mvmac

Evolution of High Launch and Low Spin

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I attended a TaylorMade event for their new driver earlier in the week and wanted to share some interesting slides from the presentation. I'm not starting this thread to promote their new clubs but to highlight how launch conditions have changed and how it can benefit your game.

Some of you may be familiar with the term "high launch and low spin", it basically refers to the "key" to hitting your driver further. You get the ball up in the air with a certain amount of spin to maximize carry distance as well as "roll out" distance once the ball lands. Typically, launching it high meant 12-14 degrees and low spin was around 2500rpm. I think there is a huge misconception out there that pros hit the ball low with their drivers, that might have been the case 20-30 years ago but it's a much different story now. Go any professional event and I think you'd be surprised at how high they launch their tee shots.

Interesting look at how launch and spin has changed over the past 23 years. Obviously the ball has played a huge role. Older balata balls spun a lot so you had to launch the ball lower to maximize distance. Then with the introduction of solid core, multi-layered balls, players were able to launch it higher since the ball spun less.

TaylorMade is now talking about the "Holy Grail" of 17 degrees launch at 1700rpm. I think I first heard these numbers about a year ago.

Does this mean you have to go out and buy the latest TaylorMade driver? Not necessarily, they certainly feel that the low and forward CoG helps but basically all drivers are built for "high launch and low spin" playability. Point is don't be afraid to go out and try an 11 or 12 degree driver. JB Holmes was the second player this year to win with a 12 degree driver.

The ability to hit your driver with a positive angle of attack will also reduce spin and launch it higher.

Here's why all this matters. Two players, Justin Rose and Michael Bradley, ball speed is the same yet Rose hits it 27.5 yards further. Why? Because Rose launches it higher with less spin. Taylor vs Watney is eye opening as well, they hit it the same distance but Watney's ball speed is 14 mph faster.

Few graphs on how everyone, 175mph ball speed to 125mph can benefit. If you can hit the ball farther, there is a very, very good chance you'll shoot lower scores.

x-axis is spin, y-axis is launch angle

Little blurry for the next one. From left to right, Club head speed, percentage of golfers, and suggested lofts. The suggestions are bolded but it's tough to see here.

So for:

<70 club head speed, recommended loft for a driver is 14 or 16,

70-90 - 12 or 14 degrees

>90 -  10 or 12 degrees

Quick look at the "bag of the future".

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Thanks for posting @mvmac .  I switched to a 12 degree Titleist 910 end of last season.  I still need to keep working on getting my launch angle up, but things are improving.  My swing speed is around 90.

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I attended a TaylorMade event for their new driver earlier in the week and wanted to share some interesting slides from the presentation. I'm not starting this thread to promote their new clubs but to highlight how launch conditions have changed and how it can benefit your game.

Some of you may be familiar with the term "high launch and low spin", it basically refers to the "key" to hitting your driver further. You get the ball up in the air with a certain amount of spin to maximize carry distance as well as "roll out" distance once the ball lands. Typically, launching it high meant 12-14 degrees and low spin was around 2500rpm. I think there is a huge misconception out there that pros hit the ball low with their drivers, that might have been the case 20-30 years ago but it's a much different story now. Go any professional event and I think you'd be surprised at how high they launch their tee shots.

Few graphs on how everyone, 175mph ball speed to 125mph can benefit. If you can hit the ball farther, there is a very, very good chance you'll shoot lower scores.

x-axis is spin, y-axis is launch angle

Little blurry for the next one. From left to right, Club head speed, percentage of golfers, and suggested lofts. The suggestions are bolded but it's tough to see here.

So for:

<70 club head speed, recommended loft for a driver is 14 or 16,

70-90 - 12 or 14 degrees

>90 -  10 or 12 degrees

Thanks for posting these, it's good information. Couple questions:

Are these all carry distances?

There's a chart for loft angle, and for >90mph it seems to still suggest that a 10-12 degree angle is suggested. So, if you use a 10 degree lofted club does this mean you would need somewhere like a 7 degree positive AoA? If so, can we possibly see 4" tees in the near future?

Thanks for posting @mvmac .  I switched to a 12 degree Titleist 910 end of last season.  I still need to keep working on getting my launch angle up, but things are improving.  My swing speed is around 90.


What kind of carry distances are you getting?

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Thanks for posting these, it's good information. Couple questions:

Are these all carry distances?

There's a chart for loft angle, and for >90mph it seems to still suggest that a 10-12 degree angle is suggested. So, if you use a 10 degree lofted club does this mean you would need somewhere like a 7 degree positive AoA? If so, can we possibly see 4" tees in the near future?

What kind of carry distances are you getting?

210 -220 with a good drive.  Last year I was launching lower and getting less carry 190 - 200.  I have moved my ball position forward (off left front toe) and working with my instructor in Evolvr to launch higher as well.

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210 -220 with a good drive.  Last year I was launching lower and getting less carry 190 - 200.  I have moved my ball position forward (off left front toe) and working with my instructor in Evolvr to launch higher as well.

Was you roll longer?

I only ask because this high launch seems to create a situation where the ball lands at a much steeper angle and could lose forward energy upon landing.

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Thanks for posting these, it's good information. Couple questions:

Are these all carry distances?

No total distance.

There's a chart for loft angle, and for >90mph it seems to still suggest that a 10-12 degree angle is suggested. So, if you use a 10 degree lofted club does this mean you would need somewhere like a 7 degree positive AoA? If so, can we possibly see 4" tees in the near future?

+7 AoA is on the extreme end, you start sacrificing consistency and contact. 1-3 up is good generally enough. @iacas can probably speak more to this.

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Was you roll longer?

I only ask because this high launch seems to create a situation where the ball lands at a much steeper angle and could lose forward energy upon landing.

In some situations, yes.  But mostly no.

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Is it always linear? Does higher launch create the lower spin? or can you have a high launch, high spin scenario and not have the ball go as far?

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Is it always linear? Does higher launch create the lower spin? or can you have a high launch, high spin scenario and not have the ball go as far?

No, higher launch itself doesn't create less spin. It's a combo of technology and swing mechanics.

You can absolutely have a high launch, high spin scenario just as you can have a low spin, low launch scenario, both would suck for distance. The only other option that would be "okay" for distance would be low launch, high spin. How the tour players hit it 20-30 years ago but that won't work now because of the modern ball characteristics.

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No, higher launch itself doesn't create less spin. It's a combo of technology and swing mechanics.

You can absolutely have a high launch, high spin scenario just as you can have a low spin, low launch scenario, both would suck for distance. The only other option that would be "okay" for distance would be low launch, high spin. How the tour players hit it 20-30 years ago but that won't work now because of the modern ball characteristics.

Thanks for the clarification. I thought it was something like that, but wanted to make sure.

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No, higher launch itself doesn't create less spin. It's a combo of technology and swing mechanics.

You can absolutely have a high launch, high spin scenario just as you can have a low spin, low launch scenario, both would suck for distance. The only other option that would be "okay" for distance would be low launch, high spin. How the tour players hit it 20-30 years ago but that won't work now because of the modern ball characteristics.

What's the main difference? Is it the soft covers? Soft core? Or something else?

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What's the main difference? Is it the soft covers? Soft core? Or something else?

They spin less

http://www.golf.com/photos/golf-equipment-changed-game/titleist-pro-v1

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@mvmac, i n your opinion, do you think a low shot with the driver is necessary in the modern game? Or will the benefits of increased distance outweigh it?

Personally if I could be more consistent by only hitting my driver high, I would give up the low trajectory shot even in the wind. Most of the time I'd do it with my irons, too.

The aerodynamics of balls have also changed, much better durability and better launch conditions versus balata, and a bit of higher ball speed as well.

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@mvmac, in your opinion, do you think a low shot with the driver is necessary in the modern game? Or will the benefits of increased distance outweigh it?

Personally if I could be more consistent by only hitting my driver high, I would give up the low trajectory shot even in the wind. Most of the time I'd do it with my irons, too.

The aerodynamics of balls have also changed, much better durability and better launch conditions versus balata, and a bit of higher ball speed as well.

I don't see the purpose of a low driver shot in today's game, unless you don't feel like hitting a 3 wood and you try to "bunt" a driver out there. When it's windy I don't change anything, I still try to launch it high, optimal is optimal, if the spin is low the wind won't effect it much.

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Thanks for sharing @mvmac How does this change driving into the wind? Less spin I would guess means ball won't be pushed up as much by the wind but launch is higher so it's a wash? Does teeing it low and swinging slower still apply?
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I don't see the purpose of a low driver shot in today's game, unless you don't feel like hitting a 3 wood and you try to "bunt" a driver out there. When it's windy I don't change anything, I still try to launch it high, optimal is optimal, if the spin is low the wind won't effect it much.

I was afraid of answering this question, but this is what I've seen with my higher (not 'pro-level' high) launching drives.

Thanks for sharing @mvmac

How does this change driving into the wind?

Less spin I would guess means ball won't be pushed up as much by the wind but launch is higher so it's a wash?

Does teeing it low and swinging slower still apply?

This is what I found: I was hitting into the wind yesterday, and a lot of people were struggling with the headwind (actually it was only a 10mph-15mph breeze). Well, only two of them were making any serious attempts.

I tried the low tee shot and the balls ballooned from the extra backspin of the downward AoA. Tried about 10 shots with the low drives of varied tee heights (1/4" total variation).

The high tee and upward AoA swings still went roughly the same distances as when there were moments of no wind. Got about 50 balls worth of data from these with the high drives with varied face orientations. Also of note, draws became almost hooks and fades became almost slices at the ends of their flights when hitting into the wind.

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Thanks for sharing @mvmac

How does this change driving into the wind?

Less spin I would guess means ball won't be pushed up as much by the wind but launch is higher so it's a wash?

Does teeing it low and swinging slower still apply?

A high spinning ball will balloon more into the wind because the wind will increase the spin on the ball.

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A high spinning ball will balloon more into the wind because the wind will increase the spin on the ball.

I think it's that the effect of the ball spinning will be exaggerated by the wind because the Magnus effect is proportional to the velocity as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_effect

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