Smash Factor – What is it? & Ideal Numbers

Smash factor is the amount of energy transferred from the club to the ball. It is a simple math problem, ball speed divided by club speed.

A great smash factor is around 1.50 for a driver, a wedge may be closer to 1.25. But these are numbers that professional golfers would expect.

“Efficiency”, or “Efficiency Rating” are other terms commonly used when referring to smash factor.

Smash Factor Examples

A golfer has a driver club head speed of 110 mph and a ball speed of 165, smash factor equals 1.5. If you can do that consistently, I should see you on TV someday!

Another golfer has a driver club head speed of 110 mph and a ball speed of 150, that’s a smash factor of 1.36. If that’s you, welcome to the party of amateur golf!

Smash factor calculation is simply Ball Speed divided by Clubhead Speed. So 165 / 110 = 1.5 from the example above.

Smash Factor Calculator

If you know club head speed and ball speed, you can calculate your smash factor here.

Smash Factor Calculator

What is the Highest Smash Factor?

Max smash factor is 1.539. It is also the highest smash factor ever recorded on the PGA tour(1). With golf club and golf ball limitations by the USGA R&A, it’s really not humanly possible to obtain numbers higher than this.

Oh, and that 1.539 is not an average…it was the HIGHEST value observed across all players since the PGA has been tracking this metric.

The average smash factor on the PGA Tour in 2022 was 1.499. Approximately 111 Pros came in higher than this mark, including Rory Mcilroy with a 1.507 average.

How about the average golfer? The average golfer’s smash factor is about 1.44. This average comes from TrackMan, which has a lot of data on golfers of all skill levels.

Ideal Smash Factor for Each Club

ClubIdeal Smash Factor
Driver1.5
3-Wood1.47
5-Wood1.46
7-Wood1.45
3-Iron1.45
4-Iron1.44
5-Iron1.42
6-Iron1.39
7-Iron1.35
8-Iron1.3
9-Iron1.28
PW1.25

How to Improve Smash Factor

It’s all about striking the ball in the center of the club! This generates maximum ball speed.

You can hit the ball further by either increasing your swing speed, or increasing your efficiency. Even better, you can do both!

Typically, when you swing harder, your efficiency will go down. I have been in a love-hate relationship with this fact for quite some time!

When I was a teenager, my Grandfather would tell me to “swing easy”. Or he’d pick a spot in the fairway about 100 yards away and tell me to just try to hit my driver to that distance.

I had no idea at the time, but he was giving me great advice. Now that I have a launch monitor and can see instant results on my ball speed, smash factor, clubhead speed…you name it…it makes a lot of sense.

I can swing the club 115mph and get an average distance of around 305 yards, but my accuracy sucks! I can “hit it easy” at about 105mph and average around 285 yards and my accuracy is pretty consistent. It’s a lot easier to hit the golf ball far when you are efficient.

Higher clubhead speed with lower smash factor
Lower clubhead speed with higher smash factor

Yes, 20 yards is a big deal…but keeping the ball in play is an even bigger deal.

Try our swing speed calculator to get an estimate.

Interestingly, it took me about 5 shots total to produce those two images. I knew that’s exactly how it would go…and it did.

So, when you see me on the golf course and I’m swinging my driver hard, throw a ball at me and tell me I’m an idiot!

Ball Striking Drills

The first thing I’d recommend doing here is simply figuring out where you are striking the ball. Use some foot powder spray on the clubface and get a decent idea of your dispersion. You’ll quickly see some patterns.

Driver impact location
7-iron impact location
PW impact location

I actually used glass cooktop polish for these, that works pretty well too!

If you are hitting the ball on the heel, try putting a couple of tees in the ground on the outside of your ball, forcing your swing path closer and getting a strike more to the center.

Hitting the ball on the toe, try moving a bit closer in your setup.

Hitting low on the club face? Evaluate the position in your stance, it may be too far toward your front foot. It could also just need to be teed up a bit higher.

Hitting high on the club face, try moving it up in your stance, and try “hitting up on it” more to improve your attack angle. You’re likely “hitting down on it” if the ball is high on the club face.

Hitting all over the club face? I feel you! Develop a very consistent setup. Don’t just walk up to the ball and set your feet where they “seem to be right”. Get a feel for the distance between you and the ball by doing the exact same thing every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Thoughts

If you want a higher smash factor, you need to hit the ball on the sweet spot! It’s really that simple. Certainly, launch angle, angle of attack and equipment are going to play a part, but at the most fundamental level, it all comes down to hitting the ball on the center of the club face.

You can increase your efficiency by having a more controlled golf swing and working to gain consistency through practice and drills to promote ball striking in the sweet spot.

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