Why You Can’t...

(and how you can)

This Article Features Photo Zoom

...spin the ball on command

When you see the pros hit the ball past the flag and then zip it back to the pin, it doesn’t happen because they got lucky.

Tour pros are great at making perfect contact with a descending blow into the ball, plus they use the right equipment. To spin your shots like a pro, use a soft-covered ball, keep your grooves sharp and make solid contact. Hitting into perfect turf on great greens doesn’t hurt either.

...curve the ball on command

If you want to move the ball from right to left, I suggest you strengthen your grip slightly at setup (see photograph at right). Turn both hands to the right a few degrees. The “Vs” created by your thumbs and forefingers should now be pointing toward your right shoulder. This stronger grip will encourage you to rotate your hands and wrists over through impact (see photograph at left), which will place a “draw or hook” spin on the ball and make it curve from right to left (for a right-handed player). If you’re a lefty, do the opposite.

To hit the ball from left to right, weaken your grip slightly. Turn both hands a few degrees to the left so that the “Vs” are pointing more toward your chin (see photo at left). This helps your hands and wrists “hold off” the club and keep the face open at impact (see photo at right). As a result, the ball will move from left to right. Make sure both hands “match”! For a slice, they both should rotate to your left; for a draw, they both should rotate to the right. This will help your hands and wrists work together.

...get out of trouble like Houdini

In the photo at left, you can see I’m stymied. Should I start the ball way left and slice it? Should I hit it over the tree? Can I fit it through the gap between the branches?

Here’s how to hit all three:
To slice it, take a less lofted club (this will help you curve it), weaken your grip slightly and aim safely to the left to get the ball started away from the trouble. Try to actually swing down from outside to inside the target line and make sure to hold the clubface open at impact. Here, the ball started left of the tree, and I curved it 30 yards.

To hit the high shot, play the ball a bit forward in your stance and keep your head well back of the ball at impact. Make sure you hit the turf and don’t flip your wrists at impact. In both photos, notice how low my right shoulder is. I’m definitely behind the ball, and that produces a high ballflight.

To punch the ball (here, through the gap between the rocks and the large branch), lean your weight slightly forward and commit to making a swing down into the turf to promote a low ballflight. Here I hit an 8-iron, played the ball slightly back in my stance and made sure the hands stayed in front of the clubhead as I struck the turf.

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