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Smash Factor

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Definition: "Smash factor" is a relatively new term in the lexicon of golf gearheads. It is a measurement of a golfer's ability to translate clubhead speed into ball speed with a given golf club, expressed as a ratio between ball speed and clubhead speed.

For example, if Golfer Bob swings his driver at 100 mph, and produces a ball speed (the speed at which the ball travels off the clubface following impact) of 150 mph, then Golfer Bob's smash factor with his driver is 1.5 (ball speed divided by clubhead speed).

The higher the smash factor, the more efficient the golfer is at translating clubhead speed into ball speed - which usually means making better contact with the ball, e.g., an impact position on the clubface that is more centered.

As Jack Nicklaus once put it, there are only two ways to hit the ball farther with the same equipment: swing faster, or swing better. Smash factor tells us that you can increase distance by slightly reducing your swing speed if that results in better control of your swing, i.e., a more centered strike position at impact.

Some golf equipment manufacturers have begun citing smash factor in touting their clubs, too, as a way of touting the energy transfer between clubface and ball at impact - e.g., "Driver Z produces a smash factor of X."

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