If you’re like most golfers you want more distance off the tee and more backspin with your wedges. Both shots look great and make you feel like you’re ready to tee it up with the best player in the world.
Does that sound about right?
To get more distance and more backspin, you need to focus on something not enough golfers think about – spin rates. While most of us worry about buying new clubs and working on our swing at the range constantly, spin plays a big role in every shot, with every club you hit.
To better understand spin rates in golf, we’ll break down how spin impacts driving distance, backspin, and other areas of your game. By the time you’re done reading this blog post, you will have all the tools to assess your clubs and make changes to shoot lower scores.
If you’re like a lot of golfers, I’m sure you’ve asked, “What is a good spin rate in golf?”
It’s a good question because spin plays a big role in distance and height of your golf shot. But the answer for “good” spin rate is tough to answer because of the complexity of golf.
Spin is something that more golfers need to consider as it can have a monumental impact on your game. Instead of telling you a “good” rate, you need to understand spin rates on different types of golf clubs. As you’ll see below, spin rates for woods vs. irons vs. wedges are quite different.
The spin rate is simply the amount of spin that occurs right after you hit a golf shot. This is measured in RPM and ranges depending on the club you’re hitting.
Here are two rules of thumb when it comes to spin:
- The higher lofted club you use, the higher the spin rate. That’s why your wedges spin much more than your long irons.
- The more speed you have, the more spin you get. That’s why it’s so important to accelerate through the golf ball to generate spin. And why a lot of amateurs struggle to get much backspin on shots within 125 yards like a professional golfer does.
If you have too much spin, your golf ball will go too high and not travel as far. While too low of spin will keep the ball flight down and lose accuracy.
The goal is to find the perfect balance of spin with every shot to hit it long and as straight as possible. The good news is that different clubs and shafts are made for all types of swings and can help you find the right balance.
To measure your spin rates, you will need to use a launch monitor. But not just any monitor as not all of them have spin rates or spin axis data.
While some personal launch monitors deliver this type of data (click here to read our favorite launch monitors), not all of them do. Sometimes, you will need to get fitted with a professional club fitter with higher end tech that can measure more swing data like spin rates.
Spin is huge when it comes to driving the golf ball. If you want more distance than ever, you need to dial in your spin rates.
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of golfers make is playing clubs and shafts that don’t match their swing. This creates too much spin which reduces total carry distance and total distance.
According to Trackman (one of the most trusted sources in golf), here are the averages for different types of male golfers when using a driver.
- PGA Tour: 2686 rpm
- Scratch of Better: 2896 rpm
- 5 HCP: 2987 rpm
- 10 HCP: 3192 rpm
- Average Golfer: 3275 rpm
- Bogey Golfer: 3127 rpm
While here are the stats for female golfers:
- LPGA Tour: 2611 rpm
- Scratch or Better: 2831 rpm
- 5 HCP: 3027 rpm
- 10 HCP: 3207 rpm
- 15 HCP: 3287 rpm
Needless to say, spin plays a big role in getting the most out of your long game. Here’s what a Trackman master fitter (Christoph Bausek) said about the importance of spin with drivers.
“It is fascinating how much the spin rate can change the flight of the golf ball. It often happens that a student can improve their total distance of a drive by more than 30 yards within a couple shots.
Spin rate is mainly produced by spin loft, speed, friction, and centeredness of impact. Vertical gear has an enormous influence on drivers. If a golfer understands how spin is produced, they will also have a big advantage in their short game.”
So, what is a good driver spin rate?
Depending on which club fitter you talk to, it ranges from 2000 to 3000 RPM (while others would argue 1700 to 3500). I know it’s a broad range, but there are tons of factors to consider including age, gender, swing speed, club, shaft, and ideal shot shape/trajectory.
Fairway woods spin more as they have more loft than a driver. Hitting a 3 wood usually puts spin in the mid 3000 range, while a higher loft five wood about 4300.
So, what is a good spin rate for irons?
Remember our first rule about spin – the higher the loft, the higher the spin rates. Since irons have much more loft than drivers and fairway woods, they will spin more.
A good rule of thumb is to take the iron you want to measure and multiply it by 1000 to determine a “good” rate. For example, if you’re hitting a 7 iron, you want the spin rate to be around 7,000rpm.
Just like when you’re hitting your driver, too much spin will lead to loss of distance as the ball will travel too high. While too low of spin will make the trajectory much lower and make it nearly impossible to keep your approach shots on the dance floor.
The final clubs in your bag are the wedges, which have the highest amount of spin (as they have the most loft). These clubs don’t travel near as far but spin a ton, which is why you can get backspin or the “one hop and stop” shots on the green.
Spin rates vary based on swing speed, golf ball, loft of wedge, and type of swing, but generally range from 8,000 to 11,000rpm. Hitting wedges is where things get tricky as some golfers try to actively remove spin as they generate too much. That’s why you see a lot of PGA Tour players hitting knockdown shots to remove spin and not suck their golf ball off the front of the green.
If you want to remove spin with wedges, simply choke up 1-2 inches and take an extra club. It’s better to swing at 80% effort as you will likely make better contact and the ball won’t spin as much. Plus, don’t forget to check out the golf ball spin chart below to see if your ball is adding too much spin.
Some players swear that rust on a wedge will add spin. Read our full article to find out if rust on a wedge really adds spin.
Do you have more questions about dialing in your spin rates? If so, we have answers below.
Not all golfers need professional fittings for their clubs. I would argue that the driver is the club you need to prioritize with spin rates more than anything else.
Since your driver sets up most shots on par 4s and 5s, it’s essential to play a club that suits your game. Otherwise, you’re leaving tons of distance on the table and making golf much harder on yourself.
Golf balls also play a pivotal role in spin.
Some are rock hard and minimize spin while others are soft and increase spin. This 2018 article from Golf Digest makes it easy to see how different golf balls spin based on spin rates and launch angles. Make sure to see how your golf ball impacts spin.
This is a great question as your golf gear directly impacts total spin.
Right before writing and researching this article I had a professional outdoor fitting with Callaway. I wanted to ensure I got the right club head and shaft for my Rogue ST driver and will say it made a huge difference. Based on my driver swing speed (about 110mph) and swing, I got fitted for the Triple Diamond model with a heavier, stiffer shaft than normal (70 grams, X-stiff).
When you do a fitting and can see the trajectory plus spin numbers, it’s eye-opening! Other club heads and shafts added way too much spin and killed distance. While other shafts were too stiff (like the Tour X-stiff) and made the ball go too low. That’s why it’s so important to find the right balance between trajectory and spin.
Yes, a stiffer shaft will lower spin rate and launch. (Go here to read our full article on regular vs stiff flex shaft.) But the clubhead also plays a role too.
While switching clubs and shafts can help, there are more strategies as well. Here are three ways to lower spin rate with your driver:
- Tee it up higher. This will increase the distance the ball is off the ground and promote a higher launch angle which should reduce total spin.
- Keep your weight back and don’t sway forward on your downswing. This will make sure you don’t chop down on the golf ball which will also increase your spin rates.
- Opt for heavier shafts to help flight the golf ball down and increase total distance.
Also, make sure to watch this Top Speed Golf YouTube video to learn more ways to lower driver spin (and max out distance).
A high spin rate leads to a higher launch angle. It will make it feel like your golf ball is floating in the heavens before dropping back onto the green. Your landing angle will be much higher and will land softer.
Conversely, a lower spin rate means the trajectory will be lower as will the landing angle. This is why you want less spin with drivers so they have a boring flight and not much backspin. This will help improve your carry and total distance off the tee.
Spin axis is different from spin rates. The spin axis determines how much the golf ball curves left or right. According to Trackman,
“A negative spin axis represents a ball curving to the left, a positive spin axis represents a ball curving to the right, and a zero spin axis represents a shot that has no curvature.
Spin axis is determined at impact and should remain the same throughout the flight of the ball. Even though wind may “push” the ball in different directions, the spin axis will remain unchanged. Spin axis is measured relative to the horizon.”
Yes and no, depending on the club you’re hitting. While you want more spin with wedges and irons, too much spin with your driver will limit distance off the tee. The basic rule of thumb is the higher average spin with driver equals a lower average distance.
Plus, don’t forget that your swing speed, clubs, and golf balls play a major role in spin. The faster you swing, the more spin you naturally create. The shafts/clubhead and ball will help add or reduce spin depending on the equipment you use.
If you need to reduce spin when you’re playing golf, for example, windy conditions, there are two things you can do. To reduce spin, remember our two rules for the beginning – more loft and more speed equals more spin.
If you’re out on a windy day, especially when hitting into the wind, you want to reduce spin by using less club. Or, if it’s very windy 2-3 clubs. This will mean you’re using less loft which will also spin less. Plus, a shorter follow through will help keep the ball down and under the wind.
Additionally, never forget the famous golf tip, “When it’s breezy, swing easy.” Now that you know about spin rates, you know that this tip makes perfect sense. By swinging slower, you will have less clubhead speed and thus, less spin on the golf ball so it won’t get as affected by the wind.
Remember these two rules when you’re playing golf in the wind.
If you aren’t breaking 90 yet, spin rates aren’t the biggest deal. But as you become more skilled, having the right golf clubs and correct golf shafts to get the ideal spin rates is pivotal to distance and accuracy.
Don’t let your clubs hold you back from playing your best golf!
Once you can shoot in the high 80s (or low 90s) consistently, it’s a good idea to get fit for clubs. When you can test out different equipment with a launch monitor and certified club fitter, it makes it easy to see your spin rates. Plus, you can hit all kinds of different clubs and shafts to see how each impacts distance, accuracy, feel, and trajectory.
Overall, make sure your driver is dialed in above all your other clubs since it sets up so many holes. As you start shooting lower scores, make sure to regularly check your spin rates with irons and wedges too so you get the most from your swing.