Play Like A Pro

11 Tips To Help You Play Your Best

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Escape The Fairway Bunker
Notice how still my lower body is through the sequence of photos? When you’re faced with a shot from the fairway bunker, you’ve got to keep your lower body as quiet as possible. Too much movement equals disaster.

A good way to think about hitting a shot from here is to imagine yourself inside a barrel. Don’t let your right side bump into the barrel during your backswing and don’t let your left side touch it on your followthrough. Keep it solid and planted, and keep your movements to a minimum. Then pick the ball clean, making a divot after you hit it.

Measure Twice, Cut Once
In construction, the saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” That is, before you cut a piece of wood, make sure it’s the right length. The same goes for golf. Take this series of photos of Padraig Harrington and his caddie, Ronan Flood. As a team, they assess the lie they have, determine the distance and then select a club based on these factors. Note how in the last photo, Harrington is locked in on the target? After he has assessed all the elements, he hones in on one thing before pulling the trigger: the target.


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Control Your Pitch Shot Trajectory
To control how high their pitch shots fly (and hence, how far the ball rolls after it hits the green), I tell my students to alter how much their shafts lean at address. Hey, that’s what most Tour pros do, too.

Here’s how to do it: First, select a 56° sand wedge. For a high toss, lean the shaft slightly back; for a low toss, move it slightly forward; and for a standard toss, keep the shaft at 6:00 (if the ball is at 12:00).

As a rule, the shaft should always point to the center of your body. This requires you to shift left for the low toss and right for the high toss. Your ball position is dictated by how you “stand to the handle,” as it were. (The more you lean to the left, the farther back in your stance it’ll be. The more you lean to the right, the farther ahead the ball will be.)

Keep your lower body passive during the backswing, and assemble your hands with a predominate arm swing. Return the shaft position to the identical spot you started with at setup. “Thud” the ground and really go at it with your lower body. The result should be three different trajectories that produce three different “rollouts.”

This is a great shot to play when you’re about 20 yards away from your desired landing spot on the green.


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