Pitching With More Backspin

May 17th, 2018
VIDEO: Transcript

To put more backspin on your pitches with your sterling irons, I’ve got a few suggestions here for you.

First is to consider what club you’ll be using. So here, generally speaking, the more loft that you have, the more it’s going to spin, so take for example, your [0:00:30] with really low loft, maybe eight to 12, to 14 degrees, whatever it is, versus like, say, gap wedge might be 50 degrees, so generally speaking, the more loft you have, the more spin you’re going to have, but once you get up into the wedge area, the gaps and pitching lob wedge, the wedge area, that doesn’t necessarily hold true, so what I would say, [0:01:06] talk for example about a 50-yard pitch and the cool thing about this is you don’t necessarily need to have tour clubhead speed to be able to hit. Yeah, the less [0:01:20] still hit this super spinny shot, that either lands and grabs, or lands and bounces twice and then grabs, or maybe even back up a little bit. So, first, find a 50-yard target and then grab your pitching – even grab your nine-iron, I would say grab anything over probably over 40 – try everything over 40 degrees, so in the case of our sterling irons, the nine-iron is 40 degrees, the pitching wedge is 45, the gap is 50, the sand is 55, the lob wedge is 60, so try all of those. Get a 50-yard target and then hit a few balls to those targets, and then just – you don’t necessarily need a launch monitor to do this; you can just do it at the driving range and see, just visually observe which seems to grab a little bit more, so different people are delivering the clubface a little bit more shaft vertical or a little bit shaft forward and there’s a lot of variance between there, so that’s part of the reason why different clubs up in this range are going to give you more spin or less spin, and then I guess if you’re getting to be too much loft, then there’s just not going to be enough friction, so try different clubs and just hit three or four balls with each one, make sure you’re making pretty good contact, and you’ll get a sense like, okay, this one spins a little bit more, and for me, personally, for a 50-yard pitch, the lob wedges are the ones that spins the most and – actually, the sand wedges are the one that spin the most. For me personally, the 50-degree, the gap wedge sterling iron club is the one that spins the most out of those, but again, for you, it might be the pitching wedge, it might be the sand wedge, it might be the lob wedge, so try different ones. So, that’s the first thing, try a few different clubs, see which one spins the most.

Next is to get a good ball, a good tour-level ball. So, most common way [0:03:54] ball either by choice or because they’re being paid, or both, are the [0:04:01] one and [0:04:03] but each of the major manufacturers is going to make a tour-level golf ball, and then if you’re worried about price a little bit, you can either shop online for some used golf balls or now, recently, we’ve got smaller companies like [0:04:21] Golf which is the one that I have here or Vice Golf or Kirkland Signatures, there’s a few smaller brands that are more direct to consumer type models, so they don’t pay millions and millions of dollars to tour players to play their balls, but they’re designed well enough that they’re going to spin just as good as the 15 [0:04:49] dozen balls. You can get them for $30 or something like that. So, make sure you use a good tour-level type ball, those are going to spin more. I think you can imagine, they’re going to spin a lot more than a range ball, but even within regular balls. Typically, for high handicappers, from a design standpoint, golfers are slicing the balls. So, to help reduce the slices off the tees and into the greens, they make those balls spin a little bit less, so that’s good from tee to green, but then when you get closer to the green, the less spin, if you’re looking at spinning the ball and pitches, it’s going to be a little bit harder to do. So, that’s the next thing, just make sure you’re using a good tour-level type ball, use whatever brand you want. Most manufacturers are going to make a spinning type ball.

And then, what you need to do as far as the contact and technique, that makes a big, big difference, so get some of this Dr. Scholl’s OdorX Foot Powder Spray or some other brand of similar spray, some chalk powder spray, that works okay too, that kids use on sidewalks or whatever, spray a little bit on the clubface, and generally speaking, the higher you hit on the clubface, the less spin there’s going to be, and then as you move down the side there, there’s going to be more spin, and then when you get down to the bottom here, that’s where there’s going to be the most amount of spin, and you can even almost scull it. So, sculling it, I would say, is where you’re bringing the leaning edge of the club right into the ball here and the ball just takes off and goes flying. So, normally, maybe you want to get under it a little bit, but you could be – I don’t know, towards the bottom half, so you get half of the ball imprint on the bottom of the club, you could even go that low, so it requires a little bit of precision ball striking to do, but ball struck lower on the clubface are going to spin more, and that’s because of vertical gear effect, so we’ll talk about that just briefly here. Let me set this down somewhere.

So, if you think about a collision, if there’s a car here, and then you bring another one into it, direct on, it’s going to deflect off straight away, but if you, say this car is here, and then the side of the car hits and it’s not a direct center of gravity, the center of gravity hits kind of like a glancing, deflecting blow, this is going to want to stay, the car that’s moving, say the clubface is going to want to keep going this direction and the center of mass is in the middle here, so that’s going to want to keep going, but it’s going to get stopped here by this ball, so the car or a clubface will tilt forward a little bit because the center of mass or gravity is above the center of gravity of this, it’s going to try and keep going in that direction, going to tilt, and when that tilts like that, number one, it delofts the clubface a little bit, so when you talk about those tour, those low-spinning shots that look like, omigosh, it’s going to go way over to the green, and then all of a sudden, it just lands and grabs, and stops, so that’s part of how that happens, is you catch the ball in the low part of the clubface, it tilts the clubface forward which helps lower the shot, but then also, this tilting of the clubface, it makes this other one spin and it spins in the direction – say, like get a ball here, get a ball, closer – so, if this club comes in here and I strike a little below the center of gravity of the ball, the clubface tilts forward, and then that makes the ball, it’s called gear affect. It’s kind of like it locks in, and then when you turn the gears one way – sorry – you turn the gears one way, it’s going to turn the gears the opposite way. So, it kind of like, interlocks, you got contact here, this keeps going forward, these gears go this way, so that’s more backspin on the ball. So, that’s a little bit about how that works, how vertical gear affects works, and actually, this is for another topic, but if you talk about driver, that’s why you want to generally hit the ball or why when you do hit the ball a little higher on the face, it spins less and it launches higher. It’s just the opposite conditions of what we’re trying to do here with the pitching and trying to get more spin and maybe a little bit lower launch. So, that’s what to do there – oh, and then also because when you talk about [0:11:09] – I’ll come up closer here again – you get the most amount of ball speed, we designed these sterling irons here to have the sweet spot be roughly right in the middle, so it’s not going to be towards the hill or towards the toe – it’s going to be in the middle there. So, that’s where you’re going to get the most amount of ball speed, but since we’re trying to strike the ball a little bit lower on the clubface, we’re going to lose ball speed, so let’s say just for a numbers example, you have 10 mi./hr of clubhead speed, and then the ball comes off at the sweet spot at 10 mi./hr, that’s not going to be what will happen but just for the math here. So, if you miss the sweet spot and hit it like on a part of the clubface where you lose a little ball speed, maybe that you only get 8 mi./hr, then so the smash factor goes down. So, because there’s less ball speed coming off, you actually need to swing harder to get it to go the distance that you want to. So, that actually also adds spin as well, so it’s kind of a cool thing that’s happening there, so you’re intentionally mishitting it and you’re mishitting it low on the clubface, almost until the [0:12:35] – you can have the entire ball print on the clubface, that’s probably about as high as I want you to have it. Anywhere from there to halfway where half the ball is off the clubface and half is not, so anywhere in that range is going to be more of a super spinny type shot, and generally speaking, also from a technical standpoint, I would say that try and pick the ball, collect it, sweep it, don’t take a divot because that’s also going to not only is it going to help you help minimize the chance for hitting it fat, so you’re going to be a little bit more consistent, but it lowers that strike, the sweep, or the collect – however you want to say it – it lowers that strike and it gets you more spin that way.

So, those are the things I would say if you’re looking to spin your sterling irons pitches more. So, just to recap real quick, pull out all your sterling irons wedges, pitch [0:13:51] gap, [0:13:52] lob wedge, get a 50-yard target, you can just do this on the range if you want, and hit some pitches toward it and just observe which one for you spins more, depending on how you deliver the club. It’s going to be different for each of us, so that’s the first thing.

Second thing, get a tour-level type golf ball, and one that spins a little bit more. That definitely can make a difference even for tour players who have the right strike and are doing all the right things, with a low spinny range ball, they’re not going to be able to [0:13:52] spin as much either, so the ball helps.

And then also, make sure your contact is low on the clubface and not more towards the center where it normally would be, and then generally speaking, try and sweep or pick, or collect the ball which is going to help you hit it lower on the clubface. So, those are things I want to tell you. Go out, give those things a try on the range, on the course if you want, and then hopefully, you’ll be finding yourself hitting those pitch shots with grandma’s extra special sauce.

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