Factors Which Influence Compression


Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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There are many factors which influence compression. I am going to briefly explain the components. 

Compression is a summation. It is the answer to an equation with variables coming from both vertical and horizontal parts of how the golf club is moving. Let’s start with vertical. 

Vertically speaking and to keep things simple, we are going to discuss 2 of the vertical components influencing compression; Attack Angle & Dynamic Loft. Attack Angle is the amount up or down swings at the shot and Dynamic Loft is how much loft is actually delivered to the ball at impact. The difference between these two variables is called Spin Loft. In the image, the blue line represents AA and the red line represents DL. The tighter these 2 lines are together, the better opportunity a player has for maximum compression. Average Spin Lofts start around 10 degrees for a driver and can work up to about 60 degrees with a lob wedge. A driver will for the most part have the highest compression and the lob wedge the lowest. 

One thing to keep in mind is that compression is relative. Each golf club & resulting spin loft has a maximum amount of compression that can occur based on the speed at which the player is swinging the club and the contact point on the face.  

The horizontal components influencing compression are club face angle & club path. The difference or lack thereof between the two will either increase or decrease the amount of energy which is transferred into the golf ball. A differential between face (where the face is pointed) and path (direction the club is traveling) tilts the axis of the golf ball, creating curvature. The greater the difference between face and path, the more the axis of the golf ball is tilted, resulting in less energy transfer between club and ball. 

Now let’s bring vertical & horizontal together. As the Spin Loft decreases, a 1 degree difference between face and path tilts the axis of the golf ball more. As Spin Loft increases, each 1 degree between face and path tilts the axis of the golf ball less and less. In order to create maximum compression possible with each shot, two things need to happen: 1) The Spin Loft needs to be as low as possible for the club you are hitting, and 2) The difference between face and path needs to be minimal. The closer to 0, the better. This is a topic I could go into great length discussing, however I wanted to highlight the key points for everyone to start to grasp how compression is created. 

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher since 1999, just voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State for the fifth year in a row. Also, Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. If you would like to reach Scott you can contact him at www.scottsackett.com.