Part II - The Long Game

How to Make it Suck Back

One of the most dramatic things anyone can do to a golf ball is apply so much backspin that, after landing, it sucks backward as if on a string. In addition to being fun to watch, this is a useful shot, especially when you’re playing to rock-hard greens or when you need to get close to a pin that is positioned just beyond a bunker or other trouble.

In order to play this shot successfully, you need to have several factors in your favor, only one of which is the proper swing. The first essential is a clean lie, to enable maximum application of clubface to ball. It also helps to be playing into the wind and to a green that slopes toward you. Finally, your chances of applying backspin will be enhanced if you’re playing with square-grooved irons and striking a soft-covered ball.

The key to the technique is to make crisp, brisk impact with the back of the ball. Ideally, in fact, you want to hit the top-back quadrant of the ball, so that you squeeze the ball against the turf for a millisecond. That’s what creates the friction that makes the ball spin.

Begin by positioning the ball a few centimetres or so back of its usual position in your stance. Don’t move it any farther back, because that will simply produce a low, squirting shot. Grip the club more firmly than normal, to reduce wrist action – you want hand speed but not wrist speed.

The swing should be aggressive from top to bottom. Contrary to common belief, the suck-back is played with the big muscles – it is not a flick. Keeping those wrists firm, swing through briskly with the arms as your legs and lower body move toward the target.

You don’t want to pick this ball cleanly, but you don’t want a divot either. You’ll know you’ve played it well when at impact you slick down the grass in front of the ball.

How to Make it Suck Back

Part I - Before You Swing

Part II - The Long Game

Part III - The Short Game

Part IV - Bunkers and Trouble Play

Part V - Managing Yourself and Your Game