Off Center Hits and Their Effect on Spin Rates

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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One of the most common overlooked points in looking at Spin Rate with a driver, especially when a player is getting fit, is the effect an off center hit has on the Spin Rate. There is much more than just loft and shaft flex which needs to be examined in order to properly interpret a golf shot. What comprises the Spin Rate? 

There are 4 components which comprise Spin Rate and I will list them in descending order, starting with the one having the most influence in determining Spin Rate to the one with the least influence:  Spin Loft, Contact Point, Club Speed & Friction. (These factors change in order with an Iron)

Let’s define Spin Loft. Spin Loft is simply the difference between the loft on the Club Head at impact (loft changes with impact point) and how much up or down the player hits the shot, also known as Attack Angle. 

It is important to note, when describing an off center strike I am not speaking of just Toe and Heel. Low and High on the Club Face is HUGE in determining the Spin Rate of a golf shot, as well. This is the best diagram so far I have found to illustrate how important contact point is in determining Spin Rate. Thank you to James Leitz for putting this together. 

Center:  1200rpm difference between ½’’ low and ½’’ high! 

¾’’ Toe:  With contact point ½’’ low on the clubface, you’re adding 746rpm to the Spin Rate and ½’’ high you’re taking off 533rpm. That’s a difference of almost 1200rpm! 

¾’’ Heel:  With a contact point ½’’ low on the clubface, you’re adding 762rpm to the Spin Rate and ½’’ high you’re taking off 400rpm. 1100rpm difference. 

So, let’s make some generalized statements based on this data so you can better understand what happens to Spin Rate when you miss the center of the face.

1)  High Toe spins the least
2)  Low Heel spins the most
3)  Heel spins more than toe
4)  Low spins more than high

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher since 1999, just voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State for the fifth year in a row. Also, Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. If you would like to get in touch with Scott, you can contact him at