I was wondering the other day, in light of the holy grail of “high launch, low spin” to maximize driver distance, is such a thing achievable by anyone who does not have Tour-caliber swing speed.
So I turned, as I always do, to Tom Wishon, who in my mind, is the smartest guy in the room when it comes to golf equipment and how it performs. Here’s what he said:
“High Launch, low spin is ONLY achievable for ANY golfer (does not have to be tour caliber) who has a more upward angle of attack into the ball. Meaning if the golfer NATURALLY can swing the driver so the angle of attack is more than 3 degrees upward, and approaching 5 degrees upward, this is the ideal angle of attack for being able to use a low loft driver to keep the spin down, but at the same time to also get a reasonably high launch angle from the very upward angle of attack. “What makes this so that many think it only comes from tour caliber type players is the fact that to achieve a very upward (angle of attack) requires some very tour caliber type swing moves like turning very well through the ball with the same spine angle you have at address, while also staying well behind the ball and with a proper, late release.”
He went on to give some additional perspective. “But I will also add that there is WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY too much emphasis placed on spin numbers by golfers these days,” Wishon said. “It’s like an obsession if a golfer hits shots on a launch monitor and sees his spin is not in the low 2000s with the driver. SO MANY GOLFERS just do not understand that spin and ball speed do go hand in hand and they really do not understand that if you swing over the top ANY, and have any type of a downward angle of attack at the ball, there is no way you can achieve lower spin. Plus – and this is the part that makes me roll my eyes when I encounter these “spin obsessed” golfers – they’re hitting range balls on a crappy launch monitor or worse yet, on a simulator, to get the spin number that they obsess about. “Then they all start hunting for a different SHAFT as the holy grail of low spin enhancement. Which also is ridiculous because it is only the golfers with a late to very late release who even can begin to see spin differences from changes in shaft stiffness/bend profile design. Launch angle is KING and loft is how you manipulate launch angle first and foremost. And from that ball flight is king too. If you have a nice arcing trajectory and the angle of descent of your drives is under 40 degrees, you are golden and never have to look at a spin number on a launch monitor ever again.”