I have gained a ridiculous amount of knowledge and insight in my time on the PGA and LPGA Tours. Of everything I have taken in, the management of gapping and spin have been the topics that have truly impacted my game.
If we look at spin management first, which is the undisputed king when it comes to elite golf, I now have a true understanding of what good spin VS bad spin looks like.
In the past, “spin” wasn’t a word I paid much attention to. It was all carry, total distance and ball speed. Spin only mattered when I was around the green. One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was hit 50 yard pitches and watch the ball rip and stop on a dine. Little did I know that it wasn’t the stopping power that caught my eye…it was control. Spin is control. On the PGA Tour, that control is represented by RPM windows throughout the bag. Every club, shot, and trajectory has a preferred spin window it must live in, or the club is essentially “not going to work.”
This was a fun article I wrote almost a year ago on that very topic:
The lesson, which I referred to multiple times in my articles is EVERY CLUB HAS A SPECIFIC JOB/S. Not one club in your bag should be in there because “it’s just there”, you wouldn’t do that with a tool box so why is it any different with your golf clubs.
NOW WE GET TO GAPPING
Lets look at the gapping of my entire bag first:
Driver: Rogue ST Max firstname.lastname@example.org w/ Fujikura Ventus Blue 6X Tipped 1@ 45, D3
Carry (Stock Conditions): 280/163MPH/2300 Spin
3-Wood: Rogue ST LS HL email@example.com w/ Fujikura Ventus Blue 7X Tipped 1@ 43, D3
Carry (Stock Conditions): 250/154MPH/3100 Spin
5-Wood: Rogue ST 💎💎💎T firstname.lastname@example.org w/ Fujikura Ventus Blue 8X Tipped 1.5@42, D3
Carry (Stock Conditions): 230/148MPH/3400 Spin
Irons: 4-PW Rogue ST Pro w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 MID
Carry (Stock Conditions): (4, 22) 215, (5, 25) 200, (6, 28.5) 185, (7, 32.5) 170, (8, 36.5) 155, (9, 41) 145, (P, 45) 135-120
Jaws Raw (50/12W, 54/12W, 58/08Z) w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
50: 120 as low as 105
54: 105 as low as 85
58: 80 and in…but I honestly don’t even care. It’s my around the greens club.
Ok, this is why I do it this way, and I got this dialed watching Jon Rahm specifically. To be clear, 8-LW is the place in your bag (most golfers) where gapping is tight…but there is more room for feel and creativity.
Jon Rahm, for example, never hits hard shots from 8-LW. His stock shot is at 75-80% and will go down as low as 50%, depending on the shot required. 85% would be if he needs to nuke one.
For me, 8-Iron goes max 165, and I can chip it to 140, 9 Iron 150-125, PW 135-110, etc. I want almost ALL my variety and broad gaps to live in my scoring clubs. I know 75% gets me the “stock yardage.” From there, it’s adding 5% for a hard shot and down up to 25% for a feel shot. Every other club in my bag gets me from Point A to point B. It’s 8-iron on down where I can get creative. YES, on tour, that’s a bit different, but for a player like me that plays 20-30 times a year, it’s the best design I’ve used, and my scores reflect that.
From a 35,000-foot view, it looks like this…we all have more shots to play at the bottom of the bag, so stretch your limits in that area with your gapping, but it’s a MUST that you base your stock yardage on a shot at 75% not 85% or 90%. Give your short iron skills some runway to have multiple shots. Most golfers don’t have the chops to filet five and six-irons into tucked pins on command, that’s TOUR stuff, but you can create a system in your short irons that allows you to be a bit more aggressive than you think you can be. Why? The ball is SPINNING more. What is spin? Control.
See how that works?