Isn’t it thrilling to see those great shots that fly in low skip once, twice on the green then screech to a halt? Why can’t I do that? You will.
For the 80 percent of all golfers who never (honestly) break 90 in their lives, the answer is almost always the same. They never, ever hit the ball truly crisp. Not hitting the ball crisply, they never get much backspin. Backspin is the reason for the quick stopping of the ball. Let’s focus in on why they don’t get backspin.
What produces backspin? Think of it this way... if you are old enough to remember playing marbles, you recall that you could put the marble on a hard surface, and by pressing down on the back of the marble, it would scoot forward then stop abruptly because the pressure downward against the hard surface produced friction and this friction spun the marble backward.
The analogy with the golf ball is the same. The club moves downward toward the ball... the grooves in the clubface produce friction against the cover when ball is caught in the squeeze between the clubhead and the ground (by the way, keep those grooves cleaned out!)
Bottom Line: YOU MUST HIT A SHOT WITH DESCENDING BLOW TO PRODUCE SIGNIFICANT BACKSPIN!
Here’s the problem. There is a native primeval urge to scoop or lift the ball. This produces either a knuckle ball (no spin) or over spin.
How can you overcome this urge? First assure yourself of a careful setup position. If you are using clubs 7-SW, narrow your stance and setup with 70-80 percent of your weight on your left side. Minimize leg movement. Next, and perhaps most important, focus on a spot just in front (the target side) of the ball. Try to imagine the club sweeping through that spot and carving a dollar bill sized divot. Go the range and practice with your shorter clubs. And squeeze that marble.
Paul Banks, Owner and PGA Professional
Copper Hill Golf Academy 37 Griffin Road, East Granby CT