Mike's questions
Dave Tutelman  December 27, 2014
This work was instigated by a couple
of
questions asked by Mike Stachura. He wanted to know how many yards of
driving distance you get for every mile per hour of clubhead speed, and
also how many extra yards of driving distance could a golfer pick up
without increasing clubhead speed.
In early December of 2014, my friend Russ
Ryden put Mike Stachura, technical editor
for Golf Digest, in touch with me. Mike had a couple of questions, and
Russ thought I could help him answer them. The questions both deal with
driving distance and clubhead speed:
 Is there a simple multiplier to relate driving distance to
clubhead speed, something like "distance
= 2.5 * speed"?
 How much driving distance does the average golfer "leave on
the table", assuming his/her clubhead speed is what it is and won't
increase?
This article answers the first question, and most of the second. The
executive summary on this page is a spoiler, for those of you who only
want the
answer. For those who are interested in both the answer and how to get it, move on to the article
itself.
Notice:
I'm not going to respond to objections or questions  nor general
disbelief  if you only read the executive summary. Your question
might be answered in the article; read it first and then get back to me.
Executive summary
Question 1
 A simple formula for driving distance
There
is a good answer to the first of Mike's questions, but:
 It is not in the
form he assumed. It does not consist of a single multiplier, but rather
a straight line that does not pass through the origin.
 It
only applies to a restricted case. The restrictions include an optimum
smash factor and a loftoptimized driver, among others.
The formula, fitted to computergenerated data, is
Carry
distance = 3.16*speed
 85.2
But
Mike wanted total distance, not just carry distance. Here's a bestfit
straight line.
Total
distance = 3.16*speed  50.5

Question 2
 How much distance does the average golfer leave on the table?
We come up with five ways the average golfer can increase driving
distance without needing to increase clubhead speed. The example we
used is a golfer with an 86mph clubhead speed. We discovered 30 extra yards 
15% of his potential yardage  to be reclaimed. Here are the things to
do to find those yards:
What
we did 
Carry distance
(yards) 
Improvement
(yards) 
Cumulative
improvement 
Baseline 
171 
 
0 
Improve
impact to maximize smash factor from 1.41 to 1.48 
183 
+12 
+12 
Fit
the right loft from typical 10.5º 
189 
+6 
+18 
Increase
attack angle from 0º to 2º 
193 
+4 
+22 
Lower
clubhead's
CG by 0.1" 
195 
+2 
+24 
Raise
impact on the face by 1/2" 
201 
+6 
+30 
This was done for carry distance. Mike wanted total distance, so it
doesn't fully answer his question. I will rework it once I have tools
that can generate a launch space for total distance.

On to the details, if you're
interested...
Last
updated  Jan 15, 2015
