Ball Flight and Spin
One of the driving forces behind the development of our new SCOR4161 line of precision scoring clubs was the quest to maximize spin with the new mandated grooves. Unless you’ve been in hibernation, you know the USGA issued new rules regarding groove geometry, which have completely gone into effect for equipment manufacturers. We can no longer mill our grooves with the same sharp edges you all became accustomed to over the past decade. Now, the grooves must have a definite radius to the edges.
When we began testing various configurations of these new grooves, we saw some things that really puzzled us. So we dug deeper and the result was the progressive weighting concept behind the new SCOR4161 scoring clubs. Very simply, we found that by launching the ball lower and getting it off the clubface quicker, we could impart measurably more spin to the ball. To achieve this more desirable ball flight, we created SGC3 Weighting. “SGC” is an acronym for Short Game Control, and the “3” is a multiplier – we improved distance control, trajectory control and spin control with this innovation.
Now, this is not an ad for SCOR4161, but I wanted to use this research and development project to help illustrate a key principle of how ball flight and spin are so related. We’ve been doing extensive testing of short range clubs on a Foresight Sports GC2 launch monitor. This is a great little device that uses synchronized high speed cameras to capture two images of the golf ball after impact. It then gives a true reading for launch angle, ball speed, backspin and side spin, and then extrapolates the carry distance. But the true readings are what we are most interested in.
What we found is that shots that fly lower almost always have more backspin than those launched higher with the same club. And the lower shots are almost always struck much lower on the clubface than the higher shots. The other thing about shots struck lower on the face, and that fly lower, is that the distance deviations are much tighter than those struck higher on the face.
So, what we can now see with the help of this sophisticated launch monitor is what golf professionals of decades ago found with trial and error. Look at any old worn blades of a good player and you’ll see that the lower third of the clubface is what is worn away. Those players found that a lower trajectory with the short irons and wedges led to perfection of distance control and accuracy.
What we saw is that shots that were only a hair away from being truly “bladed”, or almost skulled, left the face with the most spin. Golfer after golfer could not believe the results of shots they felt were hit “thin”. But we saw it time and again.
So, if you want to improve your short range shotmaking, you need to learn to make contact with the ball on the lower third of the clubface. To do that, I suggest you focus your eyes on the forward edge of the ball and be sure your left side and hands lead the clubhead through the impact zone. If you work on this, you’ll find your distance control improving dramatically and your spin enhanced measurably.
And it wouldn’t hurt if you abandoned those cavity back short irons that were designed to hit the ball as high as possible . . . great for a 5- or 6-iron, but not so much for your scoring clubs.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
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Kevin Langdon (7)