Gary Boyd: How to create backspin

IJP Design ambassador and Callaway staff player offers something for our tips service

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By Gary Boyd on Fri, 20 Sep 2013 - 10:09

We’ve all heard the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when the pro golfer sends the ball moonwalking back to the pin, but just how do they do it? European Tour professional Gary Boyd is on hand to produce a detailed approach to that adrenaline-fuelled shot.

“Although more often than not, I bet you land the ball short of the hole, there’s no question backspin allows you to be much more aggressive with those short irons.

“It’s extremely difficult to get the ball to spin back from the rough due to the amount of grass you get between ball and clubface, so the first thing is to make sure you’re in the fairway.

“If we take a wedge for example, it’s a good idea (for a right-hander) to aim your body slightly left of the target and put 60% of your weight on your left foot. Keep ball position in the middle of your stance, and swing down at the ball at a steeper angle to help create maximum spin.

“With a steep swing, the leading edge of the clubface would normally cut down into the ground. Instead, the open clubface allows the club to bounce off the ground and slide underneath the ball.

“The more clubhead speed you create through the hitting area, the more spin you will generate as the ball grips onto the face. It’s kind of like striking a match.

“Ball first and then turf is vital to create backspin. Other things to consider are that you need a good golf ball and extremely clean grooves.”

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We’ve all heard the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when the pro golfer sends the ball moonwalking back to the pin, but just how do they do it? European Tour professional Gary Boyd is on hand to produce a detailed approach to that adrenaline-fuelled shot.

“Although more often than not, I bet you land the ball short of the hole, there’s no question backspin allows you to be much more aggressive with those short irons.

“It’s extremely difficult to get the ball to spin back from the rough due to the amount of grass you get between ball and clubface, so the first thing is to make sure you’re in the fairway.

“If we take a wedge for example, it’s a good idea (for a right-hander) to aim your body slightly left of the target and put 60% of your weight on your left foot. Keep ball position in the middle of your stance, and swing down at the ball at a steeper angle to help create maximum spin.

“With a steep swing, the leading edge of the clubface would normally cut down into the ground. Instead, the open clubface allows the club to bounce off the ground and slide underneath the ball.

“The more clubhead speed you create through the hitting area, the more spin you will generate as the ball grips onto the face. It’s kind of like striking a match.

“Ball first and then turf is vital to create backspin. Other things to consider are that you need a good golf ball and extremely clean grooves.”

Want more?

Head to our Golf Tips index. Remember to let us know how you get on and share your own tips with us in the forum and on our Facebook page. You can also tweet us @Golfmagic.

We’ve all heard the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when the pro golfer sends the ball moonwalking back to the pin, but just how do they do it?

In the second of his new instruction series for Golfmagic, IJP Design ambassador and Callaway staff player Gary Boyd is on hand to produce a detailed approach to that adrenaline-fuelled shot.

Hello Golfmagic, welcome to the second part of my instruction series following on from my simple putting drill before showing us his clockface wedge distance drill.

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked playing alongside amateurs is how to create backspin. So let's give it a go...

Although more often than not, I bet you land the ball short of the hole, there’s no question backspin allows you to be much more aggressive with those short irons.

It’s extremely difficult to get the ball to spin back from the rough due to the amount of grass you get between ball and clubface, so the first thing is to make sure you’re in the fairway.

When I see amateur players set up over a wedge shot, I notice they have a very square, almost shut clubface at address. Don't be scared to open up a little!

As you can see in the image top right, an early wrist set in the backswing allows the club to be on a steeper plane line allowing you on the downswing to make contact with the ball crisply.

The more speed you can generate by accelerating and not quitting will generate the spin and strike you are looking for. It’s kind of like striking a match. This will also help to get rid of those thins and duffs we all hate. Ball first and then turf is vital to create backspin. 

In order to feel how you should correctly hinge, stand up tall with your arms extended out, club in front of you and swing as if you were to hit a baseball. You'll feel how your wrists set early to turn around your body.

Other things to consider when it comes to backspin are that you need a good golf ball and extremely clean grooves. I currently use the new Callaway HEX Chrome ++ and Mack Daddy 2 wedges, which I've already fallen in love with after just a few weeks in the bag.

The new wider 5V Groove Pattern and new solar panel of the MD2, which I've got in 53- and 58-degree right now, helps me increase spin and promote better control around the greens. They also provide a really soft feel, which is paramount.

First published December 2011. Updated September 2013.

Please let me know how you get on in the forum below or you can tweet me @GaryBoyd86

Stay tuned for more instruction tips from Boyd on Golfmagic.

What's in Boyd's bag

Driver: Callaway X Hot Pro (9.5-degree)
3-wood: 
Callaway X Hot Pro (15-degree)
Utility: 
Callaway X Utility (18-degree)
Irons: 
Callaway Forged
Wedges: 
Callaway Mack Daddy 2
Putter: 
Odyssey Versa #2
Ball: 
Callaway HEX Chrome ++
Apparel: IJP Design

Gary Boyd Instruction Series

Putting drill
Clockface wedge distance drill

Want anymore tips? Check out our instructional guides to Golf’s Toughest Shots or our top Golf Practice Drills