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Stop It Like a Tour Player

Bringing you insights from the PING Proving Grounds, where our talented team of engineers, researchers, fitting experts and data scientists design and develop the newest product and fitting technologies to help you play better. Using the most advanced tools available, we’ll explain and explore the science behind golf-equipment performance. We’ll separate fact from fiction with the goal of helping you make informed decisions when choosing the PING equipment best suited for maximizing your performance.





Stop It Like a Tour Player

By Chris Broadie

After launching our Driver Optimal Launch and Spin Chart, the most common request we received was, “Can you make an optimal launch and spin chart for 7-irons?” The biggest challenge with this request is that maximizing distance with a 7-iron just leads to lowering loft. Almost everyone will hit a 5-iron further than a 7-iron. As a result, we had to re-think the question.

 

The power of the Driver Optimal Launch and Spin Chart isn’t only that it provides targets to maximize distance; it helps create realistic expectations based on a golfer’s unique swing characteristics. A player with a 170-mph ball speed and a -6° angle of attack will have much different target launch conditions than a person with 140-mph ball speed and a +6° angle of attack – and that’s perfectly fine! Our goal in creating the 7-iron landing angle guide then became, “How do we set achievable launch conditions and landing-angle targets for every golfer?”

 

Results from our vast testing database at the PING Proving Grounds reveal the variables that most affect typical 7-iron launch conditions, and topping the list is club speed. 


Typical 7-Iron Launch Conditions
Typical 7-Iron Launch Conditions scatter plot chart showing spin rate and club speed of 3,500 shots hit with by various players using a 7-iron. Lofts 35° 33° 31° 29° 27° 50 60 70 80 90 100 Swing Speed [mph] 4,000 6,000 8,000 Spin Rate [rpm]
As club speed increases, spin rate and landing angle both increase significantly.

 

As club speed increases, spin rate and landing angle both increase significantly. This fundamentally changes a player’s expectations. A common goal of a 7,000-rpm 7-iron spin rate simply isn’t practical for all but the fastest swing speeds. For slower swing speeds, the average spin rate is actually closer to 5,000 rpm.  A golfer has not necessarily been mis-fit if their 7-iron spin rate is 5,000 rpm.

 

Since players with fast swing speeds naturally generate higher spin, a steep landing angle might not be their highest priority in an iron fitting. However, many slower-swing-speed golfers can benefit from more stopping power. In fact, loft adjustments can be as important as lie-angle fitting for iron performance; unique power and retro spec loft options can be used to meet each player’s needs. 

 

Our new G425 game-enjoyment iron’s loft-flexing technology causes the clubface to react like a springboard, releasing energy quickly and launching the ball faster and higher and maximizing stopping power.  The loft-flexing face can be seen in the animation below.


G425 Iron Face Flexing
G425 Iron Face Flexing illustration showing how the face of the G425 iron acts as a springboard for higher trajectory shots. G425 iron cross-section cross section of G425 iron showing face thickness G425 face-flexing animation animation of G425 iron face flexing during impact
The G425 iron face acts like a springboard to launch the ball faster and higher.

 

During player testing, the G425 7-iron launched significantly higher and stopped significantly faster than similar irons in the market . The loft-flexing technology helps give the G425 iron a 10-foot higher peak height and a 4° steeper landing angle, which can mean the difference between a shot holding a green and bounding through the green.

 

The key to understanding when a golfer can benefit the most from improving their landing angle and stopping power is highlighted in the chart below.  Just because someone has “low stopping power” with their irons does not mean they have to change their fitting. However, if a golfer struggles to hold greens with their 7-iron, then options should be discussed. We would highly recommend the following options: evaluate the iron model and lofts (retro or power spec); change launch conditions through shaft weight and flex; and even consider the model of golf ball to help move the golfer’s low stopping power to mid or even high stopping power. 

 

The final piece to this discussion is that the standard loft on a 7-iron plays a critical role in these landing-angle guidelines. As you decrease loft, your launch angle and spin rate will certainly decrease. Our guideline is that 1° less loft will increase ball speed by 1.5 mph; decrease launch angle by 0.5° and spin decreases by 200 rpm. In our testing, the average club loft was 32° at 90 to 100 mph club speed but decreased linearly to 30° at 60 to 70 mph club speed. This trend occurs because slower swing speeds tend to fit into lower-lofted game-improvement irons. A bigger deviation from standard loft will change the chart’s guidelines. 

 

7-Iron Landing Angle Guidelines
7-Iron Landing Angle Guidelines Imperial Metric LOW STOPPING POWER MID STOPPING POWER HIGH STOPPING POWER SWING SPEED [MPH] [KPH] BALL SPEED [MPH] [KPH] CARRY DISTANCE [YARDS] [METERS] LAUNCH ANGLE [DEGREES] SPIN RATE [RPM] LANDING ANGLE [DEGREES] LAUNCH ANGLE [DEGREES] SPIN RATE [RPM] LANDING ANGLE [DEGREES] LAUNCH ANGLE [DEGREES] SPIN RATE [RPM] LANDING ANGLE [DEGREES] 40-50 64-80 50-60 80-97 30-60 27-55 13°-16° 3000-4250 14°-19° 15°-18° 3750-4250 19°-24° 18°-21° 4000-5250 24°-29° 50-60 80-97 60-75 97-121 45-90 41-82 14°-17° 3500-4750 17°-23° 16°-19° 4250-5250 23°-29° 19°-22° 4500-5750 29°-35° 60-70 97-113 75-90 121-145 69-110 75-120 14°-17° 4000-5250 21°-28° 17°-20° 4750-5750 28°-35° 20°-23° 5000-6250 35°-42° 70-80 113-129 90-107 145-172 110-155 101-142 15°-17° 4750-5750 29°-34° 17°-19° 5250-6000 34°-40° 18°-21° 5500-6500 40°-46° 80-90 129-145 107-122 172-196 145-180 133-165 14°-16° 5550-6250 36°-40° 16°-18° 6000-6500 40°-44° 17°-19° 6250-7000 44°-49° 90-100 145-161 122-136 196-219 170-200 155-183 13°-15° 5750-6500 41°-44° 14°-16° 6250-6750 44°-47° 15°-17° 6500-7250 47°-51° 100+ 161+ 136+ 219+ 190+ 174+ 12°-14° 6000-6750 44°-46° 13°-15° 6500-7000 46°-49° 14°-16° 6750-7500 49°-52°
Guidelines for 7-iron launch conditions based on club speed and stopping power preference.

For example, a 65-mph 7-iron club speed golfer testing a 7-iron at 28° (2° lower than standard) can adjust the launch and spin targets down by 1° and 400 rpm using the above tradeoffs. 

 

During a visit with a certified PING fitter, leverage this chart to help set practical expectations for your iron landing angles. Instead of chasing distance, choose a 7-iron that leads to a playable landing angle with tighter dispersion and increased stopping power.  Let our 7-Iron Landing Angle Chart guide you into an iron model that will help you hold more greens and stick shots closer to the hole.  


Chris Broadie
Head of Fitting Science

Chris earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Cornell University in 2017. Chris researches club-ball impact and ball-flight physics, and helps develop new tools to analyze PING performance data.

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