How To Spin The Golf Ball

To spin the golf ball backwards on the green requires ball first contact and with a high rate of speed so that the grooves of the club face can generate lots of backspin on the golf ball.

If you’ve ever watched professional golf on TV, you’ve seen them hit a golf shot onto the green about 15 feet beyond the hole, one hops, and then spins back to the hole for a close birdie putt.

It’s an amazing shot to learn to hit, but you may feel like it never happens to you out on the golf course and wonder how you to can start hitting those spin back golf shots.

The goal of today’s article is to highlight exactly what backspin on a golf ball involves, situations when you should spin the golf ball and how to actually accomplish this golf shot.

Let’s first talk about what spin rate in golf is to give you a better understanding of how to increase or decrease spin rate on golf shots strategically.

Resource: Golf Practice Plan to Score in the 70’s

What is Spin Rate in Golf

Spin rate is the number of revolutions the golf ball makes per minute immediately after impact. It’s how much spin the ball has from contact with the club face grooves.

Spin rate influences the height of your golf shots as well as how far your golf shot can go. Hitting with optimal spin rate on drives, for example, can maximize the distance you hit the ball off the tee.

Spin rate on iron shots, for example, can influence how high the ball flies which in turn impacts the landing and how soft it lands, with little or no roll after landing. Or in some cases, the ball actually spins backwards instead on the green.

How to Generate Back Spin

Backspin is generated when your club face makes contact with the golf ball and the grooves “grab” onto the golf ball, creating spin as the ball climbs up the face and flies off high into the air.

There are several reasons why the ball spins the amount that it does:

  • Club loft
  • Club speed
  • Club angle of attack
  • Golf ball design

Club Loft

Higher lofted golf clubs will place more spin on the golf ball because the club face is angled up towards the sky more giving the face grooves an easier chance to “grab” the ball and “roll it” up the club face, creating spin.

If you set up on a launch monitor and hit driver through wedges in your bag, you’ll see lower spin rates with the longer lower lofted clubs and the spin rates should increase as you work higher into your short irons and wedges.

Ball Striking

The next factor is your ball striking and how clean you make contact with the golf ball. Spin is created when you make contact with ball first, then ground (creating a divot after the ball).

If your club starts to come into the ground too early before the ball, this can lead to chunked shots or strikes that aren’t as clean of contact.

Other factors that can impact how clean your golf swing strike is include whether or not there is grass, mud, sand, or other materials coming between the club face and golf ball at impact.

Resource: Golf Practice Plan to Score in the 70’s

Hitting out of the rough, for example, is challenging to put spin on the ball because there is the grass coming between the club face and the ball (sitting down in the rough). Hitting from tight fairway lies is ideal as you can make ball first contact.

Your grooves on the club face also need to be clean. If they are pressed full of dirt from previous shots, then they cannot grab onto the ball and spin it as effectively.

Club Speed

The faster your club face makes impact with the golf ball, the more time you allow for the grooves to grab the ball and spin it before the golf ball “rebounds” off of the club face.

So the golf shots you see on TV where they hit a wedge shot from 125 yards with insane back spin that zips the ball backwards on the green, just know that they used great acceleration into the ball.

This quick speed helps them impart more spin on the golf ball as compared to a slower swing and it makes sense if you think about it logically.

Angle of Attack

The steepness of your golf swing affects the angle the club face comes down into the strike with the golf ball. It’s known as the angle of attack and some believe that a steeper angle of attack produces more back spin on a golf ball than shallower golf swing angles.

But recent data from launch monitors, especially from one called Trackman, are beginning to show that hitting down on the ball with a steeper angle does not actually affect spin rate.

High spin rates are mainly affected by the loft of the club, the clean contact, and the club speed.

Golf Ball Design

Lastly, the golf ball design can also have impact on how much backspin you generate. Certain golf balls are designed to be high spin, medium spin, or low spin golf balls.

In fact, we created an lengthy list of every golf ball and categorized them by their spin rate.

Playing the right golf ball could be a factor that contributes to your ability to hit approach shots into the green with a high spin rate.

We like the Titleist Pro V1 and TaylorMade TP5 golf balls but I’ve also found high spin rates with the Callaway Chrome Soft (soccer ball looking) golf ball as well.

When is It Useful to Put Spin on the Golf Ball?

The instances that you need to generate a high rate of backspin to stop the ball quickly or perhaps spin it back after landing beyond the hole include:

  1. Obstacles between you and the green like a bunker or rough
  2. Tight pin location near the edge of the green leaving little landing room before the flag stick

In these instances, you’d need to hit a golf shot with lots of spin so that you can fly the ball closer to the pin and get it to stop quickly upon landing.

However, spin can be the enemy on windy days. To much back spin and your golf ball with get lost in the wind not traveling as far in distance as you’d like.

In this case, learning to take spin off the golf ball and hit a lower golf shot would be ideal to get the ball to travel the needed distance while fighting through wind.

Resource: Golf Practice Plan to Score in the 70’s

What can I do to spin the ball?

Start by applying the tips we discussed above that are the true factors that control spin on the golf ball.

Steps to Hit High Spin Golf Shots:

  1. Buy a high quality golf ball built for spin – Titleist Pro V1
  2. Use a high lofted club like a pitching wedge, 9 iron, lob wedge, etc.
  3. Hit from a clean, tight lie such as the fairway, bunker, or even fringe around the green
  4. Keep your grooves clean on the club face by carrying a damp towel
  5. Accelerate into impact to generate fast club speed
  6. Make ball first contact, then ground (divot after the ball)

It’s important to also note that the golf course condition can impact your ability to spin golf shots back. On TV, you’ll notice that most of these spin back shots occurs on damp greens or in rainy play situations.

This is because the softness of the green is a factor on the balls ability to stop forward momentum and let the spin grip the green and zip the ball backwards.

If the greens are firm, balls don’t make dents and instead take larger hops forward, making it more difficult conditions to spin back golf shots.

Wind can also add extra back spin and lastly the slope of the green matters too. Hitting into a down slope will be tough to spin back any golf shot as the down slope will keep the ball moving forward down the hill.

But if the green is severely up slope you can also spin the ball back too much and watch it roll back down off the front of the green.

After reading this guide on back spin, hopefully you have a better understanding of the causes and situations when hitting golf shots with high back spin can occur. For more tips and resources see below!

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