The distance and direction of any golf shot has a great deal to do with spin rate, launch angle and ball speed. Television broadcasts of professional tournaments often feature these stats for any given player's shot, but you might wonder how those numbers compare to the average golfer. A variety of factors must be examined to find the answer, and chief among them is swing speed.
Spin Rate and Launch Angle
For every golf shot struck, the rate at which the ball spins and the angle at which it ascends both factor into the result, particularly in terms of distance. Spin rate, according to Marin Clubwerx, is measured in revolutions per minute. The less spin on a golf ball, the more easily it cuts through the air. Launch angle measurements, expressed in degrees relative to the horizontal plane, provide information about trajectory and the potential of a ball to roll once it reaches the ground.
The single most influential factor over spin rate and launch angle is swing speed. According to Shengolf, the slower the swing speed, the more spin imparted on the ball. Slower swing speeds also lead to a higher launch angle and lower ball speed. Considering that the average professional has a swing speed much faster than the normal amateur golfer, it's understandable why pros get far more distance than amateurs.
According to the PGA, the average male golfer's swing speed is about 85 mph. Female players, on average, swing the club at 65 mph. Consequently, the average male player typically sees a ball speed of 120 to 134 mph, a spin rate of 2,800 to 3,500 rpm and a launch angle of 12 to 16 degrees, according to Shengolf. Pros average about 150 to 170 mph, 2,000 to 2,600 rpm and 10 to 14 degrees. Average female players manage between 90 and 120 mph, 3,000 to 4,000 rpm and 15 to 18 degrees.
While swing speed plays the greatest role, golfers can get slightly better results by playing balls engineered to produce less spin or a more desirable trajectory. Ball position during setup, according to the PGA, also influences everything from ball speed to launch angle and spin rate.