If you read through golf periodicals, forums and blogs, you will soon see there is so much emphasis of late that has been put on low spin for more distance. Why?
Spin is necessary to create lift to the ball. This is the reason why there is a whole science devoted to the golf ball’s material, construction and dimple geometry. Even in clubhead design, the location of the center of gravity of the head helps to control how high one hits the ball along with the rate of spin.
We can all relate to the fact a lower center of gravity or a head with a higher concentration of mass positioned low will yield a higher ball flight with all else equal. However, ask the average consumer about moving weight back away from the face or forward to the face and they will have a blank expression on their face as to what will happen.
For each and every golfer, there is an optimal launch angle and amount of spin that produces the best overall distance. You might have heard the phrase “high launch / low spin for greater distance”. Where that concept most likely derived from was the long drive circuit or the professional players, both of whom have high swing speeds and often swing on an upward angle to generate a higher launch angle. I won’t argue that most golfers are better off with a higher launch, but does that mean low spin is good for everyone too?
There is an old idiom that says “Too much of a good thing…” For instance, excessive spin can cause the ball to drop what seems like straight from the sky and with very little roll. This is also referred to as “ballooning” the ball. Guess what, with too little spin and that will rob a player of valuable carry distance.
It was finally time once and for all to find out first hand in the hands of ordinary golfers if that was the case. Several months ago our foundry began to make up a driver with a linear adjustable moveable weight. Sorry, I am not going to share any photos even though you are not likely to see it available from Hireko in the future. It was made in the most popular loft today (10.5º).
This head had the ability shift approximately 9 grams off weight in a span of 3” from front-to-back and yet maintain the same vertical center of gravity. It came as no surprise that with the weight the furthest back, the launch angle and subsequent spin was the highest using a Trackman launch monitor to gather results (example of one golfer is shown). By moving the weight to the most forward position we showed about 1 degree lower launch angle and 200-300 rpm reduction in spin. Why this occurs is the shaft will show less bending forward prior to impact in order to align itself with the center of gravity of the head (less dynamic loft).
As a result, carry distance and ball speed decreased with the weight in the forward position and that caused on average a loss of 2-3 yards – all this just from moving a mere 9 grams forward. This is why we are glad we did not jump on the forward CG bandwagon as the vast majority of our customers do not fall into the high swing speed category where it may benefit. Plus there is no need to loft up which will only increase the amount of spin anyway.