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Playing Golf

How To Put Backspin on a Ball
by Jack Moorehouse

We all love it when we hit that shot that draws back quickly 5-10 feet after landing like it was on a string, right?

Well, putting backspin on a ball isn’t easy. You need the proper technique and the right conditions to do it. You also need the right ball. I cover backspin in my golf lessons, and once you know how, you’ll start hitting it closer to that difficult pin placements.

Putting backspin on a golf ball is like putting backspin on a cue ball. To do that you hit downward on the bottom half of the cue ball with significant force. Putting chalk on the stick’s tip, striking the ball at a steep angle, and increasing the velocity of the cue stick as it moves toward impact also helps.

To put backspin on a golf ball, as I explain in my golf tips, you do basically the same thing. But here, the goal is to “pinch” the ball between the club and the fairway. You not only need to hit downward on the ball with a fair amount of force, you also must make clean contact on the lower portion of the ball. It’s essential to have a clean (or new) club with some grip left on its face and a new ball when putting backspin on a ball.

The combination of all these factors—angle of attack, force, and clean contact—puts backspin on the ball. Coordinating all these factors in your swing is why it takes several golf lessons to learn.

You also need certain conditions to do it. Below are the three conditions you need before hitting the shot. If these factors are missing, forget about putting backspin on the ball.

1. Conditions must be fairly dry

2. You must be on the fairway

3. Greens have to be in good shape

I use backspin when I need to hit a pitch-and-stop shot. This type of shot is best used from about 25 to 30 yards away when you have an obstacle— bunker, water, rough, rocks— between you and the green.

Obviously, you can’t hit the ball on the ground or on a line, like a line drive in baseball. You need to hit a high shot over the obstacle. If you put enough backspin on the ball, it takes a bounce or two and stops.

Ideally, you’d like to hit the green about 10 to 15 feet from the pin and stop the ball a few feet from the hole, leaving you a short putt. Of course, if it goes in, that’s even better. If you fail to put enough backspin on the ball, however, it probably will roll off the green, especially if it is slanted or hard-baked.

I recommend using a 9 iron or, better yet, a pitching wedge in my golf tips. The wedge has a high loft, is heavy, and a large flange, which prevents it from digging into the turf. The divot need not be big or deep. Remember to keep your head down until your right arm pushes it up—a fundamental all good golf instruction emphasizes.

I use a high spin/soft cover ball for pitch-and-stop shots and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn the shot. A brief golf lesson on balls explains why.

Golf balls are available with three types of spin. The low spinning golf ball helps eliminate sidespin, which in turn helps reduce the big slice or hook. It doesn’t carry as far as the other types, but it makes up for it with roll. This ball is appropriate for players with high golf handicaps.

The mid-spinning ball fills in the gap between low and high spin balls. It provides more feel than the low spin ball, but doesn’t roll as far, although it travels fairly far. The mid-spin ball also varies depending on the manufacturer. It is better suited for golfers with mid-range golf handicaps.

The high spinning ball gets more carry than the other types of balls, but it won’t roll far when it hits the ground. This ball offers more feel and control, however, than a mid-spin ball, a big advantage around the greens. It’s the added spin that provides the increased control for the player. It’s the type of ball players with low golf handicaps often use.

My golf instruction teaches students to use the ball that’s right for them. If they’re beginners, for example, I recommend a ball with low spin. I also teach students how to put backspin on the ball in my golf lessons, but I emphasize that the conditions on the course must be right for them to try it. Nevertheless, it’s a potent weapon.

Practice improves your ability to put backspin on a golf ball, but keep in mind that the shot is one of the hardest to master in golf so don’t spend the majority of your practice time trying to master this shot.

About the author

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book "How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros." He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction.

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