Have you ever watched a pro tour player get the ball to stop dead in its tracks right after it lands on the green?
Or better still, as if by some magic, make the ball roll back on itself after landing so it comes to a stop just beside the pin.
It’s an awesome sight in golf, and a skill that all players desire to have, but the question begs: How do you gain this level of control over the ball once it lands on the green?
Spoiler alert: There’s no magic involved! This is the result of putting spin on the golf ball.
Being able to create spin in golf is a fantastic skill that will improve your distance control on the course and help you shoot lower scores.
While the pros make it look so easy, putting spin on the ball is a skill that anyone can add to their locker, providing you practice the right steps.
With that said, read on as we’ll guide you through the main steps for how to put spin on a golf ball so you can play showstopper shots around the green like the pros!
Spin on the golf ball – What is it and why is it Necessary?
All golf balls have some amount of spin when they fly, but there are ways of manipulating and increasing the spin on the ball to gain several benefits on the course.
In short, spin affects the height and trajectory of your shots and allows you to gain more distance control in golf.
When we talk about spin in golf, the main type of spin on a golf ball is backspin.
Backspin is going to work against the direction your ball is traveling which, when maximized, can add lift to your shots, and shorten or even reverse the ball’s travel once it lands.
In light of this, backspin is a great tool used in short game approach shots onto the green, where getting the ball to stop as quickly as possible on landing is the top priority.
The greens are the hardest, and therefore fastest, surfaces on the golf course, so we need to be smart with how we approach them to ensure our ball doesn’t overshoot the pin.
One of the worst things in golf is watching your approach shot run off the back of the green into the rough causing you a nasty recovery shot to save par – adding spin to your ball will help avoid this situation!
Backspin also allows players to attack the greens aggressively from a high angle and over long distances.
You don’t have to be cautious with the swing you take to get the ball to stop on the green when using spin since you can rely on the backspin to do the job of bringing your ball to a quick halt.
Once you master putting spin on your golf ball you will be able to pitch your shots strategically onto the green so that they come to a halt right by the pin which will save you fewer putts or, even better, increase hole-out opportunities!
Here are some great examples of some of the best PGA hole-outs using backspin!
Of course, the ball never spins perfectly in one direction in golf. You can also create sidespin on your shots to add curvature to your ball’s flight.
Sidespin is present when playing a draw (right-to-left ball flight) or a fade (left-to-right ball flight) which players use to their advantage when navigating around bends in the course.
How to put spin on a golf ball
Now we know the effects of spin in golf, how do we create it?
Let’s break down the process of how to put spin on a ball into our top 6 checkpoints which influence spin in golf:
- Ball position
- Ground conditions
- Angle of attack
- Swing speed
Here’s what you need to know for each!
Before you’re able to create any spin in golf, you need to choose the best club and ball for the job.
Select a club with lots of loft to put spin on the ball.
Wedges are the go-to for creating spin on shots since they are the most lofted set of clubs in the bag.
The more lofted your golf club, the easier it is to create spin on your ball.
A lofted club face is going to sweep the back side of the golf ball, sending it high in the air with backspin.
If you use a flat club face, your ball is going to be launched lower with less spin.
In terms of ball choice, the softer the shell on the golf ball, the more the ball will compress and be able to grip onto the club at impact which will increase the amount of spin you’ll be able to achieve.
2. Ball position
Next, we need to make sure we’re set up in an optimal position for generating spin on the ball.
To achieve this, you’re going to want to place your ball position a bit further back in your stance at address.
With the ball further back, your club’s point of contact with the ball is going to arrive slightly earlier in your swing’s arc.
You’re looking to hit the back of the golf ball first before you hit the turf and so having the ball further back like this is going to encourage a downward strike where you can compress the golf ball to create spin.
You might have a bit more shaft lean at address as a result of your ball being further back.
To get the golf ball spinning, we need to have the right surface for the ball to make contact with.
You’ve probably noticed your club face has built-in grooves, but what are they for?
During a round, your club is going to pick up plenty of golf course debris such as mud, grass, and moisture. The grooves offer those elements a place to go so you can maximize the surface area that the ball can make contact with on your club face.
To create spin, it is essential that your grooves are clean and dry so nothing is obstructing the contact between the club and your ball.
Think of the grooves also acting in the same way as the tread on tires, giving some purchase to the club face which creates a bit of friction needed to grant spin.
This is why it’s a good idea to carry a golf towel in your bag to wipe your clubs between each shot.
If you’re using an older golf club, it’s worth noting that your grooves are likely going to be worn down more, and therefore you won’t be able to make as clean contact with the ball.
A newer golf wedge with sharper grooves is going to create more spin on the ball than an older wedge you’ve had in the bag for years.
4. Ground conditions
Before playing any golf shot, assessing the lie conditions where your ball sits is key.
Certain conditions on the golf course are going to be much better than others for generating spin on the ball.
The cut of grass, in other words, how long the grass is where your ball sits, is going to influence your ability to spin the golf ball.
The fairway is generally the best location to play a shot with spin from due to the short cut of grass.
This is because similarly, you don’t want anything to get in between the club and the ball and obstruct clean contact with the club face if you want to create spin.
It is going to be a lot harder to put spin on a ball from the rough due to the long grass getting in the way.
5. Angle of attack
Next, your angle of attack is an important factor for generating spin in golf.
This is the path your club head travels to meet the golf ball on your downswing.
As a rule of thumb in golf, the steeper the angle of attack, the easier it is to create more spin on the ball.
With that said, take a more vertical swing to approach the golf ball with a steeper angle of attack to maximize spin on your ball.
This can require you to take a larger divot which you might have noticed pros do in the clip earlier.
We’ll also add here that you should meet the ball with a squared club face if you’re looking to put backspin on the ball.
Having an open or closed club face at impact is going to create sidespin.
6. Swing speed
The final key to generating spin in golf is swing speed.
The faster your club head speed is at impact, the higher your ball’s spin rate will be.
This is not to say you should swing as hard as you can, but rather, you should still try to swing at 100% capacity in order to create spin.
You’ll find it’s easier to put true backspin on a 100-yard approach shot with your pitching wedge where you can take a full swing and get the ball high in the air vs on a small chip shot with a low club head speed.
Being able to create spin on a golf ball is a skill that will allow you to get smarter with your golf strategy, control distance better, and reach the pin in fewer putts. Take these steps into your next practice session at the range and before long you’ll be spinning the ball like the pros and wowing your opponents!