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How to increase wedge spin by hitting the ball off the low toe (for the advanced player)



We know that the characteristics of spin are determined by many factors, such as angle of attack, speed, dynamic loft, launch angle, grooves, wedge design and course conditions, among other things. But did you also know that hitting the ball low on the toe tends to spin the ball much more on average than hitting the center of the blade?

Now, this low-toe strike can be very detrimental to golfers, especially when the player isn’t calculating for the toe miss. This mis-hit will cause the ball to come up short almost every time, costing the player strokes.

Golf Digest “Top 100 Clubfitter” and 2016 Met PGA Section Teacher of the Year, Kirk Oguri has done countless amounts of research on this topic and I’ve asked him to give us the reasons why this occurs.

“When you miss the center of the blade, you must swing harder to make up for the loss of energy, but most people don’t swing harder around the green planning for a low toe impact.”

However, with better players, he suggests that in order to hit partial shots with more spin, you should impact the ball on the low toe.

“Basically, adding more clubhead speed to these shots will increase your spin rate, not to mention the other spin-inducing benefits stemming from the low impact as well,” says Oguri. “This will help you spin the ball more from shorter distances when you absolutely need it.”

So there you have it. If you are an average player, I suggest staying in your posture throughout the swing to hit the center of the blade more often. This will give you a more consistent strike, and more predictable distances.

But, if you are an advanced player, experiment with hitting the ball off the low toe for more spin. It’s not the easiest shot to master, and certainly not always the recommended shot, but it’s nice to have it in your arsenal for when you absolutely need to hit a softer shot with more spin.

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ( He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email:



  1. Astrolabius

    Aug 27, 2018 at 6:22 am

    Es tan simple de verificar como ponerse delante de un Trackman y probarlo.
    Yo lo probaré hoy mismo. Después opinaré.

    • Diego

      Aug 27, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      It’s as simple to verify as to put yourself in front of a Trackman and test it.
      I will try it today. Later I will think. (Google Translation)

    • jason06230

      Aug 27, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      It looks like a beautiful and peaceful place, would be nice to go play golf or just sit and relax for while in a good weather. Places like these should be promoted more.

  2. thuthu

    Aug 27, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Just to chime in here, but IMHO ;>) you are doing the exact same thing as what you describe you are not doing. No one can have more than one focused concsious thought at the same time.

  3. Jamie

    Aug 26, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    Short spinning chips: Choke down and hit with the club heal up and low toe contact. Good contact stops very quick.

  4. steve

    Aug 25, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    The ball spin axis tilt will be different if hit on the toe, heel or center of the clubface. How do you take into account these deviations? Think D-plane.

  5. Happyday_J

    Aug 25, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I’ve always found and utilized low and slightly heel side to increase spin. Same effect, deadens contact allowing a firmer strike, and with gear effect, really causes a lower flight with spin. Low toe I have found yes you can get more spin but with a higher “floatier” flight.

    • steve

      Aug 25, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      There is no gear effect with irons because the CofM is too close to the face. Only the driver with face bulge and roll and with rearward CofM can effect gear effect. You are confusing gear effect with ball spin axis.

  6. Dyson Bochambeau

    Aug 25, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    My studies show El hozel produces maximum spin

  7. Tom

    Aug 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Hahaha….now that’s funny!

    • ogo

      Aug 26, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      What is funny/pathetic is that Tom is a Trackman University Master/Partner… and doesn’t understand Jorgensen’s D-plane… the basis of Trackman algorithm.

      • Tom F. Stickney II

        Aug 26, 2018 at 7:47 pm

        Hard to tilt the spin axis with a high spin loft from 50yrds!?!? Not much…

        • Gog

          Aug 27, 2018 at 1:20 am

          Kaboom! Put him in his place!

        • ogo

          Aug 27, 2018 at 8:08 pm

          Thanks. Please explain why hitting low on the toe of a wedge can cause a slight fade? Which of the many ‘factors’ that you listed causes this ball flight? Thanks again.

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WATCH: What to do when you’re short sided



Top-100 instructor Tom Stickney shows you how to avoid compounding a mistake when you’ve missed the ball on the wrong side of the green.

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Why flaring your left foot out at address could be a big mistake



In his book “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” published in 1957, Ben Hogan recommended that golfers position their right foot at a 90-degree angle to the target line, and then position their left-foot a quarter of a turn outward at a 15-degree angle (Note: He was writing for right-handed golfers). The purpose of the left-foot foot position was to assist in the “clearing of the left hip,” which Hogan believed started his downswing.

Through this Hogan instruction book and the others he wrote through the years, there four categories that defined his advice;

  1. He accurately described what was occurring in his swing.
  2. He described a phantom move that never occurred.
  3. He described something that occurred but to a lesser degree than indicated.
  4. He inaccurately described what was happening in his swing.

As evidenced by today’s modern video, Hogan did not open up his left hip immediately as he described. This piece of advice would fall into the fourth category listed above — he inaccurately described what was happening in his swing. In reality, the first move in his downswing was a 10-12 inch shift of his left hip forward toward the target before his left hip ever turned open.


Those amateur golfers who strictly adopted his philosophy, opening the left hip immediately, ended up“spinning out” and never getting to their left foot. The spin-out was made even worse by the 15-degree angle of the left foot Hogan offered. That said, based on Hogan’s stature in the golf world, his advice regarding the positioning of the feet was treated as if it were gospel and adopted by both players and teachers. Since that time his hip action has been debated, but the positioning of the left foot has remained unquestioned — until today.


The flared position of his left foot may or may not have been of assistance in helping Hogan achieve the desired outcome in his swing. That really is not the point, but rather that over a half-century there has never been a voice that argued against the flared foot position he advocated.

The rest of the golf world accepted his advice without question. In my opinion, the left foot position advocated by Hogan has harmed countless golfers who slowly saw their swings fall apart and wondered why. His well-meaning advice was a poisoned pill, and once swallowed by golfers it served to eventually erode what was left of their left side.


The subject of this piece is not to debate Hogan’s hip action but the piece that accompanied it, the 15-degree flare of the left foot. I’m of the opinion that it is not only wrong. Because of its toxic nature, it is DEAD WRONG.  The reason has to do with the tailbone, which determines the motion of the hips in the swing. The more the left foot opens up at address, the more the tailbone angles backward. That encourages the hips to “spin out” in the downswing, which means they have turned before the player’s weight has been allowed to move forward to their left foot and left knee.

As a consequence of the hips spinning out, players move their weight backward (toward the right foot), encouraging a swing that works out-to-in across the body. You can see this swing played out on the first tee of any public golf course on a Saturday morning.


The problem with the 15-degree foot flare is that it promotes, if not guarantees, the following swing issues:

In the backswing, the flared left foot:

  1. Discourages a full left- hip turn;
  2. Encourages the improper motion of the left-knee outward rather than back
  3. Reduces the degree that the torso can turn because of the restrictions placed on the left hip.

In the downswing, the flared left foot: 

  1. Promotes a “spinning out” of the left hip.
  2. Does not allow for a solid post at impact.


In working with my students, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most advantageous position for the left foot at address is straight ahead at a 90-degree angle to the target line. The reason is not only because it encourages a positive moment of the player’s weight forward in the downswing, but it also improves the player’s chances of making a sound backswing.


There is an inherent advantage to placing the left-foot at a 90-degree to the target-line. It is the strongest physical position against which to hit the ball, as it provides a powerful post at impact that serves to increase both power and consistency.


A number of years ago, Jack Nicklaus appeared on the cover of Golf Digest. The byline suggested that in studying Jack’s footwork, they had discovered something that up to that point was unknown. The “secret” they were describing was that after lifting his left heel in the backswing, he replanted it in the downswing with his heel closer to the target line than his toe. The intimation was that this might be a secret source of power in his swing.  This was hardly a “secret,” and something that Nicklaus was probably unaware of until it was pointed out to him, but it’s a demonstration of the fact that his natural instinct was to turn his foot inward, rather than outward, on the downswing.


The discus thrower whirls around in a circle as he prepares to throw. On the final pass, he plants his left toe slightly inward, relative to his heel, because this is the most powerful position from which to cast the discus. This position allows the thrower to draw energy from the ground while at the same time providing a strong post position from which additional torque can be applied. The point is that as the discus thrower makes the final spin in preparation for the throw, he does not turn the lead foot outward. Why? Because if it were turned outward, the potential draw of energy from the ground would be compromised.

The same is true when it comes to swinging a golf club for power, and you can test the two positions for yourself. After turning the left foot into a position that is 90 degrees to the target line, you will immediately note the ease with which you can now turn away from the target in addition to the strength of your left side post at the point of impact. Conversely, when you turn your left foot out, you will feel how it restricts your backswing and does not allow for a strong post position on the downswing.


Do you have trouble cutting across the ball? You might look to the position of your left foot and the action of the left hip. The first step would be to place your left foot at a 90-degree angle to the target line. The second step would be to turn you left hip around in a half circle as if tracing the inside of a barrel. The third step would be to feel that you left your left hip remains in the same position as you scissor your weight towards your left toe, and then your right heel, allowing the club to travel on the same path. The combination of these changes will encourage the club to swing in-to-out, improving the path of your swing.

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WATCH: Over-the-top vs. over-and-through: 1 destroys a swing, 1 can save it



This video is about OVER-AND-THROUGH, which is very different than being over-the-top. Over-and-through is a great recovery from a backswing that is not quite in the right position. Over-the-top is flat-out a full default to the ball. See how you can bridge the gap with getting your swing to deliver better to the target!

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19th Hole