Wednesday, November 1, 2006
How to make the shots you need to play your best
Chip With A Hybrid: How to stick it close with a hybrid.
Body Position Start by assessing this shot like you would a long putt. Using your putting stroke, position the ball in the center of your stance, and because the hybrid is longer than your putter, choke down on the club as necessary, even if it means holding the club below the grip.
Grip Use your putter grip (whatever style yours may be). Position your hands slightly forward of the ball. Again, choke down and make a few practice swings until it feels like youre swinging a flatstick. You want minimal wrist movement, just like you do when making a putting stroke.
Clubface Because youre standing closer to the ball than the club was intended for, youre going to have to position the clubhead with the toe touching the ground and the heel up slightly in the air. Square the clubface directly at your intended target, and expect the clubface to close very easily through impact.
Magic Move Like putting, chipping with a hybrid requires a stable body through the stroke. The secret? Dont forget to accelerate, but do so remembering that the ball will hop a few inches and then start rolling—a lot faster than it does with a wedge. Its a good idea to hit this shot when facing an uphill sloping green because it will help you get the ball to the hole without factoring in the unexpected backspin that a chip with a wedge sometimes yields. Practice this, and youll see better results fast.
Thick Rough Pitch Shot: Hit the shot you need to get up and down.
Body Position The deeper the rough, the farther back in your stance you should play the ball. But stop moving the ball back once its under your right eye. Opening your stance will give the appearance of moving the ball forward, so it should look like the ball is in the middle of your stance. Place your hands above the ball.
Grip Because you have to negotiate the club through some rough, its critical that you increase your grip pressure in both hands. This doesnt mean you should use a death grip, but it does mean you should hold the club slightly tighter than usual to help ensure that you get the clubhead through the thick grass.
Clubface With the ball in the rough, youre going to need to dig. Aim the clubface square to the target—not open. Because your body position is slightly open, a squared face should give you just enough digging power without adding too much bounce to the sole. Bounce is your enemy with this shot. You want to hit down!
Magic Move We see this shot played out on the PGA Tour all the time. To be successful hitting a delicate pitch from the deep rough, you have to learn to cock the wrists early on the backswing and release them fully through the downswing. The goal here is to first extricate the ball and do so in the right general direction. Too many amateurs try and add spin, which results in holding the clubface open too long and effectively getting caught up in the grass. Instead, initiate an early hinge on the backswing and a fluid acceleration and release of the hands through impact. It doesnt hurt to think of this shot as you would a bunker shot. You have to accelerate and hit down on it. Odds are youll hit a little behind it, but since you have a steep angle and youre accelerating, the ball should pop out with some forward roll. Its okay to abbreviate your finish, too.
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