Never Lay Up!

Make Solid Contact With Your Hybrids And Fairway Woods

This Article Features Photo Zoom

I BET THESE TWO PHOTOS look pretty similar, but if you focus in on my hands, you’ll see a big difference.
In the photo at left, my hands are opposite my left thigh, and in the photo at right, they’re opposite my right thigh. What does hand position have to do with shot trajectory? A lot.

Consider the angle of my clubface in each photo. Notice how, on the left, the face is pretty square or a little delofted? Decreasing the club’s loft produces a lower ballflight. In the photo on the right, the face is angling up a bit, because my hands are slightly behind the ball at impact. Obviously, adding loft will launch the ball on a higher trajectory.

While this tip is designed for better players, I suggest you give it a few test runs before implementing it on the course. There’s a risk of topping it if you try the right-photo hand position.  

FAIRWAY BUNKER SHOTS should be one of the game’s easier shots, but too often, golfers overthink what to do, rather than following a few basic fundamentals.

Consider the photos on these two pages. Notice in the photo at left, how little I’ve dug my feet in. In fact, I do it just enough not to slip. If I were to dig in too much (like a greenside bunker shot), I’d get down too low and take too much sand, only advancing the ball very little. That’s not the objective here. I want to pick this ball clean.

In the three photos on the opposite page, you can see that my stance and body lines are aimed to the left of my target line. Why? I want to fade the ball out of the bunker because it’s a little easier to control. (Hitting a fade also launches the ball on a higher angle and helps me clear the bunker’s lip. I might lose a little distance, but at least I’ll be out of the kitty litter.)

Finally an important ingredient is to stay tall through your shot. That doesn’t mean stand up, but rather to stay in a more upright posture so you don’t dip down and take too much sand.



A BIG EGO can ruin your golf game. Consider how many drivers a typical golfer hits during a round versus how many a Tour pro hits. Amateurs love to bring out the big stick, even when the fairway is tight or there’s trouble on both sides of it. That’s because we all love to hit it far. Of course, intellectually we all know that playing it safe is the best way to go. Granted it’s not always as much fun as watching a ball fly through the air a great distance, but then again, the goal of golf isn’t to hit big drives, it’s to shoot low scores.

How far you hit your fairway metals and hybrids is also something you need to evaluate. Think about a reachable par-5 that doesn’t have any trouble in front of the green. If you’re 240 yards away and can hit your 3-wood that far, then I say, “Go for it!” It’ll greatly increase the chances of making birdie. Hey, you might even eagle it. However, if it’s guarded by bunkers or water, you’ll need to dial it back a bit, either hitting a long iron or a hybrid to leave you about 70 yards in, what I consider to be the perfect wedge distance.

Remember the goal of golf: Shoot low scores, not overpower the course...or yourself.

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