Greenside Greatness

Get up and down when you’re just off the green

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3. THE TEXAS WEDGE

During this year's Open Championship, Darren Clarke played many shots with a "Texas wedge." What's that? Well, it's a fancy way of saying a putter hit from off the green. But there isn't anything fancy to hitting this shot. All you have to do is make a few minor adjustments from your regular putting setup.


The first and most important ingredient is to stand taller at address (and throughout the shot). This allows you to make a fuller swing, which you'll need to help the ball scoot through the longer grass. (Notice how much longer my Texas wedge stroke is in the photos than my regular putting stroke.) The biggest key to pulling off this shot successfully is to know how much harder you have to hit it. There isn't a specific formula for this, but rather a guesstimate of how much the fairway will slow down your ball. (I don't suggest hitting this shot from the rough.) As a general rule, I add an extra three feet for every foot of fairway my ball has to cover. So, if I'm 10 feet off the green, I imagine that I have a 30-foot putt. Of course, slope will impact exactly how much harder you have to hit it.


A double overlap grill will deaden your grip action.
4. THE FLOP SHOT

To hit a flop shot, simply place about 60% of your weight on your forward foot and use a special double overlap grip (see description at right) to deaden any wrist hinge or extra hand action from your swing. This will help eliminate any extra hand action or "hit" to the shot, so the club can slide underneath the ball and you can utilize its full loft. Definitely try this a few times on the practice green before you put it in play, but by simply adjusting your grip style, you'll execute the shot without much effort at all.

The double overlap grip: Your dominant hand's pinkie and ring fingers should overlap your weaker hand's index and middle fingers. Don't interlock your fingers; just overlap them so about half of your dominant hand covers your weaker one.


5. FROM HEAVY GREENSIDE ROUGH

When you find your ball in thick greenside rough, you want to approach the shot as you would a greenside bunker shot.

All too often, I see players attempting to hit it like a typical greenside chip: weight toward the target, forward shaft lean and ball back in his or her stance. While this might work for perfect lies, it leads to stubbed chips where the club knifes into the ground and gets stuck, like in the picture at left. Instead, open your clubface and keep your hands even with the ball. This will help return your club to the ball so you use its loft and bounce to cut through the grass, but it doesn't stick in the turf. Don't be afraid to take a swipe at it, too. Just as with a bunker shot, you'll need a little extra muscle, especially if the grass is thick.





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