Become A Shotmaking Artist

From tee to green, all the plays every golfer needs

I call this the one-lever flop because it requires a one-lever swing. That means there’s little or no hinge in the wrists as you swing back. Instead, use the arms to swing the club back along the line of your shoulders. On the forwardswing, let the clubhead work down into the grass as you slide the club underneath the ball.

The key to this shot is the “hit-and-resist” finish. Hold the one-lever position through the impact area to keep from releasing the club and closing the clubface.

The Basic Flop
While the one-lever flop is a great weapon to have, there are times when it just doesn’t fit the situation. You need a bigger swing that will require more wrist hinge when you’re in heavy rough, have an obstacle to carry (like a large bunker or swale) or need to create more spin.

The setup is the same for the basic flop as for the one-lever shot. To carry the ball farther with more spin, the swing needs to be a little longer and faster. Hinge your wrists early as you take the club away, swinging along the line of your shoulders. At the top of the swing, the clubshaft should be nearly vertical, with the butt end of the club pointing to the ground.

Just as with the one-lever flop, it’s important to hold the clubface open as you swing through the hitting area in the same hit-and-resist fashion to prevent the clubface from closing. Control the distance of this shot with the length of your followthrough.

Stop And GoRecovery Mission
Taking an unplayable lie doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion when you hit a shot that lands in a tough spot. All you need is a couple of shots that can spark your imagination and means for recovery. Here are two shots to use in these tough situations, one that’s perfect when your backswing is restricted and the other for when your forwardswing is restricted. The circumstances under which they can be used are only limited by your imagination.

Stop & Go
If you’re like most players, you’ve always tried to handle restricted backswing shots by taking multiple practice swings, gradually reworking your swing until you don’t hit the branch or stake. The problem is that when you try to hit the ball, you almost always revert to your standard swing and catch the object anyway. The stop-and-go shot eliminates this problem by taking any potential surprises out of the swing.

Adopt a standard setup with a slight choke on the grip. Move the ball about an inch back in your stance to ensure solid contact. Swing back to your stopping point and hold your position. That’s it—stop! Now, initiate the forwardswing with the hands, arms and upper body rotating down and through the ball together. The timing for this shot will require some practice, but don’t be afraid to try it.

The “explosion” is the go-to shot when your followthrough is restricted. You need the explosion shot to extract your ball from a buried lie in the lip of a bunker or from really tall grass.

The explosion shot requires a sharp, descending blow, which minimizes as much material between the clubface and ball as possible. Start by gripping down on the club two inches and play the ball just right of center, with your hands set slightly ahead of the ball. The key to creating a steep, descending angle is to set up with 80 percent of your weight on your left side and leave it there throughout the swing.

Make a full backswing using your hands and arms to lift the club up sharply during the takeaway. Swing down, leading with your hands. Because your forwardswing is restricted, your followthrough will be low, with your hands ahead of the clubhead. The key to this shot is a relaxed, easy tempo on the forwardswing, letting your arms drop and creating gradual acceleration. Don’t make the mistake of using too much force,  which makes distance control very difficult.

To learn more about these and other great stroke-saving shots, check out The Scrambler’s Dozen: 12 Shots Every Golfer Needs To Score Like The Pros, by Mike McGetrick with Tom Ferrell, published by Harper-Collins. Senior Instruction Editor and 1999 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike McGetrick owns and operates the McGetrick Golf Academy, located outside Denver, Colo. LPGA Class A member and author Lana Ortega is a lead instructor at the academy (



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