Golf Backspin Tips

How to put Backspin on a Golf Ball

Before we go any further, if you’ve ever hit the golf ball in the air, you’ve already put backspin on the golf ball. The golf ball needs some amount of backspin in order to rise or obtain lift. Granted, the RPMs on the ball are probably considerably less than you’d like, and that’s why you’re looking for some backspin tips.


You’ve seen it on TV before, when you’re watching a golf tournament and the pros are hitting golf shots with irons into the green, and the ball hits and backs up. My guess is that you want your ball to do that. There are a few things that go into increasing the amount of backspin you put on your golf shots. I’ll try to explain.

Experienced golfers plan for backspin on their approach shots and will intentionally hit the ball 10 feet past the hole, where they’ll “pull the string” on the ball and back it up closer to the hole. To the novice, putting backspin on a golf ball is often thought of as an advanced skill that only the best golfers can do. Many golfers struggle with the concept, and refer to the art of applying backspin to the golf ball as some mythical idea that they can only dream of doing.

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I’ve got news for you; you don’t have to be a pro to apply backspin to your approach shots. If you “scoop” your iron shots and try to lift the ball into the air with your swing, you’ll never see your ball spin backwards on the green. Backspin is applied to the ball only after you hit down on the ball. That’s right, maybe you’ve heard it before, but hitting down on the ball not only makes more solid contact with the ball, but it will allow you to hit the ball further, and that’s because of the backspin on the ball.

Backspin originates from hitting the ball first, before you hit the ground, with a descending blow. Have you ever noticed how big of a divot the guys on TV take on approach shots? What happened the last time you took a divot that big? My guess is that the ball struggled to make it half way to the hole. The difference is simple; the experienced players that understand this concept hit the ball first, and then take the divot after the ball has compressed and left the club. While the novice players generally tend to try to lift the ball with their swing instead of hitting down on the ball and letting the loft of the iron or wedge do the work.

I’ve said it before on this site; there is a reason that the rules allow you to carry 14 different clubs in your bag. They all have different lofts on them. Use that loft how it was intended to be used. When players try to scoop the ball, their ball striking is very inconsistent, and the golf shots don’t go as far as they normally would, and there won’t be near as much backspin on the golf ball. What happens when players try to lift the ball, they are actually adding more loft to the club, and so a 7 iron, is now an 8 iron, and the ball doesn’t go as far as it would if the ball was struck with a descending blow. If you do this, you probably don’t hit your 7-iron much further than 140 yards. While tour players will hit a 7-iron in a range from between 160-170 yards on average.

When you swing the club correctly and save up the power in your wrists and release the club properly at the right point in the swing, the iron head will actually be slightly delofted at impact. When the golf ball is struck first with the iron, the club makes contact with the lower hemisphere of the ball. The club head “traps” the ball between the club face and the ground for a split second and compresses the ball below the equator of the ball. Because of the force of the golf swing, and the impact point on a descending blow taking place beneath the center line of the ball, the bottom half of the ball will leave the club face at a faster speed than the top half of the ball, relatively speaking. When this happens, backspin occurs.

Just like we discussed on the golf slice page how the slice results from compressing the golf ball on the left hemisphere of the ball. Backspin results from compressing the ball below the ball’s equator line. The concept is exactly the same, except the spin on the ball is different and causes it to spin a different direction.
This concept is much like all the others in golf, in that it’s counter intuitive. The concept of hitting down on the ball for it to go up is lost on many struggling golfers. This is hard to grasp for some, but trust me, there’s no other way to put backspin on the ball.

Another major contributing factor to being able to get backspin on the golf ball is your actual selection of golf ball. The difference between a hard golf ball and a softer ball will drastically affect the RPMs the ball is capable of. The material the golf ball is made of will determine the amount the ball can compress. Not all golf balls are created equal. Price has a big difference in the quality of golf ball, and the material in which it is made. Softer golf balls are generally 3-piece construction with an inner core usually made of liquid which is encompassed by a layer wound by rubber bands, followed lastly by the outer layer of urethane. This type of ball will be able to spin at a higher rate and will be easier to achieve backspin with. Because of this extra added feel and workability, this type of ball generally costs more than the 2-piece golf ball that is made more for distance.

A golf ball made for distance is just two layers, the inner core is either all wound rubber material or a synthetic core, followed by a harder, usually glossier, cover that is generally made of a material called surlyn. Because the manufacturing costs are less on this type of golf ball, it is generally purchased cheaper than a 3-piece ball made for higher spin rates.

The grooves on the irons also play a part in putting backspin on the ball, because the grooves actually grab the ball and apply some traction to help keep the ball in place for a split second while the club head compresses the under side of the ball. There’s a reason why shots taken out of the rough don’t have as much backspin on the ball, and that’s because grass gets caught in between the club face and the ball, and the grooves can’t grab as tightly on the ball.

Golf shots taken from the fairway are ideal not only because the ball rolls further in the fairway, but most importantly, we can control the spin on the ball better. Because there is clean club face to ball contact, the grooves do their job.

When shots are hit out of the rough, you’ll often hear the term “flyer”. A flyer lie is one where there is grass directly behind the ball preventing the club face from making clean contact. When this happens, it’s difficult to judge the distance, and the ball will generally come out hot, and when it lands it will bounce forward and run.

There’s a reason the pros hit down on the ball. There’s a reason their divots are so big, and their shots are so good. If you feel the urge to lift the ball with your swing, stop. Don’t scoop anymore. Instead, do just the opposite, and hit down and trap the ball to create the backspin that will make the ball naturally rise.

To stop scooping the ball, and begin hitting down at impact to make perfect contact, you need to have a look at this video. You’ll learn what moves to make during the swing to make this possible, and you won’t only learn how to put backspin on the ball, but you’ll learn how to increase your distance, improve your ball striking and become more consistent. Make perfect contact every time.  

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