How to Calculate Golf Ball Distance & Club Head Speed
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You can easily determine your golf club head speed and the distance your ball generally travels. An electronic device called a launch monitor can determine both. In baseball, a radar gun can determine the speed of a pitch. The launch monitor works in much the same way, The launch monitor rests on the floor or ground and takes a digital reading of your speed as you hit balls. It then uses mathematical calculations to determine your club head speed, ball distance and other data such as launch angle and spin rate. You can purchase a professional launch monitor, but they're expensive, costing several thousand dollars depending on the model. Some less expensive home models costing a few hundred dollars may be available, but a survey of eight golf shops and sporting goods stores in April 2010 showed only one model available, and it was being discontinued.
At Store or Facility
Find a golf store or golf facility offering golf swing analysis using a professional launch monitor. Start by contacting major golf stores in your area or ask around at local golf courses.
Expect the launch monitor session and swing speed analysis to be conducted by a certified PGA golf professional with a complete knowledge of the golf swing and experience in using launch monitors.
Schedule a launch monitor analysis session. Bring your golf clubs with you, or use clubs available at the facility. It's far better to use your own clubs because those are the clubs you play with. Dress as you would for a round of golf, including your golf shoes.
Pay your fee, meet the PGA professional and take the launch monitor analysis. The launch monitor will clock your swing speed and give a readout in miles per hour. It will also track the distance your golf balls carry, in yards. You can even hit a variety of balls by different manufacturers to compare distances. Feel free to finish your session by asking the PGA professional for tips on improving your swing.
Home Launch Monitors
Purchase a launch monitor from a sporting goods store or golf equipment retailer. Seek a model able to calculate club head speed and ball distance. Launch monitors sold for home use generally are battery-powered. One model available in 2010 weighed just 11 ounces and was 6 inches tall with a small screen.
Take the monitor to a golf driving range or a safe, open area for hitting golf balls. Pay any fee necessary to use the range. Insert the battery into the launch monitor and press the "Power" button. Familiarize yourself with the controls. Powering on the monitor may automatically put it in the proper mode for calculating ball distance and club head speed. If not, use the controls to place the monitor in the proper mode.
Place a golf ball on the ground and take your normal stance. Placement of the launch monitor may vary with your model. Generally, for right-handed players, the launch monitor should be placed about 12 inches to the right of the ball and then moved forward about 12 inches so that it does not interfere with the golf swing. For left-handed players, the monitor would be placed about 12 inches to the left of the ball and 12 inches forward. The screen should face the direction in which you will be hitting.
Begin hitting golf balls. Your club head speed and ball distance will appear numerically on the launch monitor's screen.
- Golf image by Vanessa van Rensburg from Fotolia.com