How To Get The Ball To Stop On The Green, Golf Tip

Stopping and spinning a golf ball on the green is something many amateurs wish they could accomplish but believe there is some cosmic secret only professionals know.

In reality, stopping a ball on the green is a relatively simple combination of technique, strike and technology. Professionals on tour create a greater amount of back spin than many handicap golfers because of the impact conditions they create with the shorter irons and wedges. This mainly consists of a high club head speed and downward strike on to the ball. Swinging the club quickly helps increase back spin and a downward strike, ball first then turf, increases the amount of spin even more. Both these things working in tandem are crucial to creating a high amount of back spin.

To help groove a consistent downward strike on the ball, try this drill:

Line drill

  • On a grass range or driving range mat, place five balls in a straight line at right angles to the target.
  • Then place a towel three inches behind the line of balls.
  • The idea of the drill is to swing down into impact, avoid the towel and then strike the ball.
  • If you are able to swing down and avoid the towel and strike down on the ball you should also be able to produce consistent $1 note sized divots after the point of impact.
  • This will show you are striking down on the ball and creating back spin.

A pure and consistent angle of approach into the ball will increase the chance of a downward strike which creates back spin. However, unless a golfer is using the correct equipment, the results will be limited.

The loft of club a player uses will help determine how much spin is achievable. If you wish to produce a great deal of back spin, using a 3 iron would not be ideal. This is why the greatest amounts of spin are produced by the mid to low irons, 6 iron to lob wedge. The greater the amounts of loft, the greater the potential amount of back spin. The construction of the club is also important. A softer forged steel head will generally produce more spin than a cast iron head, for example.

Lastly and probably the most crucial piece of equipment to get right when attempting a greater amount of back spin is the ball.

A ball with a hard cover two layer construction will spin less than a ball with a soft outer layer and multi-core construction. To test the amount different balls spin, take a selection of balls out on to the course with different covers and core constructions.

In general, balls which feature a urethane cover and at least three layers will produce more spin.

How to Get the Ball to Stop on the Green

How to Get the Ball to Stop on the Green

One of the most important jobs you have as a golfer is bringing your ball to a stop in a timely manner on the green. Of course, you are always trying to hit the greens with your approach shots, as hitting the green is going to leave you with a birdie attempt. No golfer hits every single green in regulation round after round, but you should always be striving to hit as many as possible. With plenty of birdie chances throughout the day, you are likely to drop at least a couple into the bottom of the cup – and the rest should be easy pars.

In this article, we are going to discuss a number of methods you can use to stop the ball on the green. As you already know, golf is a very complicated game, meaning there is almost always more than one option for anything you need to do. That is certainly true here, as you are going to have several methods at your disposal for bringing the ball to a stop on the green, depending on the circumstances of the shot. By the end of this article, you should have a great understanding for the numerous paths you can choose – from there, it will be up to you to simply execute on the game plan to the best of your ability.

It should be noted early on that this task is going to be far more difficult if you play golf in a dry part of the world. Those of you who play most of your golf in a rainy climate probably won't have much trouble stopping the ball on the green with the average approach shot. The greens you encounter in damp climates are usually pretty soft, so any kind of decent shot will come to rest after just a quick bounce and roll. The story is different, however, when playing in a dry and warm area. With firm turf under your feet, the greens will not be so forgiving. You will have to play a quality shot to get the ball to stop, and even then it is going to take more room to do so. Whether you play most of your golf in dry weather, or you just travel once or twice a year to a dry climate for a golf vacation, knowing how to stop the ball when the greens are firm is an essential skill.

While the tips offered in this article should be quite helpful in terms of learning how to stop the ball, nothing is going to be quite as important as solid ball striking thanks to reliable mechanics. Improving the quality of your swing as a whole is always going to lead to better outcomes, so keep your eye on constant improvement – even if you already play pretty well from tee to green. No one has ever mastered this game, and no one ever will. Resist the temptation to settle for your current level of performance and keep striving to improve your swing day after day.

All of the content below is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Stopping the Ball with Loft

Stopping the Ball with Loft

The simplest option for bringing your ball to a stop on the green is to use plenty of loft on your shot. If you send the ball high up into the sky as it travels toward the hole, it is going to come down on a steep angle – and it won't have much forward momentum left after it lands. This kind of shot will likely take one or two bounces, move only a bit forward, and then stop completely. Not only is this an effective way to stop the ball, but it is also helpful in terms of getting over any hazards which may be guarding the front of the green. You can take that pesky slope at the front of the putting surface out of play by simply flying the ball well onto the green before bringing it down with a thud. There is a reason you see so many professional players hitting the golf ball way up into the sky – it is an extremely effective way to play the game.

So, if this is such a great option, why wouldn't you just use loft all the time to stop your shots? Well, it isn't exactly easy to send the ball high up into the air with all of your clubs. Sure, you can probably hit a high shot with your pitching wedge or nine iron, but doing the same thing with a four iron is quite a challenge. In fact, one of the skills which allows professional golfers to stand apart from the competition is their ability to hit the ball high. Those who can launch the ball skyward tend to stand out from the pack, even in world-class tournaments.

You might not ever be able to hit the ball as high as some of the top players on tour, but you can work on adding height to your ball flight in order to stop your shots quicker on the green. The list below includes a few tips for increasing the height of your average shot.

  • Move your ball position slightly forward. This is one of the quickest things you can do to raise the height of your ball flight pattern. Instead of playing the ball from the middle of your stance, for instance, move the ball a couple inches to the left as you are looking down from address. This is going to allow you to contact the ball while using more of the loft on the club, leading to a higher flight. If you are going to get the full benefit from this adjustment, however, you need to make sure to keep your swing mechanics exactly the same. If you slide to the left in the downswing to get over to the ball, the effect will be lost and you will hit a lower-than-desired shot. Once you move the ball position to the new spot, go ahead and make your standard swing while using rotation rather than lateral motion. If executed correctly, you should see the ball immediately begin to fly higher than with your previous technique.
  • Stand a little closer to the ball. You can use this tip in conjunction with the previous tip for a powerful effect. By standing just a bit closer to the ball at address, you will cause your swing plane to become more upright – meaning you will be more likely to hit a slight fade. Since a fade is almost always going to fly higher than a draw, you will have elevated your ball flight without doing anything else to your technique. It is important to keep your ball position toward your left foot when using this tip, as standing close and keeping the ball back in your stance can lead to ugly results.
  • Let your release fly freely. To hit the ball as high as possible, you are going to need to let the release go fully through the hitting area. You can't 'hold on' to the release and still expect the ball to climb up into the sky. So what does this mean? It's pretty simple – you need to attack the ball with your right hand as you come down through the hitting area. It is easy to be tentative near the bottom of the swing if you are a little bit nervous about the outcome of the shot, so it is necessary to have as much confidence in yourself as possible while making the swing. Trust yourself to hit a good shot, use your right hand aggressively, and watch the ball fly high on the way to the green.

Hitting the ball way up into the air is never going to be the easiest job you have on the golf course. In addition to the tips above, you can also pick equipment which has been specifically designed to hit high shots. With a combination of the right swing and the right gear, you might find yourself hitting the ball higher than ever before.

Stopping the Ball with Spin

Stopping the Ball with Spin

The next option you can use to bring your ball to a stop on the greens is to use a high rate of spin. Every golf shot you hit on the course – with the exception of your putts – is going to have some degree of backspin. You can use this backspin to your advantage by having it help you stop the ball in a timely manner. Not only can you stop the ball quickly with a high spin rate, but you can actually spin it back toward the front of the green when the conditions are right.

Just as is the case with using loft, you are going to have an easier time using spin to stop the ball when you have a highly-lofted club in your hands. The ball is going to spin at a high rate when struck cleanly with a wedge, and while it will also have lots of spin when hit with a long iron, that spin won't stop the ball as quickly because of the flatter trajectory. If you feel like you struggle to produce enough spin to stop the ball shortly after it lands, you might find the tips below helpful.

  • Focus on clean contact. When it comes to spin, nothing is more important than clean contact. If you catch the ball cleanly at the point of contact, you will maximize the amount of backspin that is produced. Many amateur golfers struggle to achieve a clean hit, instead hitting the ball a little fat or thin on most of their shots. If you miss-hit the ball even a little, you are going to lose a significant amount of your backspin. To emphasize quality contact, simplify your swing and take as much lateral movement out of the action as possible. Generally speaking, quality contact is going to be found when balance is maintained.
  • Hit down through impact. In addition to making clean contact, you also need to strike down through the ball in order to produce maximum spin. You don't need to swing down on a steep angle, but you do need to be moving just slightly down as the club swings through toward the target. To hit down, make sure you stay balanced over the ball during the backswing. If you allow yourself to drift away from the target going back, it is very likely that you will 'lift' the club through the hitting area – and you will fail to hit down on the ball as a result. To judge your ability to hit down, watch for the presence of a divot after you make your swing. If you hit the ball cleanly and then take a divot out of the turf, you can be confident you are on the right track.
  • Use good equipment. You don't necessarily have to have the most expensive golf equipment in the world in order to play well, but you do need to have the right gear if you want to spin the ball at a high rate. Specifically, you need to have clubs with clean grooves so the club face can 'grab' the ball at the moment of impact. Also, you need to have a golf ball which is capable of spinning when it is struck properly. The cheapest golf balls on the shelf won't spin no matter what you do to them, so make sure you purchase at least a mid-level model. Also, the ball loses ability to spin over time as it gets beat up on the course, so replace your ball as soon as it starts to show any significant wear.

If you can't hit the ball high enough to use loft alone to stop the ball, you are going to need to bring spin into the equation. In reality, it is going to be these two factors which will have to come together in order to stop the ball in most situations. It isn't going to be all loft or all spin – it is going to be a blend of the two. Now that you understand how these work, you can plan your future shots accordingly.

Running It Out

Running It Out

Most of the shots you play are going to be brought to a halt by a combination of spin and loft. With that said, there is another option – and this option was extremely popular in the early days of golf. Rather than tossing the ball way up into the air with a high rate of spin, the usual approach was to play the ball along the ground and let it run until it loses all of its forward momentum. This kind of 'ground game' is not nearly as common anymore, but it is still a viable strategy from time to time.

You will need to look for very specific opportunities if you are going to use this method. First, you will have to be playing on a firm and fast golf course. When the turf is soft and soggy beneath your feet, there will be no chance for you to use the ground game – the ball would simply come to a stop shortly after it landed. In addition to firm turf, you also need to have a path that you can use between your ball and the target. This is where things get tricky, as modern golf courses are often not designed in a way that will allow you to bounce the ball up onto the green. There is frequently a bunker, long grass, or a steep slope between you and the target. Only when you have a viable path can you really consider keeping the ball down on the ground.

When you do spot an opportunity to run the ball up onto the green, you will have to alter your technique slightly in order to produce the right ball flight for the job. The first step, as you might imagine, is to move the ball back in your stance. Play the ball from the middle of your stance, regardless of which club you happen to be holding. Also, choke down on the grip of the club by an inch or two, in order to improve control and reduce the speed of your swing slightly. Reducing swing speed is actually a desirable change in this case as it will reduce the amount of backspin which is placed on the ball. The combination of moving the ball back and choking down a bit may be all you need to hit a quality, low-flying shot which will run out after it lands.

The biggest challenge with this kind of play is picking the right landing spot for your shot. Land the ball too short and it will run out of steam before it reaches the putting surface. Land the ball too long, however, and it will scurry across the green and likely find a troublesome spot to come to rest. It is never going to be easy to manage your distance with this method, but it is still a viable option if playing the ball high in the air seems too risky given the circumstances.

Using Slopes

Using Slopes

The last technique you will want to have in mind with regard to stopping the golf ball on the green is using the slopes of the course to your advantage. Before you hit any approach shot, you should always take a look at the green complex to see if there are any significant slopes in play. For instance, does the back of the green slope steeply toward the front of the putting surface? If so, you might be able to run the ball into that slope, only to watch the shot roll back down closer to the hole. The same technique could be used when there is a slope on one side of the green or another. Curve your approach shot into that slope and watch the ball naturally come back to a great spot.

In many cases, the slopes that you find within greens will not actually be on an edge, but rather right in the middle. These are usually called tiers, and they can complicate your life on the course – or they can make it a bit easier, depending on your perspective. For this example, imagine a green with a steep tier running across the green from side to side. When the hole is cut on the low half of the green, you could land the ball into the tier, letting the slope stop your shot and bring the ball back down. On the other hand, if the hole is cut on the top of the tier, you could play a running shot and let that slope slow the ball down effectively. In both cases, you would be using the design of the course to your advantage.

The biggest key to stopping the ball by using the design of the green is to pay attention. You shouldn't be surprised when you get up to the green, as you should have taken a look at the major slopes of the green from back in the fairway. It will take a bit of extra thought to play this kind of golf, but teaching yourself to think clearly before every swing is important if you are going to live up to your potential on the course.

Sometimes, bringing the ball to a stop on the green is quite easy. When the greens are soft, this is no challenge at all. On the other hand, you will encounter course conditions on occasion which make it nearly impossible to stop the ball. Be prepared for any kind of course condition by learning a variety of methods for bringing your shots to a halt. We hope that the information provided in this article will help you control your golf ball better than ever before. Good luck!