and hit a shot. This will provide instant feedback.  If your contact is towards the heel or toe or low or high off the face of the club, you can make an adjustment to bring contact closer to the middle of the face.  You may simply be able to mover a little closer to or further away from the ball or tee it a little higher or lower to improve the point of contact.
  1. Modern 460cc titanium drivers work best when you launch the ball high with low spin. If you tee the ball low and swing down on the ball like you would with an iron you will achieve high launch but you will also impart a lot of backspin on the ball which will result in a high balloon shot that climbs quickly but lacks distance.   Tee the ball a little higher which facilitates an upward or ascending blow.  This will help you to achieve the desired high launch but with much lower spin and will increase distance.
  2. If your tendency is to hit down on the ball with your driver, widen your stance a bit. A wider stance moves a little weight back in your stance and promotes an ascending clubhead at impact.


Can’t Afford a Trackman


Over the past several years there have been a number of very sophisticated golf launch monitors introduced to the market.  The problem is that the high-end monitors such as Trackman, Flightscope and Foresight  are in the  $15,000 to $25,000 range.   They are not intended for the consumer market but rather are directed at golf pros and teaching facilities.

More recently though several companies have come up with launch monitors that target the every day golfer.  They  do many of the same things as they super expensive models at a more modest price.

Flightscope for example has come up with the “MEVO”.

The MEVO provides data in 5 categories, ball seed, club speed, launch angle, spin rate and carry.  There is an app that display the data on your cell phone of tablet.


Another option is the Ernest Sports ES14 Pro.

This unit offers a wide range of statistical information including club speed, launch angle, ball speed, smash factor, spin rate & distance. When combined with the free ES14 App, users have the ability to dig even deeper into their shot analysis with features such as audible feedback, club averages, and a skills challenge.


A third option the Voice Caddie SC300

This unit measures carry distance, smash factor, launch angle, apex and swing speed.   The unit itself has an excellent display and the results can also be displayed on your own personal device using an app.  


There are minor variations in terms of the data/feedback each of these units provides and whether the data is provided based on actual reading or computer algorithms.

The prices are very similar. All three are in the $600-$700 range.

I am not in a position to comment on the Mevo or the SC300 in terms of how they actually perform.

In terms of the Ernest Sports ES14 Pro I can as I purchased one recently.  One of the reasons I selected the ES14 is that it has both forward and rear looking radars which means that more of the data is based on actual readings as opposed to calculations based on algorithms.  The unit is very easy to set up, the free app works flawlessly and the data provided is very accurate.

I’m currently using the device to work on my launch angle and  spin rate, especially with the  driver, to optimise  distance.