What About Spin?
I've been in the golf club business for over 30 years, and have seen lots of things come and go. One of those is the subject of spinning the golf ball.
No one really talked much about spin until the wedge companies starting CNC-milling the grooves on wedges back in the early 2000s. Until then, we just accepted that there were golfers who could really spin their wedges and those that couldn't. We all admired those great "one hop and stop" wedge shots, and those approach shots that would hit the green and back up. But few recreational golfers ever figured out how to make the golf ball do those cool things.
Then, along comes the CNC-milling machine and the ability to cut grooves on wedges with edges so sharp that everyone could spin their wedge shots so much better. Spin was now for sale. Hallelujah!
But all good things must come to an end, right? And the USGA thought these high-spinning wedges were a detriment to the game, so they changed the rules governing groove geometry. No longer could we cut those grooves with the super-sharp edges. No longer could spin be purchased like a few extra yards.
We returned to the earlier times where some golfers could spin the ball well, and others couldn't.
By and large, all the golf equipment companies deliver pretty close to the same spin for any given golfer. We all push the USGA rules to the limits, but the results are not as spectacular as the "good old days."
Very simply, now that the playing field is changed and very level, spinning the ball is once again a learned skill. It's a function of clubhead speed and quality of contact. You know those golfers who spin the ball a lot, and others who don't. The great news is that anyone can learn how to spin the golf ball more.
That's what teaching pros are for – they can show you things you don't know how to do. I strongly encourage any of you who would like to spin the ball more with your approach clubs to visit with one or two teaching professionals and see how they would approach teaching you that skill.
Oh, and change to the highest-spinning ball in your price category. They all go long these days, but it would still be a great trade to give up a half dozen yards for many more rpms of spin.
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Guaranteed way to make your ball spin and backup ... hit it short of the hole. ;)
I always wanted to learn to spin the ball back like the pros. Now that I can I hate it. It is so much harder to get to back pin placements when I know my SW will spin back 15'. I'm not good enough to hit a 1/2 PW the same distance as my full SW in order to reduce the spin.
I'm not trying to get all of my irons to take 1 hop and stop. No back spin, and no release.
Man I can't type.
I'm now* trying to get my irons to take 1 hop and stop.
Matt McGee says:
Not being one who can regularly cause a ball to spin and back up, I've wondered if it's something that you can choose not to do, when you know how. It seems that a large number of pros have the same problem that jasonfish has.
I'm also not good enough to know how to "choose not to" spin it back. Well other than hit it fat, that seems to prevent it from over spinning.
I played with a guy a couple of months ago who was a super spinner. He would most often hit down hard onto the ball with excessive force and produce a low hot spinner that would stop on a dime on the green. Granted that wasn't the only shot he was hitting - if target or lie would not permit it he would hit more typical lobs, pitches, or low-spin punches.
So the excessive force (like the kind you use in a flop), the kind where if you miss it goes way past the whole was transferred into spin. During those nine holes he was under par. He said that he had to practice a ton to dial in specific yardages with his back-swing like a clock face... and then trust it would stop!
His story: a successful local golfer who's perfectionism, anger, and emotions got the better of him, as well as a daughter born to another woman. He was trying to get back into the game after a several year layoff and treatment.
How he got so good? At a very young age he became head grounds keeper at a local private course. He would show up early and hit thousand of balls all over the course. Soon some early birds would practice with him. Soon he was making big bucks giving lesson on the side. He later got into course rehab and maintenance consultation and still gives a few lessons. He was currently playing in tournaments as a sort of ringer. We met up as he was filling in for a missing league member, as was I that day.
His technique would certainly require a large commitment and little room for error.
Jason: If you want to take some spin off, try to pick it more than hit down on it. Also, a bit firmer grip will make it harder to spin the ball back. A nice light grip with lots of swing speed (which is partially created by a light grip) and a downward strike, taking a divot in front of the ball will give you backspin. Tension in your hands and wrists, typically, will not. Also, you can pretty much assume, when hitting out of grassy lies (not fairway lies), the ball is not gonna stop on a dime when it lands. It's very difficult to spin a ball back when grass gets between the ball and the grooves of the club.
Jasonfish....I agree back pins are the death of me. Not that I spin the ball tremendously but I would much prefer front/middle pins as back pins scare the hell out of me.
Trap the ball and it will spin. I have started playing a harder ball and seemed to help for the short term.
joe jones says:
One of the best wedge players on the tour is Steve Stricker and he doesn't spin the ball. He hits his wedges with a soft arm swing or dead hands swing that allows him to go right at the pin. That would be the stroke that I would love to deliver. Years ago I trapped my wedges and hit low shots ala Lee Trevino. It took years of practice to get reasonably good at it but I love to see a player use it. Somewhere over the years I lost the ability to play my wedges that way. Of course I'm not as much of a range rat as I used to be.
I figured out how to fix the overspinning problem. I played my last round of golf from the rough. That seemed to work lol.
Some people are way off base here, picking the club up and hitting straight down on it generates more, not less spin. Secondly, it makes consistent contact extremely difficult. Players with flatter swing planes hit the ball with less spin. Also game inmprovement irons are going to spin the ball significantly more than a player's iron, because they are designed to get the ball in the air with ease. If you are looking for a "one hop & stop shot" it's actually fairly simple. Club up one club, choke down to the very bottom of your grip, play the ball slightly further back in your stance. Then start with your weight on your front foot and keep it there throughout the swing. Finally it's a 3/4 swing, if you can do this you will flight the ball down while still maintaing spin. This will cause it to bounce forward and stop.
i think you are forgetting a major factor. green conditions. today i played on a green on an $18 par 3. hit my wedge to 85 yrds front of the green and it rolled about 30 yards up hill, off the green into the ruff. on the flip side, a few weeks ago i played a tpc course for $125 and the greens were great. my ball was spinning and checking great. green conditions have a lot to do with spin as well as all of your great points. just tryin to help the frustrated golfer. thanks!
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