How to get backspin on a golf ball

Golfing tips & reviews - By golfers

How to get backspin on a golf ball

Backspin is one of the trickier skills to master in golf but take the time to learn it and you’ll see how much it improves your game. For me personally, I’d say learning how to get spin on the ball really helped me to drive my game to the next level and took roughly 6 shots off my handicap.

It did take me a while to really get to grips with it but if you asked me what was the one thing most amateur golfers could do to improve their game then learning how to get backspin on the golf ball would be the answer. So many players concentrate on getting the ball on the green and end up right at the back of it, or trying to land it short and then run it on. Using just a bit of spin enables you to be so much more accurate with your shots. Be warned though, this isn’t something you’ll master in one round, it takes learning when you can play the shot and lots of practice.

Getting backspin –  A beginners guide

If you’re reading this and are not a beginner but want to improve how much spin you get then it’s a good idea to have a read over this section before we move on to more advanced swings. It’s always good to make sure you’re getting the basics right before trying more advanced shots.

Step 1 – The Lie

This is absolutely key, you’ll need to understand that from some positions you won’t be able to get backspin and you’ll have to select different shots (I personally made this mistake, trying to spin every shot into the green regardless of the lie). The key thing is to be on the fairway, not on a downward slope, and it’s a lot easier to do in dry conditions. Even in the semi-rough its a lot harder to get the spin, unless you’re a pro golfer!

Don't try to get backspin when the ball is in the semi rough like this

You need to make sure you can make a clean strike of the ball without any grass in the way. The best place to practice these shots is on the fairway or in a practice bunker 40-60 yards from the green.

Step 2 – The ball

The softer the ball outer the more spin you’ll get, this is because it generates more friction in the shot. Here I’d recommend playing with an Titleist Pro V1 (This is the ball used by Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas and Ricky Folwer plus quite a few others). Just remember if you’re practicing at the range with range balls you’ll get less backspin than out on the course, hence the recommendation to take your own balls to a practice bunker. As you can see from the data below from GolfWRX (Source here) the Pro V1 has a considerably greater spin rate than other balls –

Spin rate of the Titleist pro V1 - data by GolfWRX

Step 3 – The correct stance

Here are my golden rules for your stance

  1. Keep the ball perfectly in the middle of your legs
  2. Put 60-70% of your weight on your back foot – This will create a steeper angle of your swing making you come down on a better line to generate the spin – this is essential!
  3. Keep the stance open, aim slightly left of your target and open your clubface slightly

Step 4 – Striking the ball

The final piece of the jigsaw, if you’ve got the ball lined up correctly in your stance and your weight on your back foot the strike should fall into place. You need to strike the back of the ball cleanly without taking any fairway first, or sand if you’re in the bunker. A good clean strike of the ball should leave it spinning back nicely when it lands on the green.

Key things to remember

  1. The roll of the green will impact the amount of spin you get, its a lot harder to get it to bite on a downslope away from you.
  2. Keep practicing, for me, this wasn’t something I got right every shot and still don’t. It takes some time to really master and you may have to adjust your club in order to hit more to the middle/ back of the green rather than running it in.
  3. The more open the face the more spin you should get. My top tip is to open the face more the closer you are to the green. If I’m in a greenside bunker then I’ll have the face really wide in order to get some real bite on the ball.

For a bit of inspiration here are some amazing bunker spin shots from the PGA tour

How to get more backspin on wedge shots

This is where you can really start to get some backspin going on your shots. Any time you are in and around the green then the pitching wedge, loft wedge or sand wedge should be out of your bag (see our best wedge guide here). Simply anywhere your in range then the wedge will give you much more opportunity to spin the ball.

Open the face further the closer you are to the hole, from 40-60 yards you should have a really open face and be looking to fly it into the green to bite back. This again is a good one to work on when you’re out on the practice ground and will really help you reduce the number of putts that you take in a round. This is all about hitting a really clean shot as described in order to get the maximum spin. You may find yourself aiming way left with a really open face.

Got any thoughts on getting more backspin your shots, with wedges or Irons? Then send us a message on Instagram @reachthegreen and give us a follow for lots more golf tips and reviews.

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