Golf Ball Spin Explained!

Golf Ball Spin Featured Image 2 f35d46a0b335e6becfe7b4313af218a4

Do you know why a golf ball jumps off a golf club and flies into the air?

Golf Ball SPIN.

Spin is the only way that any golf ball can take flight.  The golf ball must start spinning in order to fly anywhere.  It’s that simple.  Spin is a term we hear many times when talking about golf balls but that doesn’t mean we understand how to apply that to your game, right?

We are going to get into the straight forward, not complicated, and easy to understand spin details right now.  After reading this blog you will understand what backspin and sidespin mean, how they are exerted onto a golf ball, and what that means to your golf ball selection. 

 

“Spin Rate – The rate of a rotation of the golf ball around the resulting rotational axix of the golf ball immediately after the golf ball separates from the club face.”

 

Now that’s the real complicated way of describing spin rate but necessary to note.  So let’s make it easier to understand:

 

“Spin Rate – is how fast the golf ball spins after club face impact.”

 

 

 

As soon as your golf club impacts your golf ball, your golf ball IMMEDIATELY starts to spin, the only way to prevent your golf ball from spinning is if you completely miss your ball – meaning there is no golf club impact.  If you are like me, that has happened at one point or another in your golfing career but the majority of us normally make some type of contact when we try to hit that golf ball.  The most import part to understand is what happens after impact and why.  Specifically, what kind of spin is put on the golf ball and what that means to where your golf ball is going to go.

There are two types of golf ball spin – Backspin and Sidespin

 

Backspin off the club face

 

Golf Ball Backspin

Golf ball backspin is the backwards rotation of the golf ball impact.

After your golf club impacts your golf ball, backspin causes your golf ball does two things:

  1. Flies into the air with some kind of trajectory – depending on how pure the golf ball is struck at impact, the loft of the golf club, and the amount of force applied to the strike will all determine just how high or low the golf ball will fly and how far it will go. 
  2. Has an amount of backspin on the golf ball – The amount of backspin will determine what your golf ball does after impact as well.  Backspin is the reason why you see the golf ball spin back after impact with the green, which we see many pro players do.

 

Golf Ball Sidespin

Golf ball sidespin is the right or left rotation of the golf ball after impact.

After your golf club impacts your golf ball, sidespin causes your golf ball to go straight, right, or left.

There are two types of sidespin:

  1.  Left Sidespin – When left sidespin is exerting onto a golf ball, it causes the golf ball to go to the left.  Just how much left sidespin will determine if you hooked your shot or put a little baby draw onto it. 
  2. Right Sidespin – When right sidespin is exerted onto a golf ball, it causes the golf ball to go to the right.  How much right sidespin will determine if you have sliced your shot or you just hit a perfect fade. 

 

What determines if a golf ball will have left or right sidespin after impact?

Club face angle at impact.

Do the terms square, closed, and open club face at impact mean anything to you?  If they don’t, they will now because that is how the direction of the golf ball is determined and more importantly how much sidespin, if any, is exerted onto the golf ball. 

  • Spuare club face – At impact if your club face is square, to your target, then your golf ball will go straight towards your target line.
  • Closed club face – At impact if your golf club face is closed, to your target, then your golf ball will go left of your target line
  • Open club face – At impact if your golf club face is open, to your target, then your golf ball will go right of your target line

 

gofl ball spin and impact and face angle

 

So what does all this spin stuff mean for me?

Understanding golf ball spin and how it works is a key component in determining which golf ball is the best for you.  Golf balls are made with varying degrees of spin.  The easy way to think about it is like this:  low spinning golf balls, medium spinning golf balls, and high spinning golf balls.

Does your ball go straight, to the right, or to the left the majority of the time?

  • If your ball is going straight, then congrats you are probably playing the correct golf ball.  If you are in a lower spinning golf ball then maybe try to move up a grade because you will get more distance and control with a high spinning golf ball as long as you don’t lose your accuracy. 
  • If your golf ball is going to the right or the left the majority of the time then you are probably playing a golf ball that has a little too much spin and maybe consider trying a lower spinning golf ball. 

Low golf ball spin

  • Bridgestone e6
  • Callaway Warbird
  • TaylorMade Aeroburner Pro
  • Titilest DT Trusoft

Medium golf ball spin

  • Titleist Velocity
  • Srixon Soft Feel
  • Titleist AVX
  • TaylorMade Project (a)

High golf ball spin

  • Titleist Pro V1
  • Titleist Pro V1x
  • Callaway Chrome Soft
  • TaylorMade TP5x

 

Now go have some fun!

By now you should have a great understanding of what golf ball spin means and how you can apply it to your game.  If your golf ball isn’t performing the way you want it to, first understand golf ball spin and what specific spin you are exerting onto the golf ball.  Have a little fun with this great game, try some alternative golf balls that you have never tried before.  This game brings out the analytical detectives in us once in a while so let’s go with it and shoot LOWER scores!

 

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