You’ve likely heard the saying “tee it high and let it fly” before. Assuming you’re able to optimize your numbers throughout the bag, launching it high typically leads to increased carry, hangtime — and more distance.
It’s a simple but effective formula, assuming you know what you’re doing.
Of course, there’s a point where a towering launch can wreak havoc on your game. Too much height can lead to an unwanted uptick in spin and unless you play on a course where the wind isn’t an issue whatsoever, excessive RPMs can (and will) give you fits when it comes to calculating carry distances.
If you’re currently dealing with an abundance of spin or an unplayable launch, testing different shaft profiles with a certified club-fitter is a good way to dial in both numbers. If you don’t have the budget for new shafts — they certainly don’t come cheap when you’re trying to outfit a set of irons — more reasonable options do exist.
1. Go stronger
A solid, consistent feel can be difficult to replicate from one iron build to the next. It’s one of the reasons why golfers tend to keep a good set of irons around until they absolutely have to search for something different. If you’ve found a head-shaft combo that feels right but want to knock down launch and spin, strengthening the lofts can solve your problems without much effort.
“If you like the feel, hit the center of the face and find you’re launching it a little high, let’s go ahead and strengthen those irons to see if it fixes the problem,” McCormack said.
If you’re considering going this route, be mindful of the loft gaps and how a reduction might affect carry yardages. It’s also important to note you should never strengthen the loft on any club more than two degrees. Doing so compromises how the sole impacts the turf, which in turn could lead to a host of unforeseen consistency issues. Keep it to two degrees or less and you should be just fine.
2. Maybe it’s not the club (or shaft)
Golfers tend to get fixated on the shaft or club head as the root of the problem. But maybe it’s something else — like the golf ball.
With myriad of different options, it’s possible to find, say, a low-spin ball that will help you knock off spin without having to make major adjustments to your build.
“If you like the feel of that iron with that particular shaft in it, what’s the scope, why are we changing? Shaft essentially becomes the instrument,” McCormack. “Is that going to change the characteristic of the head at all? No. That particular head might like to launch and spin it. So shaft might save you a couple hundred RPMs. You might launch it slightly lower, but it’s not going to scrub a player’s spin to the point that it’s an entirely different golf club.”
It might not be an obvious option, but it’s worth taking a closer look at your ball of choice. And if you need some tips on conducting ball testing, we have a few suggestions.