Players vs. IT — how spin and the trackball affect your shots

By • Category: Approach shots with irons, Features, Putting, Using the track ball

There are three parts to this discussion, but they have been up for debate for years.  Let’s start with spin on putts.
PLAYER CLAIM: Applying roll or backspin to putts affects the putt.
IT CLAIM: Spin has no effect on putts.

Many pros believe that spin absolutely has an affect on the putt.  Some players are completely sure that applying roll on a putt helps it out of the fringe.  Others believe applying roll to a putt reduces the chance of a rollover on a steep downhill putt.  Some believe that backspin helps slow a putt and gives you a better chance of reducing rollovers.  And many pros just laugh because they think that spin simply has no effect on the putt.  The stance from IT has been that spin SHOULD NOT have any affect on the putt, because spin has not been programmed into the game to affect the putt differently.  Yet the pros are the ones playing on a daily basis, so their opinions and results are certainly basis for this debate!

Finally, many pros believe that distance balls putt faster and farther than normal balls.  The evidence behind this is pretty easy to see by doing a couple tests.  I haven’t heard IT refute this one.

THE TAKEAWAY: Do what “you believe” helps you.  If you think that you make more putts by applying spin, then by all means, continue doing so.  But know that there is no true evidence to support this behavior, at least from the programming point of view!  Also know that the farther your ball goes off the tee, the farther it will go on the green during a putt, albeit not a very significant amount.
PLAYER CLAIM: Pulling back to A or C on downhill putts helps prevent rollovers.
IT CLAIM: This behavior has some affect, but it’s not programmatical.

It’s widely believed that you need to pull the trackball back to A or C on downhill putts to help prevent the chance of a rollover.  I follow this advice and I believe in it.  However, IT also claims that nothing is programmed into the game to support this theory.  IT did bend on this claim for another reason, though.

Due to the trackball design, it’s possible that a pullback to A, but especially C, slows down the putt due to the design of the trackball.  Angled pullbacks create different reads on the sensors of the trackball, so the evidence supporting this theory may just be physical, due to the design of the trackball and NOT the programming of the game.

In addition, most players hit downhill putts with less force anyway.  When you slow the putt down, it’s got the best chance to go in.

THE TAKEAWAY: Continue pulling back to C on your downhill putts of 5 or more, and try to hit them softer than normal putts.  The combination of the physics of the trackball with the slower velocity should certainly help you minimize your rollovers.
PLAYER CLAIM: Backspin adds elevation to your shot, while roll reduces it.
IT CLAIM: Spin has no effect on the height of your shot.

This one isn’t much of a debate.  While IT says that backspin and roll have not been programmed to alter the height of your shot, there’s overwhelming evidence supporting the contrary.  Specific player tests have proven that backspin gives you a little more elevation on your shot, while roll makes your shot fly a bit lower than with no spin applied.

THE TAKEAWAY: If you are ever in need of a bit of extra elevation, put backspin on your shot.  To reduce the height of your shot, apply roll.  This is, of course, considering distance and the function of the spin itself in addition to elevation.


Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

is a Golden Tee addict from Chicago, IL, thirsty for tips and tricks!
Email this author | All posts by

One Response »

  1. Yeah you could — you could click the button and hear it apply, but as with the article above, the results were debatable.

Leave a Reply