Optimum Spin Rate

In the first three videos in the "Bomb Your Driver" video series, I spent time discussing the key aspects of how to strike and launch the ball for maximum speed and distance. In this video, I discuss spin rates in conjunction with Launch Angle, and how the two are directly connected for getting you maximum distance off the tee. Using the an average of clubhead speed of 95 mph, you can see in this video how you can consistenly pick up 60 yards, yes, 60 yards off the tee by combining all the knowledge of the videos in the "Bomb Your Driver" series.

  • Hitting down on the ball with the driver is a distance killer
  • Move the ball up in your stance, get some axis tilt away from the target and tee the ball up higher to catch it on the upswing
  • Where the ball strikes the club face affects distance more than anything else
  • In a simulation with all other factors equal, hitting just 1/2" - 3/4" below the sweet spot cost as much as 60 yards
  • For high club head speeds there's a point of diminishing returns, but moderate hitters should always get plenty of loft
  • Getting the right club and shaft are also important factors
  • Get on a launch monitor, get a properly fitted club, and learn how loft and hitting solid shots can help you bomb your driver

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Dan
Hello, you may have covered this somewhere else, do you have a recommendation as to what is the best launch monitor? Part of the problem I see today is that they all use some sort of algorithm to get to certain data and or they don't measure all the parameters. Flightscope (GC2) has a fixed smash factor, so while it may measure ball speed it is calculating club head speed at a constant factor, typically set at 1.45, flight scope seems to have limitations and the trackman seems the most popular but it can't tell you where you hit on the face like the GC2 + HMT or the quad. It seems if you want club information and ball information that the GC2 + HMT (which meaures path, face to path, AOA, actual contact, actual smash factor, and the caluclates distant seems to be a great what to go. The ES2020 seems to have promise too but it has some shortcomings. Just wanted to know if you have reviewed them all and have opinion. Originally I wanted something I could use at the range so I could watch actual ball flight and get the data. But using range balls both seem fairly pointless as you don't have control over whehter the ball is good or not relative to one another and isn't the ball you would play anyway. And if you are going to use infoor and sim then photometric seems like it makes a lot of sense since all the systems have to calculate distance anyway. ES2020 is arounf the same price as GC2 + HMT, trackman is just really expensive as is the foresight quad. And I am not sure flightscope is in the same league. With all that being said, I have struggled to find a beliveable model on calculating ideal launch conditions to maximize distance and playability. I read TM and then repeated here that basically to maximize distance with a 90mph clubhead that ideal lainch is something like 17 degree launch with 1700 backspin. While that may maximize theorhetical distance it seems it wouldn't be very controllable either if the axis of spin had left or right bias curvature would be maximized as well. In addition it seems it would be unstable based on wind conditions. Can you share the excel sheet that you are using for demonstration purposes? I'd like to reverse engineer my club fitting. That way I can calculate out knowing my AOA, club head speed, what the ideal loft, launch, and spin factors to determined the longest most accurate combination. Then seek a club that hits the numbers as opposed to hitting clubs and just seeing how that club works. Seems there should be a theoretical fundamental right answer. If you share the worksheet with me I would like to understand the underlying theory and math that was used to derive the algorithms. Since that is where the vast majority of variance from all the systems come from. I have used some online that are just not accurate at all. Or as a start can you tell me at a club head speed of 109, avergae smash factor of 1.48, AOA +3, what the ideal launch angle and spin rate is to maximize carry and roll along with the correct apex height and descent angle. Thank you and sorry for the long winded comment. I would have made it shorter but I ran out of time.
December 27, 2018
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Dan, I have experience with several launch monitors and bottom line is that ALL of them are hard to trust as far as accuracy is concerned. Trackman and Flightscope are obviously the 2 big players in the industry, with many other companies like ES2020 coming to capture market space. Yes, trackman is very expensive, but I have always found their data to be as close to accurate as one could hope for. Flightscope's newest stuff has been incredibly good as well and Im not sure they are given enough credit for how close their data is getting. I look at these data machines kind of like car dynos...I could have my car dynoed on a mustang dyno and it could read 560 wheel horse power but then another dyno could read 520whp. The dyno companies will then try to sell us on the idea of the parameters used to come up with their data and why their data is the most accurate. At the end of the day, I will never 100% trust any of the monitors. However, some of the monitors can give you a good baseline of data for instructional purposes but after that...ball flight is the only thing that wont lie to us. This video is pretty old, so I am not sure where we would have this spreadsheet hiding. I can see if Chuck still has access to it though. One final thought, all of the monitors will give you a baseline, like I mentioned above, I would definitely try out flightscopes new stuff as you might be very surprised by how good their data seems to be.
December 27, 2018
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Dave
In a reply to a comment from Mike (see below), Rotary Swing Instructor R.J. said that "Taylormade suggests that the perfect launch angle and spin rate for optimum driving distance is 17 degrees at 1700 RPM." However, that does not match the ideal cases on the video. Can you confirm what the ideal launch angle and spin rate should be?
March 24, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. There are a lot of factors that play into this. What is your current club head speed?
March 24, 2018
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Dave
90 ... and working hard to get that higher!
March 24, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dave. Around 90 you need to make sure a positive AOA looking for 14-16 vertical launch for better distance. With the spin rates (depending on AOA) floating around the 2900-2650 mark.
March 24, 2018
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Benson
can i ask in terms of shafts, how do you maximise your speed? will you necessarily swing faster if you can go with a lighter shaft? should it be something as simple as the lightest stiffest shaft you can handle? i think my speed is roughly 100mph right now. and i'm using the attas 6star 6s shaft in my driver.
July 30, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Benson, this is a question that we would have to answer with a launch monitor for your swing. It's important to load and unload the shaft in the swing but each player can be different regardless of your speed. I would suggest that you see a reputable club fitter in your area that can help you maximize launch and spin rates and to make sure you have the correct shaft that will allow for maximum speed based on the swing you bring to the table.
August 1, 2017
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Charles
Hello... Yesterday I was on a trackman with my driver and my ball speed was around 130, smash factor was 1.5 but my spin rate was less than 1500. When using a higher lofted driver I got 30 more yards carry but the total distance was the same. Based on this video is trying to increase my spin rate with my instructor through angle of attack and ball position possible through video ?
May 14, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Charles. Yes, it possible through video. Your instructor can diagnose why you are getting enough spin and setup adjustments to help AOA. Make sure in your next review to post all the numbers from your session.
May 14, 2017
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Brandon
Where are the best places to get fit? It seems like the variance is so wide with - product demo days, big box stores, custom/boutique shops (like Cool Clubs, Club Champion, etc.)? It's hard to decide where is the most experienced fitters.
January 24, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. Finding an experienced fitter is hard. I don't know of many on the west coast for you. Demo days (usually trying to sell a club), box stores (trying to sell a club/unless you find a good person), and custom shops (usually trying to sell a club, but more versed in solely getting the proper fit).
January 25, 2017
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Brandon
What are your thoughts on indoor club fittings? This is a broad generalization, but the expert fitters tend to have indoor studios, whereas the outdoor fittings will be your typical demo days.
January 26, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brandon. People usually like outside because they can see the ball flight in real time. I think there is a benefit to that. However, I must say that my last two club fitters (who were really good) had me in a strip mall hitting it into a wall. The numbers usually get pretty dialed in (inside) and the feedback or feel is better to tell (outside).
January 26, 2017
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Michael
If you swing at 120-130 Mph, what loft of driver would you suggest?
November 25, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. There are a lot of different factors that play into this. Not only club head speed, but Angle of Attack and other components. However, with your speed lets say level to a few degrees positive Angle of Attack. Somewhere between a 10 and 8.5.
November 25, 2016
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Brandon
I read Chuck's article on Trackman vs. Flightscope, but what is the best way to be fit for clubs? Its hard to get fit with the golf balls you play with at an outdoor range.
January 22, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Brandon, the best way to get fit is to first, make sure your swing is not going to be going through any drastic changes. Then work with a reputable club fitter in your area that has a good launch monitor. Flightscope and trackman have made some big adjustments as of late and the data seems to be pretty close either way. Just make sure you are working with someone that knows how to set up your clubs for you and is not just trying to sell you something.
January 23, 2016
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Fred
I'm a little confused on the relationship between dynamic loft, launch angle, and angle of attack. Can you elaborate on this? Thx
May 13, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Fred. Dynamic Loft is the vertical club face orientation at the center-point of contact between the club face and golf ball at the maximum compression of the golf ball. More dynamic loft ball goes high. Less ball goes low. Launch Angle is the vertical angle relative to the horizon of the golf ball’s center of gravity movement immediately after leaving the club face. Launch angle will always be less than dynamic loft and primary determinant of height and distance. Angle of attack the vertical direction of the club head’s center of gravity movement at maximum compression of the golf ball. Typically, irons have a negative angle (ball before turf). Driver a positive angle to maximize carry and distance.
May 14, 2015
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garrett
technical but well worth knowing about. Now, how can one hit it in the proper spot on the face more often?
January 24, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Garrett, If you work your way through the website from the beginning and master each section of the golf swing, you'll be hitting it off the proper spot on the face consistently! Your hard work will pay off. R.J.
January 26, 2015
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Mike
Hi Chuck, in practice I guess with adjustable drivers you need also to take account of the regular ball you are playing Prov1 vs. a lower spinning ProV1x when trying to set your loft. There also seems to be talk of a correlation to initially launching it high but with little spin...is that true?.
January 21, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Mike, yes, unless you're swinging with 120+ mph club head speeds for your driver, you're going to want to launch the ball as high as you can with as little spin as possible (within reason) to reach maximum distance. Taylormade suggests that the perfect launch angle and spin rate for optimum driving distance is 17 degrees at 1700 RPM. R.J.
March 23, 2015
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David
tell me what influences RPM's on the ball. I want those numbers low what can i look at to get the numbers low.
June 15, 2015
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
David, loft, angle of attack, smash factor and club head speed all have an affect on the RPMs of the ball. The higher the loft the club, naturally, the more backspin the ball will have and vice versa with lower loft. However, lower lofted clubs are more prone to side spin, which is part of the reason why we hit our PW with less curvature than our Driver, normally. The steeper the angle of the attack, the more spin that will be placed on the ball (providing that we shallow out after contact) and the more shallow of the angle of attack, the less spin that there will be on the ball. Smash factor basically measure how well we're able to strike the ball while lining up the center of gravity of the club head and the center of gravity of the ball along the path that the club head is traveling. The more online that we are, the less spin that will be produced. Hitting the ball high, low, left and right of the center of gravity on the club face all have different spin characteristics that aren't low spinning. And finally, the faster that the club head is moving, the more potential for spin that there is on the ball, however, the previous factors, if perfect, will dampen the effects of spin caused by club head speed. So, to produce the numbers that Taylormade suggests are perfect for maximum distance, you're going to want to have a lower lofted driver, hit the ball with a positive angle of attack (don't try help it up though or you'll flip the release and cause more spin) and hit the ball dead square for the highest launching, lowest spinning drives to maximize distance. Those characteristics are best achieved by watching the driver setup adjustments video on this site. Also, certain driver heads, shafts and balls are designed to help reduce spin, but the best way to lower your spin off the tee is to learn how to do it with your swing first, then optimize it with equipment. R.J.
June 16, 2015
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Christian
so if we gave you swing speed and launch angle you could tell us optionally what degree driver we should have? What program are you using? Is that something we can download? I love the statistical side of golf.
December 8, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
The numbers can help you achieve proper fitting for sure. My suggestion would be get on a TrackMan Device. Figure out your swing speed, launch angle, angle of attack, etc.. Club fitters with the proper knowledge could easily determine a few options of driver heads and lofts to maximize your distance.
December 8, 2014
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Quang
How does the ball that has the highest loft get so much roll? I would expect that it would fall out of the sky and plug. That's what I've seen when I try to hit it as high as I can. Thanks
August 30, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Quang, that is going to depend on several variables including course conditions etc. Launch angle, ball spin, ball speed, angle of attack, wind direction, ground saturation etc are all factors of how the ball with roll out. Launching the ball high in the air doesn't mean it is always going to plug. Other variables will play a factor as well.
September 1, 2014
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VICTORIA
Can you show some stats for those of us who are more likely to have a swing speed of 75 vs. 95 as shown in the video? I doubt I'll get to a speed of 95 since I'm already in my early 60's. What is a reasonable distance with a swing speed of 75 and a 13 degree Ping driver (Senior flex)? Can you give me some estimates without the launch monitor number being currently available?
July 5, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Victoria. That would be difficult to predict how precise it would be. Typically with 75 and your current club specs it would be under 200 yards. We can help you get a little faster. Upload your swing to one of our instructors, so we can get you a little longer!
July 7, 2014
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matt
This all makes sense. I swing between 107 and 111 but get no roll out. Is that angle of attack or is that some characteristic of the shaft I'm using? Great drives are 285, average is around 260. I feel like that swing speed should cause the ball to go further. Any ideas?
May 30, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Could be a number of different culprits. The shaft can definitely cause too much spin rate on the ball which isn't allowing you to get enough roll. Make sure you have the optimum kick point for launch and spin.
May 31, 2014
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Paul
The audio on this video is very weak almost unintelligible.
May 1, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Paul, I just went and tested it a few times and can hear it very clearly. Are you having problems with any other videos by chance?
May 1, 2014

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