A tee-to-green guide to great score-saving plays
10. Create Spin On Approach
To spin approach shots, you must focus on allowing the club to impact the ball before it makes contact with the ground. In order to practice this descending blow with the proper impact alignments, place a head cover about two feet behind your ball and a penny two inches in front of your ball. During the downswing, miss the head cover but hit the penny after the ball, and you’ll find that you’re compressing the ball against the ground through impact. Practice this drill diligently and your ballstriking, and the amount of spin you create, will improve substantially.
11. How To Negotiate Tough Lies
For a tough lie, like a sand-filled divot in the fairway, or in some thick rough, position the ball back in your stance and make a more vertical backswing and steeper downswing. This will allow you to make contact with the ball cleanly and produce a shot that gets airborne more quickly and easily. This will also produce better carry distance.
12. How To Play 3/4 Shots
While the three-quarter shot is one of the most misunderstood shots in golf, it’s actually quite easy to execute. If you’re between clubs, all you have to do is choke down and make your normal swing with more club. Let the shorter swing arc dictate distance. A mistake golfers tend to make when playing this shot is attempting to hit their normal club softly, which often results in deceleration and fat or chunked shots.
13. How To Hit An Explosion Shot
Play it like a normal bunker shot, with the ball in the middle of your stance and your weight and hands leaning slightly forward.
14. How To Hit A Bunker Shot High Or Low
To play the high bunker shot, select your lob wedge or highest lofted sand wedge and open the clubface at address. Position the ball forward in your stance, opposite your left armpit, and place 65 percent of your weight on your rear foot. Pick up the club quickly on the backswing, and be sure to hold the clubface open on the way through. This will cause the angle of attack to be fairly steep (resembling a V), and the ball will rise quickly and stop softly. To play a low runner, position the ball back in your stance with 65 percent of your weight on your front foot. Through impact, allow the club to release fully, with the toe of the club passing the heel. This will cause the ball to have some hook spin when it hits the green, running slightly to the left.
15. How To Hit A Flop Shot
For a successful flop, you’ll need a lob wedge and a good fluffy lie (never try a flop from a downhill lie). Place the ball up in your stance with an open clubface at address, and set your wrists quickly in the backswing. Remember to keep your pivot moving all the way through the shot, which will pull the clubshaft left of the target line. This rotational motion will cause the hands to hold on to the club slightly, preventing the clubhead from sliding under the ball too quickly. You don’t have to make a huge swing when executing a flop shot, but it’s critical to keep accelerating all the way through impact. Altering your overall tempo also can change the softness or speed of the ball leaving the blade, so be certain to experiment before trying this shot on the course.
16. How To Putt With A Hybrid
To properly use your hybrid club around the green, set up to the ball as you would with your putter, with the hands choked down slightly on the grip for more control. Make your normal stroke and allow the sole of the club to sweep along the ground as a broom would, with no hand or wrist action. This type of move will cause the ball to stay along the ground and roll like a putt, but with increased overspin. This is a great shot when you have a super-tight lie.
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