Wedge Backspin – Create Backspin with Micro-Groove Wedge
Who isn’t amazed at the ability of the men and women tour players to stop the ball on the green? Without question, elite players can generate more backspin chiefly because of their swing technique. From a slight downward angle of attack with the face dead square to the swing path with a very late wrist-cock angle that is unhinged very late to allow the clubface to contact the ball first before driving into the turf, more friction is generated between the ball and the clubface and more backspin will occur.
Unfortunately, not all of us can master these very precise, simultaneous swing movements to get more spin from our swing technique.
From an equipment standpoint, there most definitely are wedges which are manufactured with differences in the surface of the clubface and differences in the scorelines which can generate more friction and from it, more backspin, even in the hands of a less skilled golfer. But what actually enhances backspin from the standpoint of the clubhead?
First and foremost, any feature that increases the friction between the clubface and the surface of the ball will increase backspin, no matter what your swing technique.
Number one is the roughness of the flat area on the clubface in between the scorelines. Wedges made with a milled face create more friction than wedges without face milling. Wedges which are heavily sand blasted will create more friction than wedges with a less aggressive face blast treatment or wedges which are old, worn and used. Before 1990, the faces of most irons and wedges were sand blasted with aluminum oxide sand in the normal course of their manufacture. Since then the industry changed to silicon glass bead blasting because it looks cleaner and cosmetically more appealing. Glass bead blast faces simply are not as rough as were the old aluminum oxide sand blasted faces. So unless the face is milled, modern irons and wedges with glass bead blasted faces will not spin the ball as much as will wedges blasted with aluminum oxide sand.
If you have investment cast stainless wedges and you have a friend with sand blast equipment, mask off the areas of the head not to be blasted with vinyl tape and have your friend do a fresh blast with aluminum oxide sand. You won’t believe the difference you’ll experience in spin. If you play a lot of golf, get him to re-blast the faces every 4 months because face blasting wears down quickly from hitting balls, especially from hitting shots from a sand bunker.
Second to the roughness of the flat area between grooves is the sharpness of the top scoreline edge coupled with the number of scorelines on the face. To combat this, the USGA/R&A have a rule which limits how sharp the edges of scorelines can be. And clever that they are, this limit for groove edge sharpness was changed in 2010 to be very, well, “un-sharp!” Much more rounded in other words.
But it still is legal in the rules to change the width and the spacing of scorelines to design a wedge with more scorelines on the face. What that can mean is the top edges of more scorelines can be in contact with the surface of the ball to add to the major friction of the flat areas between grooves to enhance spin.
This is precisely the design concept behind the Micro-Groove™ scorelines on various Wishon Golf wedges created over the years. Normal scorelines are 0.8mm to 0.035” wide and most commonly separated by a dimension of either 2.6mm or 2.8mm (0.10” to 0.11”). With such common scoreline specs the top edges of 3 scorelines will be in contact with the surface of the ball at impact. But the rules of golf allow us to design each scoreline to be more narrow than the traditional 0.8mm to 0.035”. In addition, the rules say the spacing between lines cannot be less than 3 times the width of the lines.
The Micro-Groove scorelines are 0.6mm (0.024”) wide and spaced 2.1mm (0.083”) apart. The more narrow closer together Micro-Groove scorelines puts the edges of 5 lines in contact with the surface of the ball at impact. That increase in top edge line contact with the surface of the ball slightly increases the friction between the face and the ball, which in turn means a little more spin.
Bottom line – if you want more spin, first consider using milled face wedges. Second, use aluminum oxide sand blasting on the face, and third, use a more narrow, closer spaced scoreline design such as our Micro-Groove scorelines. Do that and you will spin the ball to the maximum extent your swing technique will allow.