Reducing Driver Spin

My recent experience with the SLDR, got me thinking about driver spin. Now obviously since the northeast is still wicked cold, I can’t really practice much yet, but I wanted to know from you, what are some of your best tips for reducing driver spin.

Golf ball on Tee
Photo by North Charleston via Flickr

My recent experience with the SLDR, got me thinking about driver spin.  Now obviously since the northeast is still wicked cold, I can’t really practice much yet, but I wanted to know from you, what are some of your best tips for reducing driver spin.

This is something I’ve been fighting with for the better part of my golf career.  I’ve gone with the lowest spinning driver and shaft combinations that I can find, and yet it still plagues.  I’ve got a golf coach voice in my head telling me to hit up on the ball (or at the very least level), and too not be “handsy”.

Do you have any good drills, swing thoughts, or visualizations that have helped you?  Let me know. See you on the range.

TaylorMade SLDR. Will lofting up work for me?

All across the country today, TaylorMade and Golfsmith have teamed up to provide golfers an opportunity to compare their current drivers to the TaylorMade’s flagship driver the SLDR. Their claim is that the low and forward CG promotes a high launch and low spin and fast ball speed. Certainly those things sound like they would make for some long driving. But will it work for me?

Loft up tshirt and hat

All across the country today, TaylorMade and Golfsmith have teamed up to provide golfers an opportunity to compare their current drivers to the TaylorMade’s flagship driver the SLDR.  Their claim is that the low and forward CG promotes a high launch and low spin and fast ball speed.  Certainly those things sound like they would make for some long driving. But will it work for me?

I wanted to see for myself whether they’re new driver performed for me, so I header to the closest Golfsmith with my trusty gamer.  My driver is a Ping G25 9.5 degrees with the Ping TFC 189 Tour X-Flex shaft.  When I’m swinging well I can bomb this thing.  For me a bomb is hitting out there 295 – 310, depending on course conditions.  But, that’s not my typical drive.  I would say my normal drives are from 250 to 270.

At Golfsmith I was led to the hitting bay where they took a look at my club, then brought out an SLDR at 12 degrees, stock shaft at X-Flex to match, assuring me that I should expect to see higher launches, lower spin, and longer carries.

I started warming up, and I wasn’t hitting anything too well. I went through a few rounds switching between both drivers before switching to an iron, just to get my tempo and rhythm more in sync.  Finally I was ready to do the real comparison.

Results

So did I hit it higher, with less spin and more ball speed? Not entirely.

Launch angle

Launch angle: Taylormade SLDR – 12.2, Ping G25 10.8.

TaylorMade wins the launch angle.

Spin

Spin: Taylormade SLDR – 3299, Ping G25 – 3044.

Ping wins the spin battle. Granted this is a high number regardless of which driver.  I really need to work on my swing to lower this. Some additional morsels of information.  Highest spin with SLDR was 4293 and lowest was 2384.  Highest with Ping was 3613 and lowest was 2499.  So even though one shot with the TM had lower spin than the lowest of the Ping it didn’t beat it by much, but that high spin shot was crazy high.  Again, I really need to work on my swing to lower my spin in general.

Finally, Ball Speed

Taylormade SLDR – 138.3, Ping G25 142.2.

Again not my best ball striking session but the Ping clearly beat the SLDR in terms of ball speed  Those 5 miles can make a big difference the total distance numbers bear that out.

Distance

The ping averaged 13 yards longer than the SLDR. The SLDR never came close.  The higher launch, combined with more spin. never made up for the ball speed difference for me.

Conclusion

Ping wins this round.  TaylorMade certainly is an innovative golf company.  That said, no one product can fit everybody.  This session was fairly short, and not as thorough as a real driver fitting, so with a little bit more attention and trying some different shaft combinations, results might have been very different.  However it’s certainly possible this is a great driver for you.  I would encourage you to get fitted with a PGA pro who will take the time to look at your swing characteristics and put together the combination that works best for you.  In the end I got a new t-shirt, a new TaylorMade hat, and some experience with the latest technology from TaylorMade.

Amazing distance gains – without switching clubs

Things continue to go well on the range. Today I was simply shocked at how long (for me) I was hitting the ball, and at times I just to had to laugh, I couldn’t believe it.

Things continue to go well on the range.  Today I was simply shocked at how long (for me) I was hitting the ball, and at times I just to had to laugh, I couldn’t believe it.

I’ve got two 3 woods and I’ve been trying to decide which to keep in the bag.  I though today might be a fun day do that test.  I must say I’ve also been tempted by the distance claims from TaylorMade golf for the Rocketballz line.  The two 3 woods are an Adams 15 degree superfast from 2 years ago, and a nike VR pro from last year at 13 degrees.  The Adams has an X-Stiff shaft, while the Nike has Porject X 6.0.

Amazingly the both had similar launch angles, with the Nike actually launching slightly higher.  How was the distance?  Normally, the range I go to has a high fence that starts at about the 240 yard line.  My typical 3 wood would carry just short of that and hit the fence on one bounce, or maybe reach the start of the fence.  Today, I had a number of shots that struck the middle of the fence, normally a place reserved for my driver.  I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced 3 woods that solid.

I credit the work I’ve put in this winter on my fundamentals.  Namely I’ve been working with the Powerchute to improve my timing, sequencing, and fitness.  I can’t say enough about it.

Interestingly I’ve been considering getting fit for new clubs.  Not sure I need to do that for my 3 wood.  I did manage to find a winner, the Nike VR Pro 13 degree outperformed the Adams and I’m happy to say that it’s going to take its rightful place in my bag.  In addition, I was hitting all my irons incredibly solid.  It was a phenomenal practice session and I hope things continue well.

New Mission: Lower Driver Spin Rate

One of the weakest areas of my game has been my driver. I’ve always been very good with my irons. A steep swing allows me to create crisp iron shots with a descending blow. Unfortunately, this steep swing, really makes driving the ball difficult.

One of the weakest areas of my game has been my driver.  I’ve always been very good with my irons.  A steep swing allows me to create crisp iron shots with a descending blow.  Unfortunately, this steep swing, really makes driving the ball difficult.  I tend to generate a lot of back spin which hurts my accuracy and length.  As a result I’ve been fitted into driver combinations that are meant to really reduce spin.

My recent fittings have shown my spin to be in roughly between 2800 on good swings, and 3200 on my poor swings.  My mission is to get this down to a paltry 2200.  A Bridgestone Ball Fitting made some recommendations based on my numbers:  105-107 Swing speed, launch 11.8.  It recommended 2200 rpm as my ideal backspin to optimize carry and total distance.  This means I need to reduce my backspin roughly 1000 rpm give or take a few.

First things first, I need to confirm my current spin rate. I’ve started to make some changes but I think it’s important to get an accurate assessment of where I stand.  I’m sure this won’t be an easy mission, but I think it will be one well worth the effort.