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How Backspin Affects Your Driving Distance

Backspin can have a major impact on the distance of your drives, along with a handful of other factors. If you have a slower swing speed, you need more backspin to get the ball airborne, but if you have a higher swing speed you need a lower backspin rate to ensure the ball won’t ‘balloon’.

When your clubface makes contact with the ball, the ball is going to roll up the clubface…hence the creation of backspin. The creation of backspin creates lift for the ball but it can create too much spin which will cause a loss of distance on your drives. The combination of loft and launch angle needs to be taken into account when it comes to backspin and distance.

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14 Responses to How Backspin Affects Your Driving Distance

  1. 3_Ironz October 30, 2018 at 1:25 pm #

    How about posting a chart showing optimum spin rates for various clubhead speeds.
    This video is faaar too vague imo.

    • Bob Pegram October 31, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

      He probably wasn’t more specific because there are so many factors involved. The lower the launch angle, the more spin is needed to keep the ball in the air. The higher the launch angle, the less spin is needed.The loft of the driver head, its center of gravity, the kick point and other characteristics of the shaft all play a part. How the timing and other characteristics of your swing interact with the shaft, head characteristics, the type of ball you play, etc. also come into play. Also, do you play a lot in the wind or are playing conditions usually calm? That is a big factor.He talked principles so you can adjust the factors you can control to get the best possible results for you and your swing.

      • Gene Parente November 1, 2018 at 2:26 pm #

        Bob,

        Well said. It is more complicated then a general chart. You identified correctly that the video was about general principles so that you can apply them based upon your own swing characteristics.

  2. Raymond CHASTEL December 1, 2018 at 5:20 am #

    So the only way to find out is by trial end error with different drivers ,different lofts ,different shaft specifications and a TRACKMAN .
    It can take a lot of time …

    • Gene Parente December 5, 2018 at 12:41 pm #

      Raymond,
      You are correct. To exactly dial in your driver can take a lot of time. That being said you can apply general rules to your driver. if the ball appears to be “flaring” at its peak then you have too much spin. If it drops quickly you have too little spin. If the ball doesn’t get in the air you need more loft. If your ball flight looks more like an iron shot then you need less loft.

  3. Charles Wood December 3, 2018 at 6:25 pm #

    But how do you get the correct amount of backspin? I probably get too much, and if I do how do I correct this problem?

    • Gene Parente December 5, 2018 at 12:39 pm #

      Charles, The best way to determine the correct amount of backspin is with a launch monitor. Ideally regardless of club head speed you don’t want to be over 2500 rpm.
      If you don’t have access to a launch monitor the next best way is to visually observe your ball flight. If the ball starts out and “flairs” increasing height quickly to its peak, you have too much backspin.
      You want your ball flight to be parabolic so that you can maximize carry and total distance.

  4. Dale Wedan December 27, 2018 at 12:43 pm #

    Hello. I have a launch angle between 18 and 22 degrees. This is with a loft of 9.5, I have a smooth 85 mph swing but tend to to speed up a little bit in the hitting area. My backspin is really high also. Is this a loft issue or swing issue or shaft issue?

    • Gene Parente January 4, 2019 at 10:51 am #

      Dale,
      I believe what you are describing is a loft issue due to the fact that you have a positive attack angle (swing up on the ball) which creates a higher launch angle and more spin. For 85 mph you should most likely be between 12-14 degrees.
      I would recommend testing a 7 or 8 degree lofted driver which will lower you launch and your spin and increase your overall distance.

  5. DUANE December 28, 2018 at 6:31 am #

    Nice try but NO — he talks like everyone knows what he means when he states numbers. Teaching at this level and medium needs to be “Dick and Jane” simple.

    His vague comments are not easily transitioned into a DIY learner tangible technique or modification of equipment – thus it was sorta useless — BUT it was a nice presentation just not too useful — to me.

  6. Mark January 22, 2019 at 9:16 am #

    Thank you Gene,

    Optimizing launch angle and spin rate are more easily done on a monitor. I believe, but maybe incorrect, that angle of attack into the ball is the main consideration when looking at back spin. We all know the driver is the only club we want to hit up on the ball.

    When I started playing, in 1961, there were no launch monitors and no fittings done for amateurs. Lessons were based on ball fight characteristics and by the eyes of the pro. Not very accurate by today’s standards, but, it was all we had to work with.

    I believe EVERYONE would benefit from lessons using monitors to determine angle of attack with all there clubs especially the driver. It made a world of difference to me when I was able to get on one. I was unaware I was actually hitting down 3 degrees rather than up with the driver. The fault was corrected, with some work, and it made all the difference in the world.

    With the cost of equipment it makes sense to put your first few dollars, most fitters do this at no charge, into making sure your attack is proper. Then you’ll get the most benefit out of your club investment. Just my 2 cents.

  7. Rory March 13, 2019 at 3:43 am #

    If back spin is such a killer at high club speeds, then why do the professional play with a dimpled ball. The dimples are there to entrain air to promote lift using the Magnus effect – so if you’re trying to lose a bit of lift then why not lose a few dimples.

    • Ray March 13, 2019 at 9:16 am #

      Not all shots are all about distance.

    • Gene Parente March 13, 2019 at 1:19 pm #

      Rory good question. Golf is a game that is not played with a driver alone. The same reduction of spin to increase driver distance is a liability when trying to hold a green with a short iron. There are 2 piece surlyn distance balls that have low spin high velocity profiles that would benefit professionals but would hurt them significantly around the green (and were used by professionals when there was a two ball rule and they had long par 3’s).

      Tour players look for a balanced ball that will maximize distance off the tee but provide short game spin to help with control on the green.

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