Master The Short Game

Get Up and Down From Everywhere

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Gene Sarazen is credited with inventing the sand wedge in 1935. He flattened the “spoon” golf club’s face and added a leading edge to help it slice through the sand.

8. Finish Your Swing.
Most players worry too much about getting the ball out of the bunker. Focusing on this makes them finish “at” the ball. As a result, the club gets stuck in the sand, and the ball stays in the bunker. If you concentrate on finishing your swing, however, it’ll help you get your ball out of the bunker. Have a clear image of your target and accelerate through the ball and finish your swing. You won’t leave another ball in the beach.

9. Set Your Hands Ahead Of The Club.
At impact, the hands must be even with or ahead of the ball with every shot. A simple way to ensure this happens when you chip is to follow this easy two-step drill:

First, place the clubhead in front of the ball, then cock your wrists back without moving your arms. That sets the clubhead behind the ball, but keeps your hands ahead. When you swing, use your shoulders to control the club. Simply turn them so your arms and hands stay connected with your body and the clubhead returns to its same position at address.

10. Fluffy Lie.
When your ball is sitting up in the grass, the goal is to “pick” it off the top. Although you can use any club you want, I suggest you hit either an 8- or 9-iron. (Hitting a sand or pitching wedge increases the chances that the club’s toe will rotate in. Ultimately which club you use depends on how long your shot is.)

Hold the club as you would a putter because a regular grip tends to dig the toe in the ground, and a putter grip will produce a softer shot. Point the club’s butt end at your belt buckle and stand about the same distance away as you would a putt. Keep your shoulders level and make a putting stroke using your larger muscles. It’s really that simple.

11. Down Lie.
When grass gets between your ball and the clubhead, it slows down your clubhead and produces a shot with little, if any, spin. This not only makes it harder to finish your swing, but also makes the ball fly farther than usual (and harder to control).

To combat these so-called “flier lies,” make a steeper swing so you leave the club on the ground to make it pop out. To do this, hinge your wrists steeply in the backswing and come back down steeply. Turn your shoulders slightly, and simply return the club to the ground.


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