Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Top Club Speed Optimizers and What They Do

I decided to keep playing around with the's 'driving radar' stats. In the latest analysis, I took 2009's top 20 golfers in 'Driving Distance Efficiency.' DDE = Distance / Clubhead Speed. I believe the distances were on shots measured by the radar. Anyway, here's the top 20 golfers in DDE in 2009.

Rnk-----Player------------Distance---------Club Speed-----------DDE
1------------Darron Stiles------------285.8-------------105.8------------2.701
2------------Chez Reavie------------282.7-------------105.8------------2.673
3------------Vijay Singh--------------301.2-------------113.0------------2.667
4------------Jeff Maggert------------287.8-------------108.2------------2.66
5------------Nick O'Hern------------277.9-------------104.5------------2.659
6------------David Toms------------285.1-------------107.6------------2.651
t7------------K.J. Choi---------------287.3-------------108.5------------2.649
t7------------Greg Kraft--------------276.5-------------104.4------------2.649
t7------------Webb Simpson---------290.4-------------109.6------------2.649
t10------------Parker McLachlin-----288.9-------------109.2------------2.646
t10------------Geoff Ogilvy----------300.2-------------113.4------------2.646
t10------------Carl Pettersson------291.5-------------110.2------------2.646
13------------Anthony Kim-----------306.0-------------115.7------------2.645
14------------Camilo Villegas-------300.1-------------113.5------------2.644
15------------Hunter Mahan---------297.7-------------112.6------------2.643
16------------Kenny Perry----------294.3-------------111.4------------2.642
17------------Ryan Palmer----------298.4-------------113.0------------2.64
18------------Heath Slocum---------285.7-------------108.4------------2.635
t19------------John Mallinger-------279.9-------------106.3------------2.634
t19------------Joe Ogilvie------------289.4-------------109.9------------2.634

Now, let's break down their other pertinent radar stats and try to see why they are able to maximize their clubhead speed so well.

Player--Ball Speed--Smash Factor---Spin---Max. Height--Launch Angle
Darron Stiles-------157.33---------1.487--------2516--------107.2---------15.01
Chez Reavie---------156.48---------1.480--------2532--------87.9----------12.54
Vijay Singh---------167.57---------1.483--------2598--------110.5---------12.69
Jeff Maggert--------160.72---------1.486--------2379--------94.2----------13.02
Nick O'Hern---------155.17---------1.485--------2266--------82.8----------12.78
David Toms----------159.76---------1.485--------2558--------96.7----------13.33
K.J. Choi-----------160.87---------1.483--------2432--------86.3----------11.8
Greg Kraft----------154.5----------1.480--------2458--------83.2----------12.72
Webb Simpson--------162.59---------1.483--------2447--------106.9---------13.74
Parker McLachlin----161.91---------1.483--------2858--------86.8----------11.18
Geoff Ogilvy--------168.26---------1.483--------2854--------106.5---------11.87
Carl Pettersson-----163.37---------1.483--------2278--------84.2----------12.14
Anthony Kim---------170.98---------1.478--------2461--------104.9---------11.94
Camilo Villegas-----168.16---------1.482--------2588--------90.7----------11.00
Hunter Mahan--------166.8----------1.481--------2455--------93.1----------11.59
Kenny Perry---------165.22---------1.483--------2381--------99.9----------12.95
Ryan Palmer---------167.96---------1.486--------2553--------105.9---------12.99
Heath Slocum--------160.96---------1.485--------2414--------91.9----------12.42
John Mallinger------157.81---------1.485--------2564--------95.8----------12.72
Joe Ogilvie---------162.93---------1.483--------2564-------101.8---------12.92

Now, let's dive a little more into detail

Average Distance - 290.6 yards

This would rank them 66th on the list, right around with Jason Gore. I've played golf with Jason Gore before and he hits it deep.

Average Clubhead Speed - 109.5 mph

Despite hitting the ball quite aways, the average clubhead speed of these guys is below the Tour average (111.7 mph). This average clubhead speed would rank then 126th, right around where Jim Furyk's clubhead speed. Furyk's distance measured by radar was 278 yards last year (12 yards less than the average of these players listed)

Average Ball Speed - 162.5 mph

This would rank about 121st on the Tour last year, right about where Ryuji Imada's ball speed was. However, Imada 'only' hit it 282 yards on the radar measured shots last year, still 8 yards below the average of these players.

Average Smash Factor - 1.483

Smash Factor = Ball Speed / Clubhead Speed. This usually shows you how well struck the shot is as the PGA Tour average is around 1.48 with the driver. As Trackman studies have shown, smash factor with the driver decreases the more you hit down on the driver.

This smash factor would rank about 15th last season, about where Angel Cabrera was. I think it's safe to say that these golfers where making great contact consistently with the driver and probably didn't hit very far down on the ball.

Average Spin Rate - 2,508 rpm's

This ranks about 29th last season, right about where Stewart Cink's spin rate was. Since this average spin rate is on the low side for the PGA Tour, it tells me that keeping the spin rate down, well under 3,000 rpm's is pretty important to maximizing DDE.

In fact, only Parker McLachlin and Geoff Ogilvy are above 2,600 rpms. They could be considered 'outliers' and if you were to take those two out of the equation, the average spin rate is at 2,469 rpms, which would rank about the 18th lowest on Tour (about the same spin rate Ernie Els has).

Average Maximum Height - 95'9"

This would rank slightly above average at 78th. This is about the same height as Sergio Garcia's driver shots. From looking at the stats, if you want to maximize DDE, you're better off leaning towards a little more higher ball flight than a lower ball flight. But too high will hurt your DDE as well.

Average Launch Angle - 12.57*

Ping recommends a launch angle with the driver in the 10-14* range. However, none of these players are below 11*. Darren Stiles, who led the tour in 2009 in DDE, also had the highest average launch angle (15.01*) and had it by a large margin. The next highest launch angle last year (for the entire Tour) was at 14.1*.

It may be interesting to check out Stiles' swing data on a Trackman and figure out if the launch angle should be more towards the 11*-15* range instead of the prescribed 10*-14* range.

I think you can consider Stiles' launch angle an outlier as well.

Anyway, the 12.57* launch angle would rank 31st highest on Tour in 2009, about the same as Padraig Harrington's launch angle.

If we were to take out Stiles' abnormally high launch angle, the average launch angle would be 12.44*.

From looking at this data, there's not really anything new here. Maximizing your clubhead speed means that you need to have a good launch angle, that's likely to be higher than the Tour average, and a pretty low spin rate. Hopefully this analysis shows exactly what your vertical launch angle and spin rate should be.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Information! I was always looking for this type of information.

Curious to know where do you find this information at?

keep up the great blog!