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 down
3. Southpaw Swing
If you really want to impress your foursome, practice this shot for an amazing recovery.
It happens—a tree, bush or frankly any kind of obstacle blocking you from addressing the ball. In this case, my ball is up against a tree. When faced with this predicament, before you take an unplayable lie penalty and get relief, first consider if you can at least move the ball forward or into the fairway for a shorter approach than you would have with a penalty drop. Take your pitching wedge, and set up as you would a left-handed shot, only invert the clubhead so the toe is pointed down.
To hit this shot, make an abbreviated swing and expect the ball to sharply roll to your right, hopefully back toward the fairway. If that shot sounds too daunting, try the backhanded chip. Turn facing away from the target and with your right hand, swat at the club in a straight up and down manner. Even if the ball moves just a few yards, youre at least one club length closer than you would have been had you taken a penalty drop.
Keep the head steady and know that the key is to move the ball back into the fairway, not to hit the green.
4. Divot Blast
Hitting from a divot isnt as hard as you think. Its all in the know-how. Instead, factor this scenario as you would a simple knockdown shot. Position the ball in the rear portion of your stance and take a stronger grip than usual. Be sure the clubface is square, since its likely to try and open at impact. The important factor in this shot is to keep your hands ahead of the ball well into the impact position to ensure a crisp, downward blow through impact.
Also, concentrate on the back side of the golf ball. This will prevent your body from rushing too far forward and hitting it too fat or thin. Since youre essentially hitting a knockdown shot, the swing will be abbreviated, so dont forget to add at least one more club than usual. Remember, dont force the shot, but do expect a low trajectory with some roll.
Always grip the club before you set up to the ball, not after. This will keep things consistent.
5. Severe Downhill Greenside Chip
No doubt a tough shot, the downhill chip requires a good read of the green. When facing a downhill greenside chip, its critical you pay attention to how the green breaks. Reason being, from a downhill position, the ball is going to roll more than normal, thus youre going to need to factor break and speed to have any chance of getting the ball near the hole. Begin with choosing the most lofted club in your bag and address the ball with an open stance. Try and adjust your weight to the slope of the hill, meaning align your club as perpendicular to the ground as possible. This will force most of your weight forward, which is where it should be.
Play the ball in the back of your stance, hands forward and clubface aiming at the desired spot on the green or fringe where you want the ball to begin rolling. As you begin your backswing, swing along the ground and keep your hands low, well into the finish. Dont try to scoop it!
Keeping the hands low and clubface open is key, as is choosing a club with a lot of loft. Also, on tight pins, dont hesitate to land the ball in the fringe since the ball will have some roll to it. Also, hold the clubface open as long as possible.
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