Golf 101: How To Spin The Ball

Spin

It is not easy to put spin on a golf ball. However, getting a ball to stop where it lands on the green can help you keep your score down and give you a competitive advantage. It can be very useful when you’re hitting on firm greens or when the pin is placed directly behind a hazard or bunker. The following steps explain the basics of adding a good spin on a golf ball – so read up and go practice!

Spin is created by friction, dynamic loft, contact point(on the face), and speed.

  • Friction is the force between two surfaces when rubbing together. Remember elementary school? Two smooth surfaces create little friction, while two rough surfaces create a lot of friction. That is why golf clubs have grooves and golf balls have dimples — the grooves provide the necessary friction that is created as the golf ball slides up the club face. Any matter (dirt, water, grass) that comes between the golf ball and club reduces friction and therefore spin. This is why you will seldom see a professional spin a ball out of tall grass.
  • Dynamic Loft is the actual loft of the club at impact, which is much less than what is measured on a loft/lie machine. The reduction in loft is due to the fact that in order for a golfer to strike down on the ball, he or she must create some forward shaft lean at impact, which reduces loft. A typical 6 iron with around 30 degrees of loft will have as little as 20 degrees of dynamic loft when hit by an elite level player, but I have seen readings as high as 40 degrees from some amateurs with poor impact positions.
  • Contact point on the face is a little complicated. Even though there is less loft at the bottom of a club face and more loft at the top, a principle called vertical gear effect causes shots hit low on the face to have more spin than shots hit higher on the face. Think about how much more roll you get on tee shots you hit high on the face compared to the ones you hit low on the face.
  • Speed is relatively simple to understand. All things being equal, faster club head speed creates more spin and slower club head speeds create less spin.
Ball Flight
Image from perfectgolfswing.net

The How-To’s

  • Stand with your feet closer together than when you normally swing.
  • Position yourself so that the ball is closer to your back foot.
  • Try this with a high degree wedge, like a 58 or 60 degree.
  • Swing the club on a steeper plan (more upright).
  • Force the club to hit the bottom of the ball and then hit directly underneath the ball before taking a divot. Take a divot that is long and shallow.
  • Follow through normally.

 

Notes:

  • Make sure that the grooves on the face of your clubs are clean.
  • Hitting the ball crisply is critical. A slight mis-hit can result in a significant mistake.
  • It is easier to spin a “softer” golf ball. These are usually two- or three- piece balls and are often marked “Extra Spin.”
  • This shot is most effective when the ball comes in at a high trajectory.
  • This is one of the hardest shots in golf and must be practiced on a driving range before being attempted on the course!
  • An easy way to look at is to think about playing pool. When you put spin on a golf ball it’s very similar in nature to putting backspin on a cue ball. To accomplish this you strike the cue ball at a steep downward angle with a great deal of force which then imparts this energy on the bottom half of the cue ball and sends it flying.

 

Now that you know the basics, check out this video from Expert Village and then get out there and practice!

 
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