How Backspin is REALLY Created

chipping short game Apr 15, 2020

I recently watched this quick video with Rory Mcllroy demonstrating the 'One Hop and Stop' chip shot. While the technique is reassuringly simple, judging by the comments left by viewers, they are not fooled and there is more to playing a low spinning chip shot it than just technique. 

 Rory's 'Hop and Stop' Chip Shot


Creating spin involves a lot of friction and that is only possible in the presence of certain factors. 

Factors Influencing Spin Rate

Having to factor in all these aspects seems like a lengthy process but with experience, it all happens fairly quickly.

  • Loft: More loft = more spin until we go over the spin loft threshold (see Spin Loft video)
  • Angle of attack: It is instinctive to think that hitting down gives us more spin but this is only the case if you are not delofting the club as is often the case as angle of attack increases.  
  • Clubhead speed: More speed =more spin so on short shots be mindful that you won't generate enough speed to create sufficient backspin to stop the ball. In this case, you will need to use height to stop the ball from rolling out.
  • Water on the ball or club: (See The Effects of Water on Spin Rate video)
  • Wind: Most people are comfortable that playing into the wind is going to all but guarantee the ball to stop but then don't fully appreciate the opposite effect when playing downwind. This is especially relevant when chipping.
  • Slope: This is both the slope you are playing from which will alter your dynamic loft (see Slopes and Lies section) and the slope you are landing the ball on.
  • Lie: In respect to friction, a bare lie will create more spin, especially if it is sandy. A wet lie in the rough will all but eliminate your chances of creating backspin.
  • Type of ball: Premium balls include: Titleist Pro V 1, Callaway Chrome Soft, Bridgestone Tour B, Taylor Made TP5 and Srixon ZsTAR.

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