This Month's Golf Digest: The 'V' factor by Jim MacLean

I bring this up just for the idea of conversation. It will be interesting to hear opinions on this…

In this month’s Golf Digest, I noticed Jim MacLean had an article on power. In his swing assessment of many top pro’s, he has come to the conclusion that distance, and power are related to the degree of angle in what he calls the “V” Factor.

For those of you who haven’t read it, the V Factor is referring to the angle of the club taken at shoulder height on the way back. Looking face on, that would be kind of like this: \ Then on the way down, the club angle is reversed at the same point in the down swing, like this: /

Put them together and you have a "V’ shape. Measuring the angle between these two moves: \ / Gives you your ‘V’ factor.

Jim goes into detail how the more ‘uncocked’ the club is on the way back, versus how cocked it is on the way down relates to distance, and club head speed. He takes the measured angles of Lorena Ochoa, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, and Freddy Couples, noting they have immense ‘V Factor’. They all have a fairly slow cocking (uncocked) club on the way back, but on the way down the club is extremely cocked.

Conversely, Jim uses some player with very little ‘V Factor’ as examples of ‘slower’ club head speeds. One example he uses is Fred Funk who averages 260 yards on tour and he shows pictures of his club on the way back is nearly straight up and down, and on the way down it almost mirrors the same position equating to a very low ‘V factor’ angle.

Does any of this make sense? Do you think this is another attempt at coming up with a catch phrase as ‘cool’ as ‘X-Factor’ (remember that theory?).

I hope my explanation above is understandable. It’s difficult to describe his ‘V factor’ idea without pictures. In the article he shows the shaft angle differences between all of these players. Right away though I couldn’t help but notice he didn’t use J.B. Holmes or Alvaro Quiros who both have slightly shorter back swings and are MASSIVE hitters of the ball. (I have a feeling they would break his theory).

Did anyone else read this article?

Typical Jim McLean stuff. Regurgitated instruction. McLean taps into the human need to classify/organize everything and place it in some symmetrical geometry. Just my take though.


Who cares about that angle at shoulder height if you don’t carry that potential energy through the impact zone. The X factor and the V Factor are his misguided attempts at measuring various aspects of lag. That wrist angle is an indication of lag loading to the same extent as the X Factor (shoulder to hip turn ratio) but the premise of the observation is logically flawed in that he never points out the fact that it must be SUSTAINED and not just loaded and leaked. In other words, those angles mean something good could potentially occur but it is no guarantee. He is using examples of late lag loading and backswing width (great for swingers). Everyone that analyzes Sergio ends up trying to float load thinking that initial angle (/_) is some kind of super power secret. It LOOKS great but not even Sergio can keep it together (sustain it) in competition, then he blows it with his temper.

I have seen beautiful rocket designs that seem to have all the pre-requisites of reaching the stratosphere that fire off the platform with great potential, then spiral out of control after the second stage and end up in a rather disastrous heap on the ground. I have also seen some rather questionable looking designs that are shaky off the platform and get better and better with each firing stage ending with a standing ovation from the admiring onlookers.

Bagger, are you equating “rocket science” with golf swing?! :wink:


Seems he’s promoting float loading?

The golf swing seems as difficult as rocket science some days…feels like everything is OK but the stubborn, idealistic, self-righteous ball just won’t lie to me and fellow onlookers. “The golf ball is just sitting there but it demands perfection”.


we alway run into confusion, trouble, and often drama when the protocol of hitting or swinging is not defined…
There are basically two very different intentions to hitting a golf ball…

This “V” thing referring to swingers, and how much they load up the shaft at transition has validity, but for a hitter it would not play as significant a role, and could be even counter productive.

Barkow actually gave Mc Lean his big break signing him to do a series of instructional articles for Golf Illustrated back in the 80’s
We were talking about him the other day. I think he does a nice job with the interviews of classic players, because he really listens, and lets them talk openly.

I don’t know a lot about his theories, but I did watch some of the Hogan tapes he was commenting on… and as usual, my feeling is they (most instructors) are still missing the point .