Monday, May 1, 2006
Every round requires at least one money-shot situation to win a few skins or to stay competitive when the chips are downIt doesnt matter how great or poor youre playing, any given round requires at least one spectacular shot to win a skin, save a much-needed stroke or, in some cases, avert a disaster. We like to call these money shots, as opposed to miracle shots, because we believe that with practice, these types of shots will be your go-to plays when the game is on the line. Better yet, learning a few money shots will not only help you lower scores, but your overall game is likely to improve, thanks to a newfound confidence in knowing you can face anything that comes your way.
1. Stinger 3-Wood
Hitting the 3-wood stinger requires a different approach to weight shift because, basically, there isnt much of one. This swing is all about the turn! Set up, just as you would with a normally played 3-wood. Flex at the knees, stay centered and position your hands over the golf ball. With a light grip, choke down on the shaft one inch. As you take the club up to the top, try to limit the shift of weight to your rear foot as much as possible. This will encourage a de-lofted stroke through the ball and a lower, more penetrating ballflight.
When hitting a 3-wood stinger, notice how low my hands are immediately postimpact. This is because my weight never made it over to my back foot and Im ahead of the ball. Many golfers think the stinger requires a three-quarter swing. Thats incorrect! To hit this money shot, one must turn harder to make up for less weight shift.
2. Agressive Putting
To make putts, sometimes you have to be aggressive. But its just as important to remember that its better to play it safe and avoid disaster.
Put it this way: When below the hole, you should always be aggressive. The adage Never up, never in! always applies, so make sure you get the ball to the hole if you want any chance of making it. Putting from downhill positions is a bit trickier. Some putts call for a more aggressive stroke, while others demand a delicate touch to avoid a lengthy comebacker for par. To learn how to be aggressive, you have to become an expert green reader. First, evaluate how much slope there is behind the hole. If the green slopes away, heed your speed and play it safe. If theres an uphill slope or the green flattens out, consider a run at the hole.
Secondly, you have to become proficient at reading grains. Take a look at the grass and note which way the grain is going. If it turns out that your downhill putt is with the grain, then know its going to be extra-slippery. If youre putting into the grain (the grain is facing away from the hole), this is your green light to make a more aggressive stroke. If the green is going either left or right of you, note that the putt will break more in the direction of the grain.
The best putting stance is the one that matches your stroke. If you swing open to closed, standing more upright will help. If you have a more squared stroke, address the ball in a lower position, but allow the arms to hang freely. Always assess the slope before you putt and dont forget to look at the grain.
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