The ‘Perfect Storm’ for creating backspin | by Michael Sweenie (ETPI)

As golf coaches we get asked this question from students on a daily basis: “How do I get backspin?” Rather than delve into technique (which we all know is important), I want to discuss with you the various factors that we have to take into consideration to create backspin with those wedge shots around the greens.

We get to watch the best players in the world on TV every week playing in perfect conditions and generating lots of ‘sauce’ on approach shots, but I want you to understand the ‘perfect storm’ required to achieve this for the amateur golfer. Seven steps may sound a lot, but believe me it is certainly an achievable task. At the European Tour Performance Institute, we regularly welcome the best players on tour and can see on TrackMan the high number of spin rates created from their wedge shots, launching low and with a consistent quality strike. This allows so much freedom to focus on flight and landing area, as they can anticipate what the ball is going to do on landing.


7 factors for achieving backspin

Premium Golf Ball

Sorry not so helpful for your bank balance but our research at ETPI shows that in order to create backspin, a quality golf ball is essential to produce backspin around the greens. Premium golf balls such as Pro V1 are designed with materials to largely increase spin rate and control around the greens. A low budget, hard cover ball just will not get the job done!


Modern wedge with clean grooves

Equipment plays a huge role in being able to generate backspin. A well looked after modern day wedge (Titleist Vokey wedges are a preference for me) will go a long way to helping you, but YOU MUST ensure that with EVERY shot you have a clean clubface to allow friction to be created when creating backspin. If the face or grooves have any grass, dirt etc. this will interfere with friction and you will have no chance!


Loft

This is critical for creating backspin. You will not want to generate any backspin with a mid to long iron so be sure your intention is only to do so with your more lofted wedges.


Environment

Weather and course conditions will play a part in allowing you to create backspin.
Fortunately in the UAE, we have excellent soft receptive conditions on most courses, but if you were trying to generate lots of backspin on a hard fast links course, it isn’t
going to happen! Surface moisture will also play its role in increasing skid on landing so take all of this into consideration.


Lie

You are looking for a good tight lie to play a part in allowing backspin. This also helps increase friction but make sure you are not expecting to see backspin coming out of a poor lie or in rough…the grass caught in-between clubface and ball will massively lower friction and control.


Clubhead speed

Not large amounts like we want with the driver but we do need this to help increase spin rates so ensure you have good solid fundamentals allowing your club to be accelerating through the ball. Good body rotation will play a big part in getting this right.


Quality of strike

When it comes to backspin, the quality of strike is crucial! Off-centre strikes will dramatically drop spin rates. Our intention is a slightly downward strike brushing the turf, slightly de-lofting the club and creating friction as the ball runs up the grooves on your wedge.

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