WHY BALL SPEED IS KING FOR DISTANCE
We look at nine pieces of launch monitor data in a fitting but the three key numbers to pay attention to are ball speed, launch angle and spin rate (highlighted in red opposite). In other words, you want to know how fast the ball leaves the face, how high it flies and how much backspin has been imparted.
Ideally, you want an increase in ball speed to improve distance, not just a manipulation of the spin and launch characteristics.
Recently, several manufacturers have ‘strengthened’ lofts on irons to the point where the spin rate decreases while the launch angle increases. While this can lead to distance gains, you have to be careful because the combination of lower spin and a higher launch with irons can cause distance control issues. It might not also suit a player who prefers to see a lower ball flight. Remember, you need a certain amount of spin to control and stop the ball on the green.
Ball speed is king. If it increases, the ball will go further. The tell-tale sign is if, say, your current iron delivers a ball speed of 150mph and a new iron delivers the same speed but 10 extra total yards, you’ve simply launched it higher with less spin.