Club Speed vs Ball Speed: Which Is More Important?

  • Club speed is the speed of your club head before an impact with the ball.
  • Ball speed is the speed of the ball launching after impact.

Ball speed is generally a better indicator of how far the ball goes than club speed.

When I started golfing, I thought they were the same thing. And although they’re not, they do have a relation. In most cases, a fast club speed creates a faster ball speed, resulting in longer distances.

What’s fascinating is you can easily measure and improve both speeds by slightly modifying your swing mechanics. Let’s find out how in this post.

How To Measure Club and Ball Speed

best portable launch monitor

Your club and ball speed are measured in mph and differ each time you swing. The most accurate way to measure your club and ball speed is by using a good launch monitor or a swing speed radar.

Unfortunately, you can’t accurately measure these without proper equipment. However, you can roughly estimate your speed range by comparing your distance with the swing speed chart.

The male amateur club speed is 93 mph, while the average PGA tour player has a clubhead speed of 114 mph. A scratch golfer has around 105-107 mph. Higher HCP players have slower swing speeds.

If you don’t have a speed measuring device, I suggest you visit a golf pro shop with swing analyzing facilities to measure your ball speed to club head speed and get some data points.

Pro Tip: As a rule of thumb, you’ll get an additional 2 yards in carry distance for every one mph increase to your ball speed.

How Do You Convert Ball Speed to Club Speed?

If you know your ball speed, you can estimate your club speed. Just divide the ball speed (in miles per hour) by 1.5.

The ratio between your ball speed and club head speed is also called your smash factor. It reflects how well you’ve struck the ball. Here’s how to measure the smash factor.

Smash factor = Ball speed / Club head speed

1.5 is the optimal smash factor for a driver. For example, you can get a 1.5 smash factor if you have a 150 mph ball speed and your club speed is 100 mph. Shorter clubs also have less optimal smash factors.

Read More: What Driver Loft Should I Use?

How To Improve Club Speed

Female player taking a shoulder alignment lesson

Increasing your club speed usually takes time and effort. However, average male golfers generally do things that unintentionally damage their swing speed.

Luckily, you can quickly fix those. Here are some tips you can implement to improve your club head speed.

  • Improve swing mechanics: Work on flexibility and mobility while engaging your core during your swing for a quicker swing speed. Having a shallow club path can also help.
  • Use the right clubs and shafts: Play with lighter clubs and shafts, as less weight allows you to swing with more speed.
  • Increase your driver length: If you can legally increase your driver length, you will have a longer moment arm, which results in more driver distance and driver swing speed.
  • Assess your grip: Reduce pressure on your wrists and have a loose grip so you have more wrist motion through impact and a better approach to the clubface.
  • Experiment with training aids: I absolutely love training aids, and if TOUR golfers can use them, you should, too. They massively help improve your speed and overall swing.
  • Hit the gym: Strengthen muscles like the core, hips, shoulders, and back. These help improve your balance, center of gravity, and overall swing speed. Check out some of these golf workouts.

How to Improve Ball Speed

Professional trainer aligning the feet of his client

Your ball speed has a limit defined by the max club head speed you can produce.

Since the average golfer doesn’t have the optimum ball speed to club head speed, they can increase their potential ball speed without increasing their swing speeds.

Here’s how to improve ball speed and gain the potential distance:

  • Improve your ball striking: Practice hitting the ball more purely. A pure impact will transfer maximum energy and produce a high ball speed.
  • Use the right compression golf ball: Use a golf ball compression chart to understand which ball will suit your current swing speed.
  • Have the right tee height: Tee height can influence your ball speed. For maximum ball speed, your shot should be dead center. A low tee height will increase the spin rate and decrease the launch angle.
  • Follow tips for improving clubhead speed. The tips will also help with ball speed.

Read More: Best Golf Balls for 100 Mph Swing Speeds

Key Factors Influencing Club Speed

Here are the key factors that influence your club speed.

  • Strength and flexibility: With more strength and flexibility, you create a wider arc and swing with more speed.
  • Your equipment and its design: The weight and aerodynamics of your clubs also influence the swing speed.
  • Swing mechanics: Your overall swing mechanics affect the club’s speed. Your hip rotation, shoulder rotation, center of gravity, etc., all matter.
  • Your grip: If you’re holding the clubs tightly, you leave less room for the club to wiggle and swing faster.
  • Backswing length: The further you take your backswing, the more space you have to create power and speed on your downswing.

Key Factors Influencing Ball Speed

Here are the key factors that influence your ball speed.

  • Club speed: Ultimately, your ball speed is limited to your swing speed. More swing speed results in more ball speed.
  • Your ball: The compression of your ball relative to your swing speed affects ball speed. Generally, you want to use lower compression or soft golf balls if you have a slow swing speed.
  • Impact: How you strike the ball is important for ball speed. A pure shot guarantees higher ball speed and keeps you in the fairway. Poor impact can result in less ball speed, the dreaded slice, or a hook.
  • Angle of attack: A downward AoA compresses the ball against the club’s face, decreasing ball speed. Ideally, you want a moderate downward AoA for irons and upward for a driver.
  • Where you hit the ball: Aim for the center of the ball with the center of your club. Avoid impacting with your toe or heel for maximum ball speed.

FAQ

How Do You Generate Club Speed?

To increase your club speed, focus on these key factors:

  • Proper Grip and Stance: Ensure your grip is firm yet comfortable and your stance is balanced.
  • Body Rotation: Maximize your torso and hip rotation during the swing.
  • Flexibility and Strength: Improve through fitness routines designed for golf.
  • Smooth Tempo: A fluid, rhythmic swing increases speed more effectively than a forced, quick motion.

What Is Bryson DeChambeau’s Ball Speed?

Bryson DeChambeau, known for his impressive long drives, has recorded ball speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour during competitive play. This is among the highest in professional golf, highlighting his focus on power and technical efficiency in his swing.

What Is Tiger Woods’ Club Head Speed?

Tiger Woods’ club head speed has varied over his career. In his prime, he was regularly clocked at speeds over 120 miles per hour. More recently, following his return to competitive golf, his average club head speed has been around 115 miles per hour.

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Abdul Moiz is a skilled golfer and professional writer. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad and has played golf for over 5 years. He has a handicap index of 18.5, uses TaylorMade Sim driver, and loves his 60-degree wedge. He's tested and reviewed over 50 products and specializes in reviewing budget-friendly golf club sets. You can connect with Abdul at X, LinkedIn, or Work.AbdulMoiz@gmail.com.

 

  • Best score: 82
  • Favorite club: 60-degree wedge
  • Favorite ball: Titleist ProV1
  • Dream golf vacation: Scotland

 

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