Friday, April 30, 2010

How do the Pros on the LPGA and PGA Tours hit it?

As many of you are aware, TrackMan has been the official ball flight analysis system on the PGA and LPGA Tours since 2006. Virtually every week over the past 4 years, TrackMan systems are set up on the driving range as well as on one hole during the tournament to record launch parameter data from all the competitors in each event.

Thanks to our friends at TrackMan, you may find it interesting to be able to view the average launch and flight parameters for players on the PGA and LPGA Tours to be able to see just how the pros hit the ball with each club in the bag. Please understand that the location and the weather have not been normalized for this data. However, because the averages are based on a huge number of shots over a period of several years, the data still offers a very good representation on the key launch parameters for the best men and women golfers in the world.

Keep in mind that the data represent average launch parameters, so there is a wide range between players for each parameter. Some of the interesting points of data from these average launch parameters include the following:

• The PGA Tour average shows the driver and fairway woods with a slight downward angle of attack while the LPGA average exhibits definite upward angle of attack with the driver. Overall, the PGA has a greater downward A of A for all clubs compared to the LPGA.

• The pros tend to hit every club in the bag within a very close range of the same height. Of course the LPGA pros achieve on average a lower shot height than the men because they have a much lower ball velocity for their shots, due to a lower clubhead speed.

•Driver spin rate is very similar for the driver between the men and women pros.
•The smash factor (ball speed divided by clubhead speed) is very similar for the same clubs for the men and women pros.
•Carry distance for the driver between the men and women is very definitely in line with the parameter of 2.8 yards per 1mph difference in clubhead speed.
•Launch angle for the women for the woods is definitely higher than that for the men, and slightly higher in the irons, which may be because of the difference in angle of attack or the use of different lofts per club. The average loft angles per club are not measured in any of this data so the main reason for the difference is likely from the difference in angle of attack for each club.
•The difference in clubhead speed for similar clubs between the men and women decreases progressively from 18mph in the driver down to 13 mph for the 9-iron and PW.
•While there is a significant difference in the spin generated by the men and women with the 3-wood, for all other clubs there is not as much difference in spin as might be expected.

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