From 150 Yards Out
Knock it stiff on your approach shots—no matter what the lie
Here’s the good news: You’ve just hit your drive to within 150 yards of the green. If you’re like most golfers, that means all you have left is a 7- or 8-iron (that is, if you have a perfect lie, of course).
But this is golf, and bad breaks happen. Just because you’re 150 yards out doesn’t mean that you have one of those easy, unobstructed shots you practice at the driving range. You might be in a divot, in the bunker or behind a tree. Don’t worry—over the next four pages, I’ve taken a look at a number of different shots and situations in which you may find yourself. Hopefully, after you read it, you’ll be able to find the green as a result!
1. FAIRWAY BUNKER
To escape fairway bunkers, you must make good ball-first contact. Rather than hitting the sand first, like a greenside bunker shot, you want to hit the ball first as if the ball was in the fairway. If you take some sand after the ball, like a normal divot, that’s fine. When you hit the sand first, the club slows down tremendously and will result in a shot that comes up well short of the green.
To make good ball-first club contact, you must adjust your setup accordingly. First, place the ball slightly back in your stance. When the ball is back, the club will hit the ball first before bottoming out and hitting the sand. The other setup key is to grip down slightly on the club about half an inch. Doing this makes the club slightly shorter and more difficult to hit the sand too soon during the swing. As a result, take one extra club (if you’d usually hit an 8-iron, try a 7) so you can make a controlled swing.
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