What exactly is spin in a golf shot? What should your spin rate be for your PW, 8 iron, 6 iron, 4 iron, hybrid, or driver be? How does spin translate into ball flight and shop shape?
Below, we will look at the topic of spin—with per club break downs for your knowledge.
When we talk about spin in golf, it generally correlates with the term spin Rate. By simple definition, spin rate is the rate of rotation (measured in RPMs) of the golf ball around its rotational axis—immediately after the golf ball separates from the club face.
Another part of the spin conversation is side spin, or more specifically, spin axis. This refers to the amount of curvature put on the ball as a result of a golfer’s swing, and their application of the club face to the ball at impact.
If you produce too much spin as the ball comes off the face of the club, you will likely lose distance. Golfers that put too much spin on the ball tend to be adding loft at impact. This tends to occur as a result of poor swing mechanics and delivering the club face into the ball with more of an upward strike.
It is important to remember and attempt to put into practice the idea of the club head working more down and through the ball at impact. To increase the chances of this, the hands and shaft should be slightly leading at impact. This is the case for almost all clubs throughout the bag, with exception to longer-shafted clubs such as the driver and 3 wood. However, looking at Trackman data, PGA Tour professionals hit down on the driver with an average attack angle of 1.3 degrees.
Side spin or spin axis—the amount of curvature applied to the ball—is a result of a golfer’s swing path and club face at impact. To read these shot statistics it's helpful to refer to Trackman's definition: “A negative spin axis represents a ball curving to the left, a positive spin axis represents a ball curving to the right, and a zero-spin axis represents a shot that has no curvature.”
A visual analogy often used to help explain the concept of spin axis is the wings of an airplane.
“The spin axis can be associated to the wings of an airplane. If the wings of an airplane are parallel to the ground, this would represent a zero-spin axis and the plane would fly straight. If the wings were banked/tilted to the left (right wing higher than left wing), this would represent a negative spin axis and the plane would bank/curve to the left. And the opposite holds true if the wings are banked/tilted to the right.” Trackman, Spin Axis https://blog.trackmangolf.com/spin-axis/
The most contributing factors to your spin rate are your club head speed and launch angle. These will directly affect your spin rate tendencies per each club based on your current swing.
There really is no defined “perfect range” for each club in terms of the spin rate. All golfers have different abilities as it relates to the club head speed and other factors that control spin rate. However, based on your abilities, there are certainly ranges that may do you more harm than good to try to achieve for each of your clubs.
Below you'll find a general guideline for each club (given good ball contact):
A good rule of thumb is ~1,000 RPMs per club number (e.g. 6 iron = in the 6000 RPMs). For comparison, here are the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour spin rate average per club:
One last point to understand:
A great reference is our Launch Angle blog post which can be found here: https://www.graff.golf/the-club/how-launch-angle-affects-carry-distance