5 Shots 1 Club

(Sand Wedge, That Is)

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3. The Spin Shot
Ever see Tour pros hit a wedge that stops on a dime? Of course you have. Everybody wants to hit that shot. Now you can.

To get your ball dancing when it hits the green, you need to use the right equipment. Here I’ve pulled my 56° sand wedge from my bag. But that’s not all I need for some Tour-quality action. I also make sure my grooves are extra sharp and the cover of my golf ball is urethane-covered. Anything less, and I won’t be able to pull off this shot.
First you need a good lie on short grass. You’ll also need a lot of speed when you swing through the impact zone. Think: striking a match.

Place your weight slightly toward the target to promote a descending blow. Then, make sure you swing through aggressively, matching your arm swing to your body turn as you do so. I want you to accelerate through impact while controlling your open clubface. This sawed-off motion allows the ball to climb up the clubface for maximum backspin.

As for equipment, make sure your grooves are sharp and you play a soft ball. You can’t pull this off using an old Rock Flite.

4. The Putt Chip
If greenside shots sap your confidence, try my “putt chip.” It’s simple. Just set up as if you’re about to putt, but use your sand wedge.

Start with your weight and hands forward toward the target, and the ball back in your stance underneath your right eye. Use your putting grip and grip down on the club. The ball should be off the club’s toe. Set the club’s toe on the ground, so its heel is up. This helps deaden the shot.

Place the toe
of your sand wedge on the ground, grip
the club as you would your putter and make a putting motion —but strike down on theball!

With both of your elbows bent out slightly, make a putting motion, but strike down into the ball. The ball will come off the club softly and roll just like a putt. Use this motion with different clubs in your bag to produce more or less roll. Warning: This shot works only from within three or four yards off the green.

5. The Flop Shot
Phil Mickelson is the world’s best flop-shot artist, and it has gotten him out of many jams. It’s the perfect shot when you have to carry a hazard and land it on a sliver of green.

First, open your club’s face, so its toe almost touches the ground. Then open your stance and aim your feet, hips and shoulders to the left of your target.

If you have a tight lie, place your weight forward and drive the club into the ground with a full-length swing. If you have a fluffy lie, center your weight to shallow the bottom of your swing arc. (If your weight is forward like the tight lie, the club will slide underneath the ball too much, and you’ll whiff it.) By centering your weight, your angle of approach into the ball will be more level, which means you’ll have much less of a chance of sliding underneath the ball.


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