Fundamentals for a Better Game – Spin Axis – Part 7

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

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This is the continuation of my series titled “Fundamentals for a Better Game.”  The aim of this is to provide ball flight and impact fundamentals any player regardless of skill level can use to become better. This is part 7, Spin Axis.    

What is Spin Axis?
Spin Axis is the axis on which a golf ball spins.

Previous Misconceptions?
Spin Axis has one major misconception which still to this day is uttered on golf telecasts across all the major tours. That is that a golf ball has “side spin.” The idea is that when a ball curves in the air, it is both spinning back & sideways. This is factually inaccurate. A ball can only spin on one single axis. 

Spin orients itself on the horizon and is either a positive or negative number. Spin Axis represents the degree(s) which a balls axis is tilted. 

What Do I need to know?
Really a few things. First, the less Spin Loft a shot has (Spin Loft remember is the difference between Static & Dynamic Loft) the easier it is to tilt the axis of the golf ball either way. Therefore, it is easier to curve a 3 iron than a lob wedge. Also, it’s the reason Bubba Watson’s shot from the pine straw right of the fairway on #10 at Augusta was so remarkable. Second, the axis itself is tilted via a differential between the Club Path & Face Angle or from an off-center strike. Think of Spin Axis as airplane wings. Airplane wings (Spin Axis) tilted right, a ball goes right.  Airplane wings (Spin Axis) tilted left, the ball goes left.  

How Can I Practice This?
Practicing Spin Axis is something which can be done on every shot, although it is more a perceptual and awareness type practice than it is physically practicing something. One must first bring attention and awareness to how the golf ball is curving in the air. This curvature will allow you to begin ascertaining how significant the Spin Axis is tilted. Off-Center strikes are a big part of Spin Axis. The off-center strike will either increase or decrease the severity of the Spin Axis tilt.  This of course is predicated on the Face to Path differential and the contact point on the face. The Spin Axis of a ball struck off the heel will decrease with an in-to-out path and increase with an out-to-in Club Path (assuming the Face Angle is 0).  Conversely, a ball struck on the toe will increase the Spin Axis with an in-to-out Club path whereas decrease the Spin Axis if struck on with an out-to-in Club Path (assuming the Face Angle is 0.) Always ask these 3 questions. Where on the face did I strike the shot? (centeredness), where did the golf ball start? (face angle) and how did it curve? (club path).  

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher the past 14 years. Voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State the past 21 years. Trackman Master Instructor. Titleist Certified Club Fitter. Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale he teaches private lessons at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. The Scott Sackett Signature Schools take place at SunRidge Canyon Golf Club. Follow Scott on Instagram @scottsackettgolf.  Email: | Site URL: