Oomph Shots

Faced with a tough shot? Here's what to do.

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Tiger Recoil Shot
By now, you’ve probably seen footage of Tiger Woods snapping his 4-iron against a tree in the 2007 Masters. If you haven’t, it happened on the 11th hole when he found his ball at the base of a tree. Tiger had three choices: hit it backward or backhanded (two choices that would have probably led to a bogey) or advance it down the fairway. Of course, Tiger chose the latter, but to pull it off, he had to sacrifice his 4-iron.

As cool as it was to see him do that, I don’t recommend trying it (unless you have Tiger-like strength). After all, it’s expensive to break a club and easy to injure your hand.

oomph To pull off a similar shot (without breaking your club or hurting yourself), you need to have a stable base—in particular, your legs and core muscles. Once you have that, make some half swings and try to feel your hands slap or explode into the back of the ball. After you make contact, feel your forearm and core muscles slow down the club’s acceleration so it recoils backward.

Over-The-Tree Shot

Oomph! Why punch out when you can hit over that tree and save par? 
To get the golf ball airborne quickly, finish your swing like Jack Nicklaus used to, in a “reverse C.”
Your ball has come to rest behind a big tree. To make matters worse, you still have a long way to the green. Punching out is too safe for the strong hitter and probably will lead to an extra stroke or two. It’s time to think high so your ball will “kiss the sky.”

As you address the ball, look high in the sky. This effectively will drop your right shoulder (top, left photo) and put a little more weight on your back foot. Also, make sure to slide the ball forward in your stance.

From here, you need three things: speed, speed and more speed. Then, make a big swing and finish in an “old-school” Jack Nicklaus position (far right photo). This creates a more upward hit through the ball and, hence, an even higher launch.

My final “sneaky” tip is to try to hit some shots with the pinkie of your left hand off the club (photo at right). This slight lack of control will help the clubhead zip past the hands at impact for an even higher launch. It’s a little tough and requires some practice, but, man, does it work! One final note: Make sure there’s a little cushion beneath your ball or this shot will be a disaster!


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