High vs Low Spin Golf Balls: Spin Rates Compared


Picking the right golf ball for your swing and skill level is one of the most important things you can do. Certain balls will spin more than others, and in this post, we’ll be talking about which golf balls spin the most and who should use them.

Generally speaking, beginners and high handicap golfers should use a cheaper ball that spins less. As you start getting better, you’ll probably want to upgrade your ball to something that spins more. If you want to see how each ball compares, you should read our golf ball spin chart.

Which Golf Balls Spin The Most Off The Tee?

Higher-end balls and those that have several layers (usually three or more) will spin the most off the tee. High-spin balls give you improved height, controlled distance and better-stopping mastery. Because of this, a lot of the balls here are used by professional golfers.

What’s important to note is that the spin rate will depend on your swing speed. If you have a faster swing speed then you might get different results. My swing speed is a bit higher than average.

Here are the highest spinning golf balls off the tee:

All of the balls in the list above have high spin rates, which is fine if you’re a low-to-scratch handicapper. With the driver, you want a lower spin or just enough backspin on the ball to keep it in the air but allow it to roll when it lands.

Having more spin will let you have more control over the ball. You’ll be able to curve the ball around easier with a ball that spins more. A lot of people think that soft balls spin more than firm balls, but that isn’t always true. You can see our soft vs hard golf balls article here.

A higher handicapper will find that hooks and slices are accentuated, caused by sidespin created by an imperfectly struck golf ball.

Which Golf Balls Spin The Least Off The Tee?

Low spin golf balls are typically for high handicap golfers or someone who hits the ball too high and needs something that flies a bit lower. Having a lower spinning ball off the tee can help you lower your launch angle and can also help if you hook or slice the ball.

RELATED: High vs Low Spin Golf Balls: Which Go Further?

Here are the lowest spinning golf balls off the tee:

The majority of golf balls are designed to have lower amounts of spin off the tee and higher amounts of spin near the greens. This helps you hit the ball far, straight, and be able to stop the ball on the green.

The Pros & Cons Of Long Game Spin

Spin is one of the factors that make your golf ball rise into the air. When the air flows over the dimples on a golf ball, a low-pressure area is created, causing the golf ball to rise in the air, a lot like the wing of an airplane. This is lift.

The faster the spin, the higher it will rise, but of course, too much lift means the ball will rise too high and drop too soon, resulting in a shorter drive.

Sweeping or trying to pick the ball off the ground will launch it way above 45 degrees, as far too much spin will be imparted – a common result with beginners and high handicappers.

A low handicapper or scratch golfer, however, will propel the ball at a much lower elevation, getting the maximum from the drive. They will then have a softer, more responsive ball for the intricate work around the green, where backspin is vital in most cases.

Of course, backspin is not the only concern off the tee. Anyone with a tendency to slice or hook the ball with their driver should be warned: high spin rates on a ball can also accentuate sidespin in either direction. Learn more about how backspin and sidespin affect a golf ball.

Not a problem for any handicap level if the ball is struck correctly, but very cruel if your hands have a tendency to wander. Until you can hit most fairways off the tee with your driver, you might be advised to concentrate on low spinning balls.

You may lose some bite into the greens, but the added accuracy means you will spend less time (and fewer shots) playing out of the trees. The ball may not travel as far through the air, but the lower spin rate will result in increased roll upon landing.

Low handicappers should plump for a high spinning ball, as it will not punish your level of play off the tee, but reward you handsomely around the greens.

RELATED: Best Low Spin Golf Balls

Which Golf Balls Have The Most Spin Around The Greens?

Generally, urethane-covered balls (3 or 4 piece golf balls) will provide the most spin around the greens. These balls react most with the impact of the square grooves on your shorter irons and spin fiercely, often stopping dead, or even backing up several yards after impact.

RELATED: Urethane vs Ionomer vs Surlyn Golf Balls

Here are the highest spinning golf balls around the green:

  • Volvik S4
  • Kirkland Signature
  • Mizuno RB Tour X
  • Snell MTB-X
  • Taylormade TP5

A low handicapper loves spin. This attribute in a golf ball allows them to attack greens where desirable, without the ball running off the back of the green, and provides them with maximum control, feel and feedback through the club.

For this, they are willing to pay handsomely, a real drawback for a high or even mid-handicapper, who will lose many more balls, in the rough or in water hazards.

These high-spinning balls are softer (usually with urethane skins) than low-spinning balls and therefore less durable, particularly when hit incorrectly.

Certainly, it is a rare thing to find a golf ball on the course that’s not all scratched up, but the balls do hit obstacles and will wear more quickly unless struck correctly. These balls are best for low handicappers and better.

Which Golf Balls Have The Least Spin Around The Greens?

Typically, lower-end balls will have less short-game spin compared to premium balls. 2 or 3 piece golf balls will have the lowest spin rates. I tried to list a couple of “cheap” balls as well as some more expensive balls that have lower spin rates.

Here are the lowest spinning golf balls around the green:

The majority of these balls are designed for beginners and high handicappers (the last 2 aren’t). Less short game spin will help you hit more greens, but the downside is that they won’t stop as quickly. That’s fine for most because the average player can’t put much spin on the ball.

2 piece balls are more durable as well due to a harder skin (usually ionomer) and cheaper to purchase thanks to fewer layers and cores. That’s why high handicappers should use them.

The Pros & Cons Of Short Game Spin

Your short irons will produce more spin than your longer clubs and woods. This is ideal if you strike the ball correctly, as the strike will impart backspin when approaching the green, causing the ball to land softly. The ball will probably reverse slightly and stop safely on the green.

The higher spin rate a ball has, the more potential it has to spin backwards a great deal if hit correctly. Conversely, an extremely low spin rate on a golf ball (probably played by a high handicapper) will run on far more.

Having more spin can be helpful if you’re playing a course with firm greens. You might need more spin to get the ball to stop quickly. The opposite is true on soft greens (you might have too much spin).

Unfortunately for 25% of male and 81% of all female golfers (handicaps of 19 or higher), short game spin can be disastrous. A poorly hit approach shot can very easily slice or hook as the spin accentuates the problem.

Low spin is a better bet for a higher handicap, but this does mean dropping the ball short of the green on most occasions and running on.

High wind conditions might cause you to choose a lower spinning ball, as the wind can really affect spin. Generally speaking, a single-figure golfer will get the most response and control from the higher spinning ball, while even a mid handicap golfer (10-19) will benefit from a medium or even a low spinning golf ball.

Note. This article is part of our series on golf ball spin. If you want to learn about what creates spin, how it affects the golf ball, and everything else you need to know, I’d recommend checking that out.

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Jon Webber

Just an average golfer trying to take my game to the next level. Was shooting around 100 not that long ago but have now been in the 80s consistently. Best round to date was 12 over. Best 9 holes were 4 over.

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