It sure looks like with the mud ball example above that while the spin rate is measured, the spin axis is calculated/imputed based on the lateral movement of the ball with that spin rate even if the axis isn't tilted. For practical purposes, though, mud balls and uneven dimple wear shouldn't come up that frequently.
I thought I might be getting an increase in characteristic time or forgiveness sort of like a flex face driver. That's encouraging, then. I guess I can attribute the extra distance to technique improvement.
True enough. I have a permanent ding in the toe of my 7-iron from hitting a buried rock trying to play out of a hazard.
Sounds like you found an instructor with a "my way or the highway" method of teaching. There are lots of guys like this. They only know how to teach one swing. They can't look at you, nor anyone else, assess their limitations and capabilities, and design an instruction program that will maximize their abilities.
It seems they want to turn us all into pros, and we all don't have that ability!