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A Question About Backspin
I want to remind you all that if you have a specific question or topic you’d like me to address in a blog post, please send it in. There is a link below that will take you right to me, OK?

Today, I’m writing about a question from Philip, who is puzzled about backspin, forward spin, etc. and wrote:
“I was wondering if you could do a posting on backspin versus forward spin? I find lots of info about putting backspin on wedge shots, but not much about lessening forward spin on mid and short irons. I've been killing my irons lately but too much forward spin is putting off the back of the green.”
First of all, Philip, any golf shot that gets airborne will have some degree of backspin, never forward spin. The laws of physics would prevent a ball with forward spin from getting off the ground. The only shot you hit with true forward spin is a putt or a cold topped shot.

That said, golfers put widely varying amounts of backspin on golf shots, due to a number of factors. What you seem to be struggling with is that your iron shots do not have as much backspin as they could or should, so you are losing control of the ability to stop these shots on the greens with consistency. Let’s try to fix that.

Shots with short and middle irons should be struck with a slightly descending blow, and hit crisply so that the ball is compressed into the face of the club, and somewhat “pinched” or trapped into the turf at impact. This optimizes the amount of backspin that can be applied. Given proper impact, the other major factor affecting the amount of spin is clubhead speed. Golfers with relatively slow swing speeds do not develop nearly as much spin as stronger players. But any golfer can learn to hit crisp iron shots with plenty of spin to control their landing.

To improve your ball-striking to get more backspin on your iron shots, here are a couple of tips:
  1. Position the ball back slightly in your stance, more toward the middle of your sternum, so that you can catch the ball more on the downward path of the clubhead, rather than when it is moving parallel to the ground. At address, your shaft should lean slightly, so that the grip end is a little forward of the clubhead.

  2. Watch your clubhead alignment – a hooded clubface at address and impact lessens backspin.

  3. To help you make a crisper, cleaner impact, focus your eyes on the forward edge of the ball – the side toward the hole. This helps ensure that you hit the ball first, then the turf. Your divots should be starting at a point just beyond where the ball was sitting.
A good way to check the starting point of your divots is to lay a tee on the ground on the opposite side of the ball from you, with the tip pointing at the middle of the ball. Your divots should start an inch or two forward of that tee.

So, Philip, I hope that clears this up a bit. In the library of about 500 articles I’ve written in the five years I’ve been doing this column, you’ll find more on this subject.

Happy reading.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
Pschepp says:
I see you guys have again pushed back the shipping date on left handed versions of your clubs. I'm tired of waiting and going to spend my money elsewhere.
5/3/12
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
 
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