How To Spin The Golf Ball

PGA Tour coach James Ridyard explains how to spin the golf ball, so that you can spruce up your short game...

Short game specialist James Ridyard hitting a chip shot
Short game specialist James Ridyard takes us through everything you need to know about spinning the golf ball
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

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The top pros make it look easy, don't they? The ability to play aggressive shots around the green, and stop it close to the pin, is a skill we would all like to have. Well the good news is, with the right golf tips and plenty of practice drills, this is an achievable target for all amateur golfers.

In the video and article below, PGA Tour coach and short game specialist James Ridyard discusses the theory behind how to spin the golf ball and shares the three areas you need to consider the next time you play a shot around the green...

1. Environment

When considering the environment for producing high quality spin shots around the green, you need to focus on a few key areas. The first is ensuring you are playing with the best wedges, that are in good condition with clean grooves.

The second is the golf ball you are using, ensuring it is soft enough to actually spin, and the third is the one that, unfortunately, you cannot control - the lie. 

The final aspect is the landing area on the green you are hitting into.  If the green is above you, the ball will arrive flatter and kick forwards more. This will also impact the spin, as will any downhill slopes which will make it harder to stop the ball quickly.

Two Golf Balls In Different Lies

Your lie is out of your control, but you still need to consider it when playing shots around the green

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

2. Technique

You should be aiming to contact the ball with the lower grooves on your wedge, as hitting it too high on the clubface will make it difficult to get the ball to spin. You should also increase your spin loft, which is the relationship between the loft you deliver through impact and your attack angle. With a driver, this angle is very close together, but as you move towards your wedges this increases with the loft of the club. 

As the loft increases, so does the spin you can put on the golf ball. Even when taking your most lofted wedge, you should open the face slightly to maximise loft.

James Ridyard demonstrating the relationship between attack angle and dynamic loft

Spin loft is the relationship between dynamic loft and your attack angle

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

3. Quality Of Contact

In order to achieve a high quality of contact, it’s important to deliver the club with some degree of shaft lean, but by opening the face, we can still deliver a nice amount of loft through impact. The ball position should be just under the left side of your chest, with a wide, shallow swing.

From this position, swing through the ball while maintaining the loft on the club and cut across it slightly to help the ball stop more quickly.

James Ridyard demonstrating how to open the clubface and apply shaft lean with a wedge

James Ridyard demonstrating how to open the clubface and apply shaft lean with a wedge

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

If you factor in these considerations when practicing, and preparing to hit shots with your wedges, you will find your control over the golf ball around the greens will improve in no time.

James Ridyard
Short Game Specialist And PGA Tour Coach

James Ridyard is a prominent figure in the world of golf, renowned for his expertise in short game instruction and coaching. Throughout his career, Ridyard has amassed a wealth of experience working with golfers of all levels, from beginners to professionals and major winners. His unique approach to coaching combines a deep understanding of biomechanics, physics, and psychology, allowing him to tailor his instruction to the individual needs of each player.

Ridyard is widely recognised for his innovative teaching methods, which emphasise simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness. He is known for his ability to break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand principles, empowering his students to improve their game rapidly and consistently.