How to Put Backspin on a Golf Ball With Confidence

How to Put Backspin on a Golf Ball

Backspin is like a unicorn in the golf world.

Everyone wants to have it, but very few golfers can find it. Because let’s get real, backspin is awesome and usually a sign of a good player. 

Whenever you’re watching golf on TV, it’s fun to see players hit something on the green and watch it zip back… especially if it zips past the hole and has a chance of going in. 

But there are a lot of myths and confusion about how to actually create spin on the golf ball. 

How to Put Backspin on a Golf Ball 

So how do you get backspin? Is it just something that happens when you reach a certain handicap? Do you need to do certain things in your swing? 

Let’s break it down… 

Choose the Right Club

The first step is choosing the right club. The club you use has a huge impact on whether you’re going to make the golf ball spin or not. 

For most golfers, you need a wedge to create backspin. If you’re hitting with a mid to long iron, don’t expect it to happen. 

Even the best players in the world don’t get backspin with these clubs. They usually get it to stop within a few feet when the greens are soft (at best).

But if you have a wedge in your hand, you can get some spin or have it sit quickly on the green. 

The other part of the club that matters are the grooves. If you’re playing an old wedge where the grooves are worn down, it’s going to be harder to hit a shot with spin.

If you have a wedge in hand with fresh or clean grooves, then keep reading.

Evaluate the Shot

While having the right club is a big part of creating backspin, you also need to think about three other factors for the shot you’re facing.

First, your distance to the green plays a big role. For most golfers, especially mid to higher handicaps, you need a full swing distance to create spin.

For example, let’s say you hit a sand wedge 100 yards with a full swing. If you have 95-105 yards, you can make a full swing and expect some spin. 

Otherwise, if you have a shot that’s not full, let’s say 50-60 yards, it’s nearly impossible to get backspin as you don’t have enough speed. That’s why a lot of low handicap amateurs and professionals lay up to certain distances. They want to ensure they have a full swing for their approach to get the most spin possible.

The second factor to consider is the lie because without the right lie, it’s nearly impossible to spin the ball. If your ball is in the fairway or a very, very short cut of rough, you can get spin. But if you’re in the deep stuff or fescue grass, forget about it. 

The final thing to consider is the green conditions. If the greens are firm (not speed wise, but firm as in hard), spin is very difficult to achieve. But if the greens are soft and receptive, you’re much more likely to get spin. 

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Set Yourself Up For Spin

Once you have a wedge with clean grooves, a full shot, a good lie, and receptive greens, then you can make it happen. 

So how do you actually create backspin? 

Remember, golf is a game of opposites. Aim right so you can hit it left. Hit down on the ball so that you can get it airborne.

The same goes with backspin to an extent. To create spin on the golf ball, you need to hit down and through the shot. Your divot should start at the ball and go ahead of the golf ball. 

To achieve this, you need to:

  • Have the proper ball position at setup. A wedge should be in the middle of your stance, not in the back. One of the biggest mistakes amateurs make is putting the ball in the middle-back or back part of their stance to hit down on it. But this leads to a very choppy swing that will create a fat shot, not one with spin. Also, too far forward in your stance and it won’t work either, as it’s harder to hit down on it enough. 
  • Don’t forward press the club. Instead, start at a neutral position with your hands, so the shaft angle promotes spin.
  • Swing with speed. One of my favorite coaches once said, “Speed equals spin.” If you don’t have enough speed with your swing, you won’t have enough momentum to create spin. 

Ultimately, these steps should lead to hitting a wedge that hits the green and stops or spins backward. 

Other Factors For Backspin

Here are a few other cases that might affect if you get backspin or not:

  • Wind. If you’re playing downwind, spinning the ball is nearly impossible for even the best players. When you have a tailwind, the ball is much more likely to skip forward than spin backward, even with a wedge. 
  • Golf ball. Your golf ball also plays a big factor if you can get spin or not. Softer golf balls yield more spin than harder golf balls. If you’ve done all the steps and still not getting spin, I suggest testing out different balls with lower compression as well. 
  • Wet conditions. You need dry surfaces to create spin. If you’re playing in wet conditions and there is water on your face or the ball, creating much spin is unlikely. 
  • Turf conditions. You also need the turf to have the right firmness for spin as well. If it’s rock hard, it’s hard to get a divot and create spin, too. 

Wrapping Up

As you can tell, there are a lot of factors that go into getting backspin. But, as I’m sure you noticed, not a lot of them are in your control. Most of them depend on the lie, the course conditions, and weather. 

The things you can control in your quest to get backspin are:

  • Ball position. 
  • Swing speed. 
  • Approach shot distance.
  • Type of golf ball that you use. 

Even if you don’t get 5-10 feet of backspin, that’s okay. 

Having a shot that can hit and stop pretty much in its divot is just as beneficial (if not more beneficial). Too much spin can lead to sucking it off the green and leaving yourself a chip instead of a birdie putt. 

Do you consistently get spin on your golf ball? If so, what wedge do you like to use the most?

Let us know in the comments below! 

Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard is a full-time writer, author, creator of Wicked Smart Golf and +1 handicap amateur golfer. He left his corporate, national sales career in 2017 to pursue entrepreneurship and professional golf; since then, he’s competed in 160+ tournament days and went to Q-school in 2019.

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