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Spin numbers - should we really care?


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Last week I had some spare time on my hands, and, beeing a club ho, I went to the local retail golf shop.

 

Here I tried the new Ping i500, and fell in love with it imidiately. I currently game the Callaway XR, and while I'm satisfied with the performance, the look does not appeal to me.

 

Even though the Ping i500 is not aimed at my hcp, I found it very easy to hit. I have not been a Ping fan in the past, primarily due to the looks, so I went home and started reading and watching reviews of the i500. While the reviews were all positive, many of the reviewers, especially on Youtube, mentioned the low spin numbers as a reason for not buying the club.

 

Anyway, the next day I booked a fitting for the i500, and was again impressed with both the look, feel and performance of the club, and I ordered a set.

 

On my way back I started to think about the spin numbers (I have forgotten all about them during the fitting). When you're a 20-something hcp, and usually only have a realistic chance of hitting the green from 125 yards and inwards - should you really care if your 7-iron spins 6000 or 4500 rpm?

 

And, as another afterthought. Is the Youtube reviews, primarily done på PGA-instructors, actually helping us (mid to high handicappers), when deciding what irons to try? I can't go for green with my 5 iron 220 yards out, or deliberately play a draw or fade, so why bother? Shouldn't we instead focus on something easy to hit, fun to play and nice to look at?

 

Your thoughts much appreciated.

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First of all, spin numbers for irons indoors or really off of mats can't really be trusted as accurate representations of what you might get on the grass. They can come out up to 2k lower off of the mats in some cases (how much lower depends on the swing and the matt). And of course the ball used can influence things as well.

 

Different players, with different priorities and capabilities will have different priorities on how the numbers might vary between the different options. High spin players may have to worry about the spin numbers in the context of avoiding the possibility of ballooning. While low spin players may have to be concerned with loosing distance as a certain amount of spin is needed to keep the ball in the air. So while they might not have to worry about stopping the ball on the green, the spin numbers might (as one example) help the determination of what the longest iron should be and when it might be best to switch over to a hybrid or rescue - or even whether it might help to adjust the lofts.

 

But in any case, you don't look at the spin numbers alone. It's how the spin and launch and ball speed work together to get the final results. And it's not always about the absolute numbers - but rather the relative difference between two potential options of what to buy or play. Will the one choice help a bit more than the others.

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The short answer is that most really good fitters would look at spin as a tweak, at least compared to other parameters. And what is too much or too little spin is so individual that it's impossible to make generalizations anyway.

 

In your case, with an indoor iron fitting, as Stuart G. says, I wouldn't play much attention. The monitor that was likely being used for your fitting almost certainly cannot give accurate spin rates anyway; that has to be done with a Doppler radar setup like a Trackman, plus you'd have to be hitting only the same balls in the same condition for it to make any sense anyway, which is why a lot of people take their own golf balls to an indoor fitting.

 

As to the spin rates of the i500 being "too low", I'd just ignore that. If you are hitting the clubs high enough, straight enough, and far enough, the spin rate is going to be within an acceptable range and of no great consequence. Heck, if anything, you might be getting a few yards out of the lower spin with the same launch angle, and that's a good thing.

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The monitor that was likely being used for your fitting almost certainly cannot give accurate spin rates anyway;

 

I'd say there is a good chance that even a retail fitting location in Denmark would be using Trackman :-)

 

But even in other parts of the world, the use of accurate LM's in a retail setting is not really all that unusual.

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We used Flightscope, and played around with different shafts in order to get the best combination of trajectory and distance, without looking at spin numbers. I believe the point I was trying to make with the original post was, that you, in a fitting situation, should focus on what the iron can do for your game, and not be too biased as too what different Youtubers has to say.

 

I don't how it works in the US, but in Denmark most retailers and club pro's will have either a Trackman or Flightscope.

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Flightscope is fine indoors - as long as they use the metalic stickers on the ball (which is the same for Trackman).

 

It varies, but around here, I tend to see more Foresight LM's in the US (gc2 or gcquad) which is just as accurate and doesn't need the metallic stickers.

 

But fitting generally should be about finding a balance between all the performance aspects for a given player, never about obsessing over any one particular number.

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Last week I had some spare time on my hands, and, beeing a club ho, I went to the local retail golf shop.

 

Here I tried the new Ping i500, and fell in love with it imidiately. I currently game the Callaway XR, and while I'm satisfied with the performance, the look does not appeal to me.

 

Even though the Ping i500 is not aimed at my hcp, I found it very easy to hit. I have not been a Ping fan in the past, primarily due to the looks, so I went home and started reading and watching reviews of the i500. While the reviews were all positive, many of the reviewers, especially on Youtube, mentioned the low spin numbers as a reason for not buying the club.

 

Anyway, the next day I booked a fitting for the i500, and was again impressed with both the look, feel and performance of the club, and I ordered a set.

 

On my way back I started to think about the spin numbers (I have forgotten all about them during the fitting). When you're a 20-something hcp, and usually only have a realistic chance of hitting the green from 125 yards and inwards - should you really care if your 7-iron spins 6000 or 4500 rpm?

 

And, as another afterthought. Is the Youtube reviews, primarily done på PGA-instructors, actually helping us (mid to high handicappers), when deciding what irons to try? I can't go for green with my 5 iron 220 yards out, or deliberately play a draw or fade, so why bother? Shouldn't we instead focus on something easy to hit, fun to play and nice to look at?

 

Your thoughts much appreciated.

 

If you are a 20 something handicap, I would worry about hitting the ball with a good strike, working on short game and trying to find fairways. I wouldn't worry about spin numbers on your irons.

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Posters are making good points here. The spin on dry ball data varies substantially from real course conditions. I have put the i500s in the bag and having now played them three rounds, I have absolutely NO problem getting them to stop. They are as near to the ball mark as any players iron I have ever used. To me, there is an optimal combination of spin and descent angle, giving me a superb combination of distance and distance control.

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I say that even at my HCP, having adequate spin really helps me judge distance.

I know that if i need to hit a shot 120, I can take a full PW and it will land and either bounce and stop or spin back all within a yard of the pitch mark.

 

having 5500-7000 spin with my 7 iron (i'm not sure what it is to be honest, as it's 31* loft) but i can also trust that on a good strike it'll stop within 2-3 yards sometimes 1 yard from the pitch mark.

 

it makes it easier for my game and i love the consistency.

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Like some people have said, I have always thought of spin with irons as distance control. I'd say it depends how you play your approaches. You mention you "only have a realistic chance of hitting the green from 125 yards and inwards". Are you trying to land those shots 125 or do you hit them 110-115 and let them roll up to the hole at 125. If it's the first, spin may be an important factor. If it's the latter, I wouldn't worry too much about it.Especially considering from that distance, shots stop from descent angle, not just spin. From what I understand at a high level, spin with irons helps ensure you can hit the distance you need to from different lies/conditions, and like what some people said, you don't get ballooning or jumpers/flyers/knuckle balls. If you aren't worried about precise control except for 125 and in, I don't see how more or less spin would really matter. Backspin doesn't play a role in draws/fades either, so don't worry about them. Side spin/spin axis is a whole different topic.

 

 

I agree with sdrthedj and rocket500 though, with your handicap, focus on what you feel you hit the best, gives you the most confidence, and what you enjoy the most. I have never once looked at spin numbers with irons. I just find a set I love the look of, love the feel of, and unless the ball flight is extreme, I just sort it out as I play them and what I find my tendencies are with them.

 

Also, check out Mark Crossfield on youtube, specifically his recent videos regarding spin. There are a lot of misunderstandings when it comes to what exactly spin does and how much of a marketing buzz word it has become. It may be helpful to understand exactly what you're giving up and judge the pros and cons of that for yourself in your own game.

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I do pay attention back spin ratings considering I just went thru a set of irons, driver and 3 wood fitting.

 

My personal opinion is spin is important in that you optimize the right rate, launch angle is just important to maximize your swing.

 

What works well for me are:

 

6 iron: 17* launch at 6300 rpm

 

Driver: 13* at 2500 rpm. For a driver, I use to spin it almost 5000 rpm which equated to a loss of 40 yards.

 

3 wood some where around 3000 rpm, I’m not too concern with the launch angle as I play a strong 3 wood.

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Last week I had some spare time on my hands, and, beeing a club ho, I went to the local retail golf shop.

 

Here I tried the new Ping i500, and fell in love with it imidiately. I currently game the Callaway XR, and while I'm satisfied with the performance, the look does not appeal to me.

 

Even though the Ping i500 is not aimed at my hcp, I found it very easy to hit. I have not been a Ping fan in the past, primarily due to the looks, so I went home and started reading and watching reviews of the i500. While the reviews were all positive, many of the reviewers, especially on Youtube, mentioned the low spin numbers as a reason for not buying the club.

 

Anyway, the next day I booked a fitting for the i500, and was again impressed with both the look, feel and performance of the club, and I ordered a set.

 

On my way back I started to think about the spin numbers (I have forgotten all about them during the fitting). When you're a 20-something hcp, and usually only have a realistic chance of hitting the green from 125 yards and inwards - should you really care if your 7-iron spins 6000 or 4500 rpm?

 

And, as another afterthought. Is the Youtube reviews, primarily done på PGA-instructors, actually helping us (mid to high handicappers), when deciding what irons to try? I can't go for green with my 5 iron 220 yards out, or deliberately play a draw or fade, so why bother? Shouldn't we instead focus on something easy to hit, fun to play and nice to look at?

 

Your thoughts much appreciated.

 

Hello Niels, Stuart G knows this stuff very well, while most places they sell golf equipment dont, so its no surprise you came out with questions unanswered. If you want a real club fitting based on knowledge and experience, look up Made By Rosenberg on facebook, and send a mail to Thomas with regards from me. Thomas does fittings outdoor in the Copenhagen area.

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The low spin numbers are probably coming from the lofts being jacked.

 

Nope. His XR's are more "jacked" than the i500's he was demoing.

 

I believe he said the youtube reviews said the spin was low, I don't think he was comparing them to his gamers on a launch monitor. At least that's how I read the post.

 

Their not jacked compared to most other comparable iron sets either - unless one specifically orders the power spec lofts.

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... And, as another afterthought. Is the Youtube reviews, primarily done på PGA-instructors, actually helping us (mid to high handicappers), when deciding what irons to try? I can't go for green with my 5 iron 220 yards out, or deliberately play a draw or fade, so why bother? Shouldn't we instead focus on something easy to hit, fun to play and nice to look at? ...

 

Anyone who understands the basics of the golf swing should be able to hit a simple fade or draw. Granted, it may be a bit more difficult if you play a low-spin distance ball, but you should be able to get a bit of left or right movement when you need it.

 

The tour pros prefer a basic shot shape, usually fade or draw, and use it 90% of the time on full shots. Us normal golfers can simplify things with, a preferred shots shape - draw, straight or fade. But, have a couple of clubs you can bend the other way.

What's In The Bag (Summary as of October 2020)

 

Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i-9i

Wedges:  Calla MD3: 48°, 54°... MD4: 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced)

Ball: Calla SuperHot (Orange preferred)  ||  Bag: Sun Mountain Three 5 stand bag

For details see:  Pending (need protocol to embed file list).

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