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The two charts below illustrate the launch monitor numbers for golfers of varying abilities, compared to top PGA & LPGA Professionals, and those of top Long Drive Competitors
Male Golfer Criteria
Handicap Average Ball Speed (MPH) Launch Angle (DEG) Spin Rate (RPM)
0-8 155 13 2500
9-16 145 12 2800
17-24 138 12 3000
24+ 130 12 3100
Average PGA Tour Player 165 12 2400
Tiger Woods 180 11 2200
Average Male Long Drive Competitor 195 14 2000
Female Golfer Criteria
Handicap Average Ball Speed (MPH) Launch Angle (DEG) Spin Rate (RPM)
0-8 140 13 3000
9-16 132 12 3100
17-24 122 12 3300
24+ 110 12 3500
Average PGA Tour Player 145 13 2800
Annika Sorenstam 155 12 2500
Average Female Long Drive Competitor 165 15 2300
" There is no excuse for not using equipment that fits your physical attributes and style of play. What a tour player uses may not be the best thing to help you shoot lower scores. Resist the urge to play what the pros play, unless that is cleary the right equipment for you."
Dr. Bob Rotella, golf psychologist

Launch Monitor Evaluation
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There are four factors you can directly control that determine how far a golf ball will go when you hit it.  While it is difficult to determine the exact value that each factor plays in achieving distance, we can say with certainty that some factors are more important than others. We have listed them below, in order of importance.

This is the single most important factor in maximizing distance.  When you hit a golf ball, energy and momentum from the club head are transferred to the golf ball.  Club head speed represents the amount of energy/momentum that the club has.  Higher club head speed naturally equates into more energy available to be delivered to the ball.

You can swing any club at a very high speed, but it will mean nothing if you don’t make quality contact with the ball.  When we talk about quality contact, we are talking about how close the ball comes to striking the center of the club head, or as it is typically called “the sweet spot.”

Ball Speed is a combination of club head speed AND quality of contact.
As handicaps go up, quality of contact, and consequently ball speed decreases.

Measured in degree relative to horizontal, launch angle refers to the initial angle at which a ball leaves the clubface. Launch angle is determined by a number of factors, including angle of attack, swing speed, loft, and shaft flex.

Increased loft creates a higher launch angle, causing the ball to go higher, but more swing power is used on the vertical component, meaning less distance. Decreased loft causes the ball to fly lower (meaning it is going to be pulled down faster due to gravity), but more swing power is used on the horizontal component, meaning potentially greater distances, if you hit the ball fast enough.
Measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), the amount of spin on the ball has a considerable effect on the amount of distance the ball will travel.  A ball with less spin cuts through the air better that a ball with more spin.  If there is too much spin, the ball will rise quickly and lose its forward momentum.  This is what happens when your shots start out low and then "balloon" way up, coming down on a very steep angle. If, however there is too little spin then the ball will not stay airborne long enough to realize maximum distance.

Generally, players with a higher initial ball speed will achieve better results by keeping their spin rate down.  Golfers with slower initial ball speed numbers will achieve stronger results by increasing spin to maximize trajectory and distance.

The key to optimizing your launch conditions, and ultimately how far you will hit the golf ball, is to maximize the combination of the four key variables; club head speed, quality of contact, launch angle and spin rate.

A strong player who generates a lot of ball speed wants to launch his/her drives at a high launch angle with low spin.  Such a player looks to a stiffer shaft to produce lower backspin so the ball doesn’t balloon up into the air and lose distance.  They want to see their ball reach its apex, then plateau out and fly down range before falling to the ground.

Slower swingers could use more flexible shafts and higher lofted drivers to produce backspin, which would keep their ball in the air longer, resulting in greater distance.

In general, Tour Players who generate ball speed of more than 170 mph (115-120 mph swing speed) can optimize distance with a launch angle of 12 or 13 degrees and a backspin rate of approximately 2,500 rpm’s.  More average golfers with ball speed numbers in the 135 mph range (90-95mph swing speed) would benefit from a higher launch angle of 14-15 degrees and a spin rate of 3,000-3,200 rpm’s.