How to Put Backspin on a Golf Ball

White golf ball with backspin on it near hole
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There’s nothing better than walking up to the green to find your ball mark only to realize you hit a beautiful shot with backspin. Many golfers want to learn how to put backspin on a golf ball, and not just because it looks so cool on TV.

Backspin allows you to stop the ball on a dime and back it up a little bit or a lot, depending on the amount of spin and where it lands. You’ll be able to hit more aggressive approach shots and give them a chance to get close to the hole or even go in.

You’ve probably seen the shots on TV pro golfers hit that look like they are not even close to the hole, but then they start to move. The backspin and the placement on a ridge or small hill on the green allow the ball to collect closer to the hole. Of course, this is all planned out by the pro and their caddie.

Learning how to put backspin on a golf ball offers an advanced skill you can use to hit better shots and shave strokes off your game. Here are some of the best tips, tricks, and drills for learning how to hit golf shots with backspin.

Factors to Consider When Putting Backspin on a Golf Ball

Before we get into how to hit shots with backspin, you must first understand the factors contributing to the spin of the ball.

The Type of Golf Ball You Use

Some golf balls are created for spin, while others are not. Choosing a two-layer golf ball compared to a multilayer ball will make a difference when trying to put backspin on a golf ball.

Two-layer balls have a core and a hardcover. They are very similar to a range ball and they won’t spin as much as a multilayer ball with a soft cover and a core.

Professional golfers use multilayer soft golf balls because they spin more. If you do everything right within your swing to put backspin on a golf ball, but you’re playing the wrong ball, you may not get the results you desire.

The Condition of Your Lie

The way the ball lies in the grass, sand or another part of the golf course will also influence the type of spin you put on it. Hitting a golf shot with backspin is much easier out of the fairway than out of the rough. It can also be easier to do with a proper shot out of the sand.

A ball in the fairway is easier to make full contact with compared to a ball in the rough. This allows for more friction, which increases the amount of backspin you can create.

Wind Direction

If the wind is blowing from behind you, it will be far more difficult to create backspin than if you’re hitting into the wind.

Condition of the Golf Club

There’s a reason professional golfers make sure their wedges and irons are very clean before hitting a golf shot. The cleaner the grooves of your clubs, the better chance you can hit a shot with backspin.

The Condition of the Greens

When your golf ball lands on the green, it may have a ton of backspin on it, but it still bounces forward. This could be due to the greens being dried out and harder than normal.

Soft greens provide an easier surface to create backspin and actually see the results of the backspin. Golfers used to seeing a wedge shot back up five to seven feet from where it lands may not see this type of movement on harder greens and may see even more movement on softer greens.

Understanding what may impact the amount of backspin you can put on a golf ball helps. If you become good at putting backspin on the ball, you’ll be able to determine the conditions better when you realize your ball is backing up more or less on the greens. Also, you will be able to better plan your shots knowing what may cause less or more backspin.

The Three Factors Necessary for Backspin

Hitting a golf ball and creating backspin requires three things:

  • Club Head Speed
  • Spin Loft
  • Friction

Each of these things will help you to create backspin on command if you learn how to control them.

Club Head Speed

The speed the clubhead travels towards the ball is known as clubhead speed. The higher the speed, the higher the spin rate will be when you hit the ball.

On a short chip, it’s nearly impossible to put backspin on the golf ball because of the lower clubhead speed. However, on wedge shots from 70 to 120 yards, you can generate quite a bit of clubhead speed making it easier to put backspin on the golf ball.

The easiest shots to hit with backspin are longer wedge shots. You will be using the right club with the right loft and you will be able to create more clubhead speed. The shorter your swing becomes, the harder it will be to hit golf shots with backspin.

Spin Loft

Spin loft is a bit tricky as many amateur golfers think sliding under the golf ball causes backspin. It’s actually the opposite.

You want to attack the golf ball like you’re trying to pinch it with the ground to create backspin. The attack angle should have the hands leading the clubhead and the shaft of the club angled towards the target.

Friction

With the right clubhead speed and spin loft, you’ll be set up to put backspin on a golf ball. However, you still have to create friction.

A lack of friction is the reason it’s harder to put backspin on a golf ball in the rough compared to the fairway. When the ball is in the rough, you cannot get the clean contact necessary to easily put backspin on the golf ball.

Without clean contact, you cannot create enough friction. Even if you have a high clubhead speed and the right spin loft, without enough friction, you won’t produce a shot with much backspin.

7 Tips for Creating Backspin on a Golf Ball

Understanding the conditions impacting the spin of the golf ball, along with how backspin is created is important. Coupling this knowledge with the tips below will give you a good foundation to help you learn how to put backspin on a golf ball.

Position the Ball Correctly

With most golf shots, you will place the ball closer to the middle of your stance. However, to create backspin, you want to position the ball about an inch forward in your stance.

This ball position makes it easier to hit down on the ball and create the right angle for backspin. You will also tend to hit the ball higher when you play it a bit forward in your stance, which will enhance the effects of backspin.

Place More Weight on your Front Foot

The right setup makes a big difference when you want to learn how to put backspin on a golf ball. By placing more weight on your front foot, you will make it easier to hit down on the ball and create backspin.

The shorter the shot, the more weight you will want on your front foot. Many professional golfers teach you should have about 70 to 80% of your weight on your front foot when hitting chip shots and wedge shots around the green.

For longer wedge shots with backspin, you want to put at least 60% of your weight on your front foot. Practice this tip at the range to find the set up you’re most comfortable with.

Make a Shallow Divot

When you want to put backspin on a golf ball, you want your divots to look like strips of bacon. A shallow divot starting right where the ball was positioned or slightly in front of the ball is ideal.

If the divot starts behind the ball, you probably hit a fat golf shot. On the other hand, if the divot starts in front of the golf ball or you don’t leave a divot, you probably it a thin golf shot.

The right divot for a wedge shot with backspin will look like a strip of bacon. It will be a few inches long and shallow.

Practice with a Lob Wedge

When you’re learning how to put backspin on a golf ball, it’s easiest to spin the ball with a lob wedge. If you start with this club and learn how to put backspin on a golf ball, it will give you more confidence when you advance to short irons.

Contact the Ball First

Any good iron or wedge shot requires you to hit the ball before the ground. This is even more important when you want to put backspin on the golf ball. You must hit the ball first and leave the divot after you have struck the golf ball.

Swing Harder

While it’s not always a good idea to swing harder when hitting a golf shot as it can cause control issues, when you want to put backspin on a golf ball, you need to swing harder. In fact, Ernie Els recommended in a Golf Digest article that you should take one less club and make a more aggressive swing.

Open Your Stance and Aim the Clubface Right of the Target

When you want to put backspin on the golf ball, you want to open your stance by moving your front foot away from the golf ball four to eight inches. Then, when you set up to hit the golf shot, you want to aim the clubface just to the right of the target.

By setting up in this way, you will have a slightly open clubface and you will have the right stance to create backspin on the golf ball.

These tips will help you get the right set up and the right swing path for spinning the ball on the green. Use these tips and practice the drills below to learn how to put backspin on a golf ball and stop it on the green quickly.

Best Drills for Putting Backspin on a Golf Ball

There are several drills to help you learn how to put backspin on a golf ball. Any drill helping you to hit down on the golf ball is a good choice.

Drill #1 – The Range Basket Drill

One of the best drills you can do at the range involves the basket the balls come in. Place the basket behind the ball about the length of the wedge you’re using for the drill, but only to the grip, not all the way to the tip of the club.

This position of the basket will encourage you to hit down on the ball and take a steeper swing angle. If you don’t take the club back properly, you will hit the basket. This means your backswing is too shallow and you want to make it steeper to easily hit down on the golf ball and create backspin.

Drill #2 – The Bunker Drill

If you have a bunker you can hit out of at your practice facility, you can use the bunker drill. This drill will help you learn to hit the ball first when you want to put backspin on a golf ball.

Choose the wedge you would normally hit from about 60 or 70 yards out. Set up like it’s a normal wedge shot out of the fairway with the tips above. Now, make sure you hit the ball before touching the sand.

By hitting balls out of the sand in this manner, you will gain feedback from the sand. When you catch the ball cleanly at impact, you will know.

With these tips and these two drills, you should be able to teach yourself how to put backspin on a golf ball. For most golfers, this is a bit of an advanced skill and takes time to learn. Keep practicing and over time, you will be able to learn how to put backspin on a golf ball.