Golf Blog Feature

How to Put Backspin on a Golf Ball for Control

Backspin is one of the trickier skills to master in golf, but with the proper mechanics it's something that will happen naturally and not be something you have to think about doing. When you learn to put backspin on a golf ball, it can really improve your game as it will open up many options, especially around the greens. I'd say learning how to create spin on the ball is one of a handful of skills that will take your game to the next level and lower your handicap.

It can take a while to learn how to get backspin on the golf ball, but if you practice making the proper contact with the ball, you'll find you can add/remove spin just by making small adjustments in your setup and swing. Using just a bit of spin enables you to be so much more accurate with your shots, especially chips and pitches. Be warned though, this isn't something you'll master in one round or practice session, it takes lots of practice.

Put Backspin on Your Shots -  A Beginners Guide

Step 1 - The Lie

This is absolutely key, you'll need to understand that from some lies you won't be able to get much, if any, backspin and you'll have to allow room for the ball to roll out after it lands. While you can get some backspin with a grassy lie like the one below, you'd have to hit it perfectly and have room for the club to slide under the ball. Unless you're a low handicap player, from a lie like the one below, you'd be better letting the ball land and run instead of trying to spin it.

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 on the ball without a lot of grass in the way. The best place to practice these shots is on the fairway, the fringe of the green, or in a practice bunker where you will be forced to make good contact.

Step 2 - The Ball

The softer the ball's cover, the more spin you'll get, because it generates more friction between the club and the ball during the shot. If spin is your main objective, I'd recommend playing with a Titleist Pro V1 (this is the ball used by Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas and Ricky Fowler plus quite a few others). Just remember if you're practicing at the range with range balls you'll get less backspin than you do with the ball you play on the course. So we would even recommend buying some used golf balls of the same brand you play, and using them just for practice. It's important to know how the ball you play on the course reacts, and different balls will absolutely have differing results. 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. Play the ball perfectly in the middle of your stance
  2. Put 60-70% of your weight on your back foot - this will create a steeper angle of attack, with a downward strike, which is absolutely imperative for good contact and maximum spin - this is essential!
  3. Keep the stance open, aim slightly left of your target and open your club face slightly

Step 4 - Striking the Ball

The final piece of the puzzle is the actual swing. If you've got the ball positioned correctly in your stance, you keep your weight on your left side, and you strike down and through the shot, the ball will slide up the club face, and the grooves of your wedge will grab the ball and produce the backspin you desire. Try to strike the back of the ball cleanly without taking a divot, you want to strike down, but gently.

Key Things to Remember

  1. The slope of the green will impact the amount of spin you get, it's 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 until I worked with it a while. It takes some time to really master and you may have to adjust your stance, swing and approach into the ball for optimal results. Experiment a little.
  3. The more you open the face at address 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 green-side bunker I'll have the face really open 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. Most of the time when you are around the green, the pitching wedge, loft wedge or sand wedge should be your club of choice (see our best wedge guide here). Using a wedge, and making proper contact will give you more opportunity to spin the ball.

Open the face more the closer you are to the hole. This adds loft to your wedge which will help you get the spin you desire. But remember, the wedge has plenty of loft, so you don't need to try and scoop the ball. Pinch it off the turf with a slightly descending blow and be looking to fly it onto the green and bite.

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