Shotshaping Formulas

How to make the shots you need to play your best


100-YD Knockdown100-Yard Knockdown: Don’t let the wind mess up what should be a relatively easy shot.
Body Position To hit a knockdown shot (one that flies low with less spin), there’s very little difference in the setup than most think. Address the ball with your normal wedge stance (albeit you should use a 9-iron instead of a sand wedge, 8-iron instead of a pitching wedge and so on). Don’t feel like you need to lean forward to keep the ball low. The ball should be positioned in the middle of your stance.

Grip There’s no need to manipulate the grip for this shot. But if you do have trouble over-rotating the clubhead when you swing easy, perhaps a weaker grip can help. A slightly forward lean of the shaft is okay, but don’t feel like you need to hood the ball to keep it low.

Clubface The most important aspect of the clubface for this shot is choosing the right club. It’s best to add at least two clubs to keep the ball from generating backspin and getting caught up in the wind. Keep the clubface square to the target.

Magic Move The knockdown shot is really a normal swing with less effort! The proper way to execute the knockdown is to stabilize the body and minimize as much excessive movement as possible. This includes shortening your backswing and downswing by using what I call the 25/75 ratio. First, practice making some smooth swings at about 75-percent power (i.e., if you hit an 8-iron 140 yards, practice on the range until you hit it about 100 yards). Secondly, shrink your backswing and downswing by about 25 percent. Remember to keep the head level, and because it’s a slower swing, you need to retain back and knee flex to prevent dipping down and taking up a big chunk of turf. Swing through the ball normally, and watch the ball split the wind with forward roll.

Semi-Buired BunkerSemi-Buried Bunker: How to hit a semi-submerged ball in a greenside bunker.
Body Position A great rule of thumb for this shot is to remember that the lower the ball sits in the sand, the less spin and control you can put on it. In this case, with a semi-submerged ball, lower-body stability is key. Begin with a square body position, aiming your feet and shoulders parallel to the target and not way to the left (for right-handers). Widen your stance, put 65 percent of your weight on your forward foot and play the ball in the center of your feet.

Grip Use your normal grip and don’t tense up like many golfers do when they find themselves in the sand. Also, adjust the clubface angle before you take hold of the club, not after. You don’t want to twist your hands in order to open or close the clubface. In this case, the ball is sitting low, so square up that clubface.

Clubface The lie controls the clubface here. The more you open the clubface, the less sand you’ll pick up and the more bounce you’ll get from the club, making an open clubface ideal for a ball sitting high up in the sand. In this case, the ball is submerged, so you need to hit more sand in order to excavate the ball. Square that clubface to the target. It’s time to start digging! 

Magic Move The key to hitting this shot is to dig beneath the ball and let the sand lift the ball toward the target. To ensure the proper dig, swing the club on the target line and hinge the wrists sooner than usual. This will steepen your backswing, ensuring a steep, downward blow into the sand about an inch behind the ball. Be sure to accelerate and delay the release of the hands!




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