How to Put Backspin on a Golf Ball (Technique & Drills)

golf ball on the green with a pitch mark

It only takes one afternoon of watching the professionals to see how beneficial backspin can be on a golf ball. Imagine hitting a shot 100 yards and having it actually stop at the 100-yard mark. Or hitting up onto the green out of the rough and having the ball actually stop!

The benefits of putting backspin on a ball are pretty impressive, but the ability to do this takes some time and dedication to the game. If you have been wondering how to put backspin on a golf ball, we have you covered. 

Backspin doesn’t have to mean zipping the ball off the front of the green; it can mean control and precision in your shots. 

What is Backspin on a Golf Ball? 

When you strike a golf ball, there is an interaction between the grooves on the club head and the dimples on the golf ball. When they interact, the ball should move toward the target but rotate backward. 

As the ball rotates this way, it will continue to do so when it hits the ground. This typically means the ball stops in place or even backs up a few feet. 

Not all golfers can get backspin on their shots, and this typically has to do with the clubs, the golf ball, or the mechanics of the golfer’s swing. All three things need to be working for as opposed to against the player for backspin to be present. 

Why Do You Need Backspin? 

Some golfers look at backspin as a fancy trick that professionals can do. However, there is much more to it than that. When you can use backspin to move the ball back or stop it on the green, you will gain tremendous control. 

This control can be used to help you score. 

Take, for instance, a shot where the pin is just on the front of the green, and you have missed your shot to the left side in the short rough. Getting this ball onto the green and stopping close to the pin is nearly impossible. 

However, if you can get backspin, the fact that you short-sided yourself becomes a bit easier to deal with. Of course, this backspin will be impacted by your lie, and it’s not always easy to obtain. 

However, as a general rule, all players should be looking to create a bit more backspin on their shots if they want more accuracy and control, especially from 150 yards and in. 

How to Create Backspin on a Golf Ball 

Creating backspin on a golf ball is something that mid to low handicappers find much easier to do. As a new player or a high handicapper, you may struggle with some of the techniques required to ensure the ball backs up. Considering these simple steps, you should be able to start incorporating backspin on a golf ball the next time you head out to the course. 

Step 1: Equipment 

The first part of this process is having the right equipment. You will have a hard time backing up golf shots that are meant to have low spin and release when they hit the ground. Therefore the wedges are the best place to start. 

Some wedges, like the Titleist Vokey Wedges or the Callaway Mack Daddy, are built for tremendous spin. The faces of these wedges have grooves designed to grab the ball and get it spinning the proper way. 

As you start to learn to create backspin, start with something like the sand wedge that genuinely helps you get the ball on the right track. In addition, you must be mindful of what golf ball you choose. Golf balls created for a high greenside spin can be much easier to work with. 

One of the reasons that golfers like the Pro V1 so much is that it can be easy to spin it backward, even for amateur players. It’s also why so many professionals use this golf ball. 

Step 2: Setup 

The way you set up to hit a shot with more backspin will, without a doubt, impact your success of getting the ball to stop where you want it. In golf, our setup can promote a more descending blow. A particular setup can also promote a shot that is hit on the upswing. With a shot that has more backspin on it, you will have to hit down and through the golf ball. 

It’s typically best to position the ball slightly towards the back foot. When the ball is in the back of the stance, you will have an easier time catching it on the downswing. Keep in mind that as you hit down and through the golf ball, you still need to finish your swing. 

Many golfers take the thought of putting the golf ball in the back of their stance to the extreme. In golf, it’s always best to make simple and minor adjustments. Place your golf ball just to the right of the center in your stance. Ensure it is not entirely behind your right foot. 

Step 3: Analyzing The Lie

If you watch professionals closely, you will notice that from a perfectly clean fairway lie, they can put a ton of spin on the golf ball. However, when hitting out of the rough, the ball is very difficult to stop. This will also hold true for amateur players, and it’s important to consider your lie and determine the chances of it spinning. 

When hitting out of the deep rough, the clubface and the golf ball have grass in between them. This grass gets in the way of imparting the proper amount of spin and leaves you with a shot that releases when it hits the green. 

Always practice from a tighter fairway lie when trying to learn to put backspin on the ball. 

Step 4: Lean a Little 

The main reason you can get spin on a golf ball is that you hit down on the golf ball. If you watch a video of a perfect golf strike, you will notice that the ball gets hit first. Followed by a divot after the ball. 

Many amateur players try to get the ball up in the air by lifting it with their hands or arms, which is ineffective. Instead, it makes sense to hit down and through the golf ball and allow the club to do its job. 

One reminder to help players do this on short shots is to lean a little on the left side at setup. This reminds you that you are returning to this position at impact and hitting the ball with a descending blow. Any flip of the wrists or hanging back with weight on the right side is going to eliminate the chance of backspin on the shot. 

Step 5: Always Accelerate

Another requirement of getting backspin on the ball is accelerating the golf club head through the shot. Do not slow down and forget to keep that speed up. The chance of getting backspin is considerably reduced when you slow the club head down. Instead, accelerate through the ball and increase the total amount of spin you can get. 

Following these steps will help you start to create backspin on some shots. Remember that your equipment is already developed to create this spin, so all you need to do is not work against yourself in the process! 

Drills to Increase Backspin

Many golfers are trying to create more backspin on their shots, and it has led several golf manufacturers to develop training aids and devices to help improve and increase backspin. Here are the drills we have used in the past to help with this process. 

Weighted Golf Clubs 

To feel like you can get backspin on the golf ball, the club needs to be heavy in your hands. With a weighted golf club, the feeling of bringing the club down and through the turf can be considerably easier. 

Weighted golf clubs can be purchased as an individual clubs, or they can be a simple ring you put around your iron shaft to get you this feeling. You won’t need to hit shots with the weight on; simply use it to get the feeling. 

Tee In Front Drill

Perhaps our favorite drill for learning how to increase backspin is to use a tee to help in the process. We are used to putting the golf ball on a tee, but for this drill, you will place the tee in front of the golf ball. It really should be just about an inch in front of the ball. 

When the tee is in front, you will push it all the way down so that it is level with the turf. Your goal here is to hit the golf ball first and then the tee. There should be no divot behind the ball, as this would mean you hit up on it and eliminate your chance of getting any spin. 

With this drill, always make sure the tee is level with the ground. 

Where Do You Hit The Ball For Backspin? 

To get backspin on a golf ball, you must hit the back half of the ball on a descending blow. Most amateurs make the mistake to try lifting the ball off the ground by scooping under it. This will only cause you to get more forward spin on your golf shots. 

Final Thoughts 

We hope you now feel more confident about your ability to get backspin on the golf ball. You can get backspin on the golf ball; this does not have to be an advanced concept. Pay attention to how you are standing, the clubs and golf ball you use, and how you hit down and through the golf shot. This will encourage a much better spin and impressive overall result on your golf shots. Start small around the greens and continue up through your short irons. 

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with 25 years of experience playing and coaching golfers around the world. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn and enjoy the game of golf.