How To Get Backspin On A Golf Ball

Have you ever fancied putting backspin on a golf ball like the professionals seem to do with consummate ease? If so consider this for one second. It’s a fact that every shot you currently hit has backspin on it, but imagine being able to make the ball zip back towards the hole like the pros do.

Perhaps you have tried it in the past? Certainly it seems a lot easier to perform on the green baize playing pool or snooker than on the golf course. On the table the average player knows how to hit downwards on the back of the cue ball to produce a significant amount of spin. Typically though it seems a lot more complicated to perform on the golf course, especially as there are a number of factors that are outside of your control.

In fact you have probably asked yourself many times how do I get backspin on the ball. Furthermore you may have pondered to what extent will you have to change your swing to achieve this skillful shot. Today you will learn that by hitting down on the ball you can make the it roll up the club face in an anti clockwise direction, producing backspin as it flies forward. Then on reaching the green it will bite, hops forward and then spin back towards the pin.

The good news is that with practice based on the instruction and tips below you will be able to equip yourself with the skills to see your ball suck back for an easy birdie putt. It is definitely possible to add the backspin shot to your repertoire by simply mastering some key principles and ensuring certain conditions are in your favour.

This specific golf swing technique will give you the opportunity to spin the ball from as far away as 125 – 150 yards from the green and much closer for delicate lob shots over bunkers. Putting backspin on a ball is essentially down to how well you can squeeze it off the turf. With enough friction the ball will squirt up the club face, from the bottom groves to the top ones, shoot forward and then react like a yo-yo on the green as it pulls back to the hole.

Why Put Backspin On A Golf Ball?

There are a number of benefits to having the ability to play golf with backspin, apart from increasing your confidence and impressive your playing partners! For instance it’s a real advantage if the hole is tucked behind a bunker or located at the front of the green. Backspin will enable you to get close in situations where typically you would have to play long and reply on good distance putting to score well. Suddenly you can attack pin positions you wouldn’t otherwise have the option to fire at. Backspin allows you play beyond the hole, away from trouble, and see it come back close to the hole.

There is a drawback though that must be highlighted in order for you to have a fair overview of the advantages and disadvantages to playing with backspin. Namely when the ball hits the green it is unpredictable and may roll back into the bunker it has carried or into the fringe at the front of the green. Sometimes professionals impart so much backspin on the ball that it zips back past the hole and further away than if they had simply played with minimal spin. It takes a lot of hard work to ultimately control how much the ball hops forward and spins back. Nevertheless the pros do significantly out weigh the cons and it’s definitely worth using these tips to practice putting backspin on shots where appropriate.

Key Factors To Putting Backspin On A Golf Ball

Here are the key factors that will determine how much backspin you can put on the ball. It is important though to not compare your success with the shots you see professionals playing on TV. Remember they are playing in optimum conditions and have spent their lifetime perfecting this particular shot.

Setting up to the ball

Finding the perfect ball position does take some experimentation and practice but the following tips will guarantee you have the basics right. Set up with an open stance, aiming slightly left of target with your hands in front of the ball. Whereas you would normally have the ball positioned in the middle of your stance for a wedge shot, it is important to play it a little further back than normal. The art of creating backspin comes from hitting the ball first, something that is much easier to do if you move the ball back right of centre. Next ensure you have approximately 70% of your weight on your left foot with the club face open so as you can slide under the ball. Finally narrow your stance a touch in order to swing on a steep plane.

Making the golf swing

If you already have an upright swing you will find it easier to put backspin on the ball. An upright swing sets you up you to deliver a descending strike with good acceleration and club head speed. Effectively you are chopping at the ball and this is far easier if you are set up to swing with a steep plane. A hard crisp shot with a steep angle of attack is best suited to generate backspin.

Set up with an open stance with your weight on your front foot, ensuring your hands are ahead of the ball. This is crucial because at impact your hands need to be in front of the ball as you effectively pinch it off the fairway.

Now start with an upright backswing with minimal body movement. Take the club back straight and don’t bring it inside and low, have your hands and arms swing in front of your body. As you swing consciously keep the weight distribution you set up with at address.

Focus on hitting down on the ball. Keep your eyes on a specific dimple to ensure you hit the back of the ball.

Unlike your normal swing you need to prevent yourself from releasing the club. Your arms should not roll over. Keep the wrists firm and and don’t release the club, there should be limited wrist action as you maintain good hand speed through impact.

As the club accelerates and hits down making a clean contact between club face and bottom half of ball, it will jump up and start to spin backwards. By hitting hard with a descending blow, you compress the ball against the club face, thus imparting considerable backspin.

Finally take a shallow divot.

The ideal lie to play from

The best conditions for imparting backspin are closely mown fairways. This makes it far easier to nip the ball off the playing surface. Hitting with the lower grooves on the club face with no interference will help produce the optimum amount of backspin.

In the rough grass can get trapped between the ball and clubface, as a consequence the longer grass removes the all important necessary friction and reduces the ability to put spin on the ball. It is essential to get a clear strike at the ball, obstructions like long grass make it so much more difficult. Thus tight fairway lies are perfect for executing backspin shots.

Additionally it is possible to backspin from a good firm lie in the bunker and any hardpan lies out on the course. As on the fairway remember to strike the ball before the sand. Try to find a fairway bunker about 50 yards from the green to practice from, this makes for ideal practice conditions where you can nip the ball off the sand and see the reaction on the green.

The best ball to play with

It makes a massive difference if you don’t play with the correct ball. You should play with a multi layer ball with core and soft cover to produce backspin on the ball. A good example would be the Titleist Pro V1 ball with its Urethane Elastomer™ cover, this is superb for compressing the ball onto the club face. The groves are able to grip the ball and increase the backspin. This simply won’t happen with a two layer ball with core and hard cover. They have lower spin rates and won’t grip to the green as you would like when they land. These balls are good though for high handicap players because they reduce the severeness of a hook or slice. Whilst soft covered balls exaggerate slices and hooks because of their high spin rate.

The right clubs to use

The more loft on the club the easier it is to spin the ball. Thus it is recommended you stick with your wedges through to 7 iron. All these clubs give you a decent amount of loft to work with. The longer the shot the more you will need to allow for a touch of fade.

Anything longer than a 7 iron and it can be near impossible to get backspin. Longer irons and woods produce a low trajectory ball that simply does not spin back.

You also need to pay attention to the actual grooves. Make sure they are clean and you have removed all of the dirt. You can use use a special groove cleaner or brush to achieve this.

It is worth noting the rusty club faces found on some wedges add spin due to their rough surface. This leads to more friction that transmits more spin to the ball.

Understanding the effect of wind

The wind direction makes a huge difference to how easily you can spin the ball and see the impact on the green. It is easier to spin a ball into the wind. A headwind increases your chances of spinning the ball. It is extremely difficult to create sufficient spin to see the ball back up on the green with a tailwind.

Factoring in the condition of the green

You definitely need to factor in the condition and slope of the greens. Soft receptive greens make it easier to spin the ball. They are perfect for accepting the shot that allows the ball to spin back. If the greens are firm, you are much less likely to spin and the ball will bounce on.

It’s very difficult to to backspin on concrete like greens.

It is easier to spin the ball back when playing into an up slope. Sometimes we see an excellent shot spin back on TV but don’t realise how much the slope of the green has played in creating the spin.

In conclusion

Hitting a shot with backspin like the pros is certainly achievable. There is though a small margin for error and you will need to be accurate but there are huge benefits to perfecting this shot. With consistent practice and a thorough understanding of the factors listed above you will find yourself sucking the ball back and amazing your friends!

19 Responses to “How To Get Backspin On A Golf Ball”

  1. Dave riddington says:

    Great information,Only wish I had your tips when learning This wonderful game,now 75 and only play 1/2 a month and concentrate on just hitting it straight.Keep up the good work.

  2. Carlos says:

    Thanks for this important tip.


  3. Aziz says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thank you for the advise on how to achieve a back spin . I will certainly start practice n see how it goes..

    Best Regards
    Aziz Anwar.. Lahore ..Pakistan

  4. Theo says:

    Hi Andy,

    You have a great festive season and thanks for all the good info this year.

    Looking forward to next years info.

    Your buddy

    Theo form South Africa (Ernie Els vally )

  5. Mahmood says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thousand appreciation to you.

    Since reading your tremendous article, I managed to make more good backspin and I got better score.

    But in certain cases my backspin landed not on my expected spot, it spun back to the fringe and sometime further back from the pin.

    Need your advice.



  6. Rodney Baker says:

    Good info, Andy. I especially like your comment about the effects of head and tailwinds. Thanks.


  7. martin smith says:

    Thanks for the tips Andy. Currently I have a prolem with my hip but I shall be trying the tips out when I have resumed playing golf

  8. Michel Wandel says:

    Quite a lot of parameters to control at the same time, some of them rather contradictory (a ball that suits my handicap for most of the shots is unsuitable for backspinning).

    In my case, it leads to aprenhension, and thus a fair amount of lack of confidence in the shot.

    One remedy only: head for the range and work at it.

    Thanks for offering me challenge for my next week end.

    …and thanks for crispy clear instructions, as usual.

    Michel Wandel

  9. Michael Vicens says:

    Hi Andy,

    Very good article….all that you have to do is have confidence, and do exactly as set out!

    Do not forget to see the dimple on the back of the ball!



  10. Marc says:

    Thanks Andy. It’s a good refresh (open stance and weight on your left foot ) when you realise that you have some minor problems to obtain the backspin.

  11. Borje Nystrom says:

    Hi Andy!

    Thank you for the article on backspin and also the article to hit the golf ball straight. From time to time I have had back spin, but not consistently.

    I will give your tips a try the next time I practice (today) and hope to achieve a good back spin.


    Borje from Sweden

  12. Bob Boosey says:

    Great information, we all want to be able to do it and this really gives an insight into how.

  13. Mike says:

    Hi Andy (backspin) I would like you to read your article and view it from a left handers view. I think we are 7 to 10 % of golfers.Do you think that if you said lead foot or back foot would be posible?Many pro’s seem to think golfing is for right handers ,and fail to see the confusion . We have to back up and read it a few times just to make sure we are getting it right for us. thanks Mike. It is a good artical . thx — lefty Mike

  14. Tony Fernandes says:

    Just won my clubs BB championship using a lot of your tips. Cant backspin yet. Will try keep up the good work. awsome tip.
    Montreal Canada

  15. Bob Quammen says:


    Thank you for the great article on backspin.

    It is the first understandable description I have ever read in the 50+ years I have been losing golf balls.

    Speaking of golf balls, your mention of the Titleist Pro V1 prompts me to ask for an article on newer balls.

    I abandoned Titleist for Pinnacle in the late 70’s and feel antique suddenly.


    Bob Q. in Honolulu

  16. Darryl says:

    On rare occasions I’ve had back spin but not from knowing what I was doing. I do have steep back swing so that must have been the reason. The tips about stance and ball position I will work on and see if I can get more consistent results.

    Thank you for the tips.


  17. Bernie says:

    Hi Andy!

    In your advice about how to achieve backspin, as you “chop” down on the ball should you be following through on the swing or should you simply stop the swing on contact?


    Andy: Bernie, you definitely need to follow through.

  18. Neill says:

    Thanks Andy. Tips re ball positioning and narrower stance will definitely help. I’ll be trying it out on Friday!

  19. Mike says:

    Hi Andy
    Thanks for the interesting article, that is then first time I have had the method of obtaining backspin shown in an understandable manner. I will give it a try the next time I practice and hope to get good results.

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