Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Get up and down when you’re just off the green
Labels: Pitching, Instruction, Quick Tips, Scoring, Wedge Play, Short Game, Wedges, Irons, Chipping, Sand Shots, Drills, Shotmaking
This Article Features Photo Zoom
1. 40-YARD BUNKER SHOT
As you can see here, I've got a 40-yard bunker shot, which is arguably one of the game's hardest tests. I'll show you two ways to play it, depending on the kind of sand that you find in the bunker.
The first is when the sand is pretty firm. Take your most lofted wedge (in this case, I've chosen my 60° lob wedge) and pick it clean, taking sand only after you hit the ball. To help pick it clean, I've moved the ball about an inch back in my stance and am placing a little more weight on my left side. This helps create a downward blow and ensures that the club bottoms out a little bit earlier than usual so I'm sure to catch the ball first. I stand tall at address and remain so through the shot.
When the sand is soft and fluffy, I use a 9-iron and play it like a standard greenside bunker shot. Place the ball a little ahead of your normal position and make a swing that catches some sand before the ball. A nice normal-length swing should do the trick.
Like all shots that you aren't faced with very often, it's vital to practice both of these options as much as possible. After you master them, you won't feel as anxious when your ball lands in the kitty litter.
2. HYBRID CHIP
The hybrid chip is a shot that should be played when you're far enough off the green that you need to hit a shot with a little extra "oomph." If you're pretty close to the green, I suggest a standard chip shot with either a 7- or 8-iron.
Notice how, in these photos, I'm not only about 15 feet off the green, but also below the hole? This is the perfect scenario in which to use a hybrid club, as I need to bump the shot up the hill and over quite a bit of sticky kikuyu grass.
To hit this shot, I alter my setup so I stand closer to the ball. (Notice the difference between a normal hybrid shot and the "putting stance" in the photos at far right.) Notice also how I choke down on the club? This creates a steeper swing that's easier to control, much like a putter. I narrow my stance and play the ball slightly back toward my right foot so I make a descending blow into it. This will help pop it up onto the green.
Caution: Using a hybrid to chip can yield some pretty "hot" shots. Practice this frequently so you know exactly how hard the ball moves.
Look, Then Chip
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