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inthehole

Lets talk spin ...

16 posts in this topic

Let me preface this by saying, this is actually a serious question.      Given a constant pin location say in the center of the green - WHY is it better to hit the ball past & spin it back than to hit it short & let it run out ?      Seems the overwhelming consensus among professional golfers is to spin the ball back.      I just don't understand why this is ... whats wrong with letting the ball run out ?    Is it easier to judge spin than runout at the pro level ?

I know there are alot of factors that define where to land a ball on a green - it often depends on the pin placement, slope, firmness, etc.    I don't get why most better players like to spin it back when given the chance when a runout would seem less risky ?      I know high hcpr's like myself have spin envy, but seriously what gives & why is spin such a vital part of the pro game ??

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Originally Posted by inthehole

Let me preface this by saying, this is actually a serious question.      Given a constant pin location say in the center of the green - WHY is it better to hit the ball past & spin it back than to hit it short & let it run out ? ...

Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's not. Golf architects will make you regret spinback about twice per nine. The design guys sprinkle in a few greens with what's called a false front. The front portion slopes down hill toward the fairway a few degrees, so a backspin fade or cut shot will hit, and spin backward off the green. In case of No. 9 at Augusta, it could roll off the green and halfway back down the fairway.

To defeat a false front, it's nice to have a draw shot. It will hit short of the cup, and release forward. Or, knock it well past the cup and lag back down. That's often the difference between a birdie and bogie at No. 9 - Augusta.

You're thinking the backstop shot you see on TV works on all greens... Only if you have a backstop - The backstop is a rise or even a terrace in the green which located past the hole. The pros drop it in 10 feet past the pin and spin it back off the ridge and bring it back to the cup.

A couple of  years back, Phil Mickelson had a short, uphill pitch to the green for a birdie. He hit three straight wedges that landed near the cup, spun off the false front and rolled all the way back down to where Phil was standing.

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Firstly..don't believe the stuff about a fade or cut having backspin while a draw will bounce and roll out.  Both shots can have just the same backspin.  The curvature of the shot, for sake of this discussion, doesn't have much to do with why pro's go long and spin back.  Most of them PLAY for the backspin and so they know landing short with backspin is gonna be worse than going long with backspin..not taking into account any green contours.

I would say if you talked to most pro's, they'd probably say they want a little less spin because they'd be able to be a little more precise.  RARELY are they wanting a ball to zip back in a way that makes fans ohhh and ahh..  They ideally want the ball to one hop and stop.

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Originally Posted by Paradox

They ideally want the ball to one hop and stop.

Now, this makes sense to me ... thanks to everybody for their input !

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Originally Posted by inthehole

Let me preface this by saying, this is actually a serious question.      Given a constant pin location say in the center of the green - WHY is it better to hit the ball past & spin it back than to hit it short & let it run out ?      Seems the overwhelming consensus among professional golfers is to spin the ball back.      I just don't understand why this is ... whats wrong with letting the ball run out ?    Is it easier to judge spin than runout at the pro level ?

I know there are alot of factors that define where to land a ball on a green - it often depends on the pin placement, slope, firmness, etc.    I don't get why most better players like to spin it back when given the chance when a runout would seem less risky ?      I know high hcpr's like myself have spin envy, but seriously what gives & why is spin such a vital part of the pro game ??

I don't believe they choose to do it that way.  Moreso that their typical full shots with short irons or wedges and spinny balls will naturally behave that way.  So when the hole allows it, they don't have to mess around with anything.  When the hole doesn't allow it (pin back, or at the top of a ridge, etc), then they have to get creative and do something different to take the spin off.

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I'd like to officially offer my services to anyone who wants to learn how to not spin the ball. I have perfected it.

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I don't think spin is really an option. I have been asked before by high hc's how I get the ball to spin, and I always tell them I don't really try, it just happens when you hit the ball cleanly with a descending blow. The harder you hit it, the more it spins, however even my soft little pitches and chips tend to check. The only way I know of to reduce spin (given a certain ball/iron setup) is to club up and not swing as hard. Personally, from about 150 in, I just make sure I get the ball to the pin (unless there is a reason to make sure I don't go past it) because I know it will check or draw back a bit.

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Originally Posted by inthehole

Let me preface this by saying, this is actually a serious question.      Given a constant pin location say in the center of the green - WHY is it better to hit the ball past & spin it back than to hit it short & let it run out ?      Seems the overwhelming consensus among professional golfers is to spin the ball back.      I just don't understand why this is ... whats wrong with letting the ball run out ?    Is it easier to judge spin than runout at the pro level ?

I know there are alot of factors that define where to land a ball on a green - it often depends on the pin placement, slope, firmness, etc.    I don't get why most better players like to spin it back when given the chance when a runout would seem less risky ?      I know high hcpr's like myself have spin envy, but seriously what gives & why is spin such a vital part of the pro game ??

Well if your talking between a push fade and a push draw, the fade will be slightly higher, and land a bit softer, but amount of backspin should be very similar, not enough to say draws don't spin back and fades do, that is just wrong

Originally Posted by Paradox

Firstly..don't believe the stuff about a fade or cut having backspin while a draw will bounce and roll out.  Both shots can have just the same backspin.  The curvature of the shot, for sake of this discussion, doesn't have much to do with why pro's go long and spin back.  Most of them PLAY for the backspin and so they know landing short with backspin is gonna be worse than going long with backspin..not taking into account any green contours.

I would say if you talked to most pro's, they'd probably say they want a little less spin because they'd be able to be a little more precise.  RARELY are they wanting a ball to zip back in a way that makes fans ohhh and ahh..  They ideally want the ball to one hop and stop.

I think this is a myth as well, unless a pro has a wedge in his hand he's not going to be spinning the ball back much. Most of the time it will hop once, and then catch and roll a bit more, mostly there is some roll out. I don't think pro's concern themselves between one or the other. To much backspin can be a very big problem, and both type of shots put a premium on distance control, which just to show you that Pro's know the spin on there irons, how they react on the greens, and how far they need to hit the ball.

I don't think either shot is more beneficial than the other. I've seen Phil backspin the ball to much, or just right, so its like every other shot, just execution.

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Originally Posted by inthehole

Let me preface this by saying, this is actually a serious question.      Given a constant pin location say in the center of the green - WHY is it better to hit the ball past & spin it back than to hit it short & let it run out ?      Seems the overwhelming consensus among professional golfers is to spin the ball back.      I just don't understand why this is ... whats wrong with letting the ball run out ?    Is it easier to judge spin than runout at the pro level ?

I don't get why most better players like to spin it back when given the chance when a runout would seem less risky ?      I know high hcpr's like myself have spin envy, but seriously what gives & why is spin such a vital part of the pro game ??

I think you're missing the whole point of why creating and controlling spin is important.   The key is being able to hold the greens in a predicable manner to get the ball nearer the cup.  Pro's don't always spin the ball back.   It just depends on the shot they are facing.  They may hit a runner that rolls out, they may go for the 1 hop/bite, or they may play the back door.

The most important factor is clean contact!!    If you don't make clean contact.........you have no control, and  this is why creating spin is so important.  The clean contact is necessary to not only control the distance in the air, but also to control how it reacts on the green.    Without it....you're fighting a losing battle.    I hope that helps....

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As some have said, I don't think the pros are necessarily trying to spin the ball back every time.  It's a by-product of hitting a ball clean from a tight fairway lie with a lofted club.  The only way to avoid spinning a ball back when hitting a wedge from the fairway is to take more club and hit a softer shot, but those shots are harder to control than a full, stock shot.  So, unless the pin is tucked all the way back, or sitting on a back-to-front slope, you'll see guys just hit their normal full shot and try to land it 15 feet past the hole.

There are two holes on my regular course that are typically wedge approaches and the greens have severe back-to-front tilt.  Both have severe dropoffs behind the green which make for very difficult pitch shots if you go long.  I'm always stuck with a choice between a full gap/lob wedge that will likely spin back 40 or more feet, or hitting a softer PW/9i and trying to take off the spin, but the risk with that shot is always that I'll mis-hit it or miss long.  If the pin is back, the choice is obvious:  hit something that will pitch forward.  If the pin is front, then I have a much easier shot because I can hit a full wedge to the middle or back of the green knowing it will spin back to the front.

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Originally Posted by BuckeyeNut

I think you're missing the whole point of why creating and controlling spin is important.   The key is being able to hold the greens in a predicable manner to get the ball nearer the cup.

+1

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Originally Posted by BuckeyeNut

I think you're missing the whole point of why creating and controlling spin is important.   The key is being able to hold the greens in a predicable manner to get the ball nearer the cup.  Pro's don't always spin the ball back.   It just depends on the shot they are facing.  They may hit a runner that rolls out, they may go for the 1 hop/bite, or they may play the back door.

The most important factor is clean contact!!    If you don't make clean contact.........you have no control, and  this is why creating spin is so important.  The clean contact is necessary to not only control the distance in the air, but also to control how it reacts on the green.    Without it....you're fighting a losing battle.    I hope that helps....

so what you're really trying to say is... I'm doomed.

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Originally Posted by divot dave

so what you're really trying to say is... I'm doomed.

You are not doomed, read below.

Jack Nicklaus famously said when asked by a high handicapper how to get backspin "Why would YOU want to?". Most players need the ball to go forward more than back.


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Originally Posted by thescarecrow

You are not doomed, read below.

Jack Nicklaus famously said when asked by a high handicapper how to get backspin "Why would YOU want to?". Most players need the ball to go forward more than back.

Niiiiice....

Of course, the whole point of the thread is making "clean contact" ........but I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Jack offered his words of wisdom.  That quote sounds like more like something Ben Hogan would have said...........LOL

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Originally Posted by inthehole

Let me preface this by saying, this is actually a serious question.      Given a constant pin location say in the center of the green - WHY is it better to hit the ball past & spin it back than to hit it short & let it run out ?      Seems the overwhelming consensus among professional golfers is to spin the ball back.      I just don't understand why this is ... whats wrong with letting the ball run out ?    Is it easier to judge spin than runout at the pro level ?

I know there are alot of factors that define where to land a ball on a green - it often depends on the pin placement, slope, firmness, etc.    I don't get why most better players like to spin it back when given the chance when a runout would seem less risky ?      I know high hcpr's like myself have spin envy, but seriously what gives & why is spin such a vital part of the pro game ??

It's because they hit it solid with a decent amount of speed, so more than likely with a wedge/short iron shot it's going to spin back somewhat, depending on the green/conditions.  It's not necessarily a choice, just a result of good mechanics.  If they hit some shot to let the ball run out there's a good chance the ball would roll off the back of the green, greens are pretty firm and fast on tour.  Having a ball land and stop is how you control your golf ball.  Having it run out is risky.  Which is why the toughest tournament have the hardest and fastest greens, guys can't control the ball once they land.  Also rarely is a pin on tour in the middle of a green, they'll tuck the holes close to the edges of the green, over bunkers, on top or at the bottom of slopes or other places that are difficult.

Couple shots I took from this week, not a lot of room to run it in but I get your question was about pins in the center of the green

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Niiiiice.... Of course, the whole point of the thread is making "clean contact" ........but I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Jack offered his words of wisdom.  That quote sounds like more like something Ben Hogan would have said...........LOL

There is a similar story in one of Harvey Penicks books. However, he attributes his to Sam Snead. (Maybe all those great minds thought alike :))

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