The Maltby Playability Factor is often mentioned in golf club fittings and equipment customization. It is essentially a guide that fitters can use to match golfers with the right clubs. There are charts for the MPF of different golf club brands. To make sense of these charts or to select the right clubs, you need to have some understanding of the MPF.
What is the Maltby Playability Factor in golf? You can use the Maltby Playability Factor as a guide for your club selection by getting the ideal playability range for your style from a club fitter. Once you know what MPF range clubs are right for you, you can refer to an MPF chart for specific brand clubs and pick the one that’s most playable for you.
This article serves as a guide for the Maltby playability factor, focusing on aspects of good clubs. It will help you understand what MPF is and what aspects of a club contribute to a high playability score.
By the end of this post, you’ll have enough knowledge to use MPF to your advantage and make informed decisions when choosing good clubs for your game. So let’s get started with a brief overview.
What Is Maltby Playability Factor in Golf?
Maltby Playability Factor (MPF) is an aiding factor in golf club selection. It is the industry standard calculation made by most high-end golf equipment fitters based on the research by Ralph Maltby.
The MPF is calculated using measurements that the average golf enthusiast might not be able to take. However, professional customizers and club fitters have charts for different clubs’ MPF ratings. Skilled equipment fitters can measure any club’s MPF for any golfer using the following:
Playability correction factor points are awarded to clubs with a larger sweet spot and a more forgiving design.
- The “C” dimension – This refers to the distance from a club head’s leading edge to its center of gravity.
- The actual vertical center of gravity – This is where the club’s center of gravity is located in relation to the ground.
- Gravity factor correction points – When a club has a low center of gravity, it is granted gravity factor correction points.
- Playability correction factor points – Clubs that are more forgiving are awarded more playability correction factor points.
- Measuring correction factor points – Usually, 30 points are added to every iron’s MPF.
So, do you need to know about these?
And do you need to calculate the MPF of your club?
As a golfer, you just need to know that your club should have a high MPF rating in general and for your own context.
Maltby Playability Factor: A Deep Dive
Over the last decade, golf literacy has increased among those interested in the sport. Prior to the internet-fuelled curiosity around shaft types, club head sizes, and other factors, most casual golfers would simply pick a club that felt great to them.
Generally speaking, playability is the best way to define the feel of a club and how well it hits for an individual golfer. Many old-school golfers still go by the playability of clubs instead of their specifications.
On the most data-driven end of the spectrum is custom fitting. A fitter gets the exact measurements and recommendations that would work best for a golfer based on their data. In most cases, vibe-based club selectors and data-driven club buyers don’t overlap.
Golf Equipment designer Ralph Maltby changed the game by combining the data regarding the effect of individual specs on a club’s playability. The result of his research and over four decades of designing golf equipment was the Maltby Playability Factor.
While the bulk of the playability formula revolves around the weight of the club head, there is a Maltby playability chart for shafts as well. The shaft and the club head’s playability factor contribute to the overall playability rating.
The MPF of a club is calculated by a formula that accounts for the club head’s vertical center of gravity, c-dimension, and playability factor correction points, among other measurements.
Which Clubs Have Maltby Playability Factor?
There’s an erroneous assumption that the Maltby Playability Factor is something exclusive to the Malty brand. In reality, the factor can be calculated for any golf club regardless of the brand.
While all golf clubs have a Maltby Playability Factor, most clubs do not have a high MPF rating. The Maltby Brand has the most experience in manufacturing clubs with high general MPF. Still, any equipment fitter who can calculate the MPF for a club can find you one that offers optimum playability.
Maltby Playability Factor: How To Calculate It And Use It
In this section, you will discover how the MPF is calculated and how you can use this knowledge even if you’re not an equipment fitter. As mentioned earlier, you don’t even need to know what the specifics of the MPF formula are in order to use it. However, a good understanding of the MPF formula can help you select better clubs.
The Maltby Playability Factor of a club is calculated with the following steps:
- Step 1 – execute the following calculation: c dimension – the actual vertical center of gravity = rough playability value.
- Step 2 – subtract the center of gravity correction factor points from the rough playability rating.
- Step 3 – add to the adjusted playability rating the playability correction factor points for a moment of inertia.
- Step 4 – add 30 points (measuring correction factor) to the answer of the previous step for every iron.
What golfers must take away from this is that every factor that leads to an addition makes the club more forgiving or playable. And anything that’s subtracted in the four-step formula above is best when minimized in order to have a high MPF.
- The C-dimension – The longer the C dimension of the club, the more playable it is. Playability is calculated by making subtractions from the overall C dimension. So starting with a longer C dimension leads to a higher MPF.
- Actual Vertical Center of Gravity – If a club’s actual vertical center of gravity (not its general center of gravity) is low, then the MPF turns out to be higher than average.
- Moment of inertia – You simply need a club that has higher playability factor correction points to get a high overall MPF.
- Measuring Correction Factor – You cannot really make specific choices regarding this aspect to increase the MPF because the Measuring Correction Factor is relatively stable for all club’s within a category. For instance, if you need an iron, you cannot get a club with higher than 30 Measuring Correction Factor points.
Which Golf Club Has The Highest MPF Rating?
The GolfWorks, founded by Ralph Maltby, asserts that Maltby’s Outburst NT (2005) has a 1328-point MPF, which is one of the highest in the world.
It is worth remembering that MPF has diminishing returns, and the highest MPF isn’t always the best for all contexts and golfers.
Which Golf Club Has The Lowest MPF Rating?
The lowest MPF, according to Maltby’s declared results, belongs to Burke’s Mashie (1928), which has a Maltby Playability Factor of -873. Since the MPF refers to how playable a club is, having the lowest rating implies that a club is the least playable one in existence.
But given how much golf has changed since the 1920s, it is fair to say that the club might be considered more playable in its time period. Golf is a game of attaining the lowest score, and in the 1920s, golf clubs were not as highly-engineered as the recent iterations.
Ideal Maltby Playability Factor (Range)
The ideal MPF range is between 551 and 699 for most golfers.
Clubs with this much playability balance feedback with forgiveness. High handicappers, as well as intermediate golfers, can benefit from these clubs. In instances with lower stakes, even pro golfers might use one of these.
Clubs with higher MPF than 851 are extremely easy to use but might act as training wheels that can solidify a golfer’s handicap. Casual weekend golfers can purchase clubs with MPF ratings haver than 851, but anyone interested in becoming a card-carrying amateur should avoid super forgiving clubs.
Maltby Playability Factor Range for different levels of experience:
- Ultra Game Improvement – MPF 851+ – Clubs with an MPF rating of 851 or higher are considered to be the most forgiving clubs. They can take at least one stroke off each hole for the average golfer and one stroke for every alternating hole for an intermediate. As Maltby puts it, “all players benefit” from clubs with a playability factor of 851 or above.
- Super game improvement – MPF 701 to 850 – These clubs are considered to be more playable than standard golf clubs. Usually, this rating is most common for irons that are marketed as more forgiving.
- Game improvement – MPF 551 to 700 – Golf clubs with a playability factor rating between 551 and 700 are quite common. These are applauded for how well they balance forgiveness with feedback. Relying on these clubs doesn’t trap you in a low-precision swinging habit.
- Conventional – MPF 401 to 550 – These clubs have decent playability for advanced intermediates. Most weekend golfers and casuals would rack up a 14-point addition to their course score by picking these clubs over game-improvement ones.
- Classic – MPF 251 to 400 – Usually, card-carrying amateurs and scratch golfers sport some clubs with a classic playability rating. If you have a handicap higher than 5, you should stay clear of these.
- Player Classic – MPF 0 to 250 – At one point, most professionals stuck to clubs with little to no game improvement features. While that got this category its name, most tournament players have abandoned these clubs and have started using classic ones, especially for their short games. That said, a few pro golfers still use clubs with an MPF rating under 250.
Using MPF For Golf Club Selection
If you want to use the MPF as a club selection guide without visiting an equipment fitter, then you should get a club that’s in the super game improvement or ultra game improvement categories. You can also use the following ranges to aid in your club selection.
|Your Handicap||Ideal MPF Range|
|0 to 5||251 – 550|
|5 to 14||401 – 700|
|14 to 30||750+|
Final Thoughts on the Maltby Playability Factor
While your handicap can be used as a guiding measure for an MPF range within which you should select your clubs, an equipment fitter’s data is much better for matching with the right MPF club.
As you can see, the ranges of MPF ratings for specific handicap ranges are pretty wide. To ensure that the MPF of your club matches your current stance, swing force, and playing style, you should get fitted for equipment at a facility that uses the Maltby Playability Factor.