Short Game Prowess

Knock it stiff more often

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Set up to the left of the target, with the face square.

Hold the face square to open, and hinge the wrists.

Swing to the left along your body line through impact.

Finish low and to the left of the intended target.  

One of the most practical short shots when you're perched above the green that's sloping away from you is the cut toss shot. It's a shot with some added backspin to help slow down the ball when it lands on the green. To hit this shot, first weaken your left hand and get your left thumb to rest on the top of the grip. This will prevent you from closing the clubface at impact (we don't want that here).

Second, play the ball a little forward in your stance, and open your feet to the left of the target. You want to actually swipe across the ball while the club is moving forward, and opening your stance makes this easier to do. From here, address the clubface at the target and swing along your feet line. Let the club stay open to your path (but square to the target) as you make the stroke, pinching the ball between the ball and turf. Finish the move with the hands low and to the left.

If you put those pieces together, you'll hit a pop shot that has some slice and backspin on it. Expect the ball to check up nicely and, if anything, trickle a little to the right. Be sure to account for this when you set up, and be ready for a shot that flies a little to the right. It's the perfect shot from above the hole.


The short-sided bunker shot is one of the toughest shots in golf, even for seasoned pros, but with the right know-how, you'll have better luck. First, because you need to get the ball airborne quickly, you need to swing with a wide-open stance and an open clubface. So set up with the face square to the target, only open your stance way to the left. The ball should be 1 to 2 inches forward of center, just ahead of where the wedge bottoms out in the sand (it's a good idea to experiment with the correct ball position for your swing). As you swing, don't swing the wedge toward the target! Swing to the left, hold that face open and splash that sand, meaning take about a 1- to 2-inch-deep divot underneath the golf ball.

Second, I like to think of making a V in the sand, based on how far I am from the target. If I'm close, I make a wide V, where the left line of the V is my feet line and the right line is the target line. As always, you should swing along the feet line! The farther back you go, the more narrow your V becomes.

Try this next time you're in a bunker. By simplifying things in the sand, you'll get a better feel for your natural bunker-shot style and start hitting better sand shots.


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