Ain’t Bad, Just Is

Catch a bad break? Don’t let it get you down. Escape!

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CASE #1: Your ball comes to rest on the wrong side of a tree/bush.

I can’t go at this shot right-handed because the cactus impedes my stance. But I can get the ball back in play by playing a left-handed shot. Here’s how to do it:

First, take one of your lofted clubs and flip it over so you expose the toe of the club as your contact area. Take a left-handed grip and lean the shaft forward. This gets the clubface aimed squarely.

Next, make a few practice swings to get a feel for the swing and your club control. (When you do this, it’s vital to make sure you consistently hit the ground.)

Then, simply try to stay in balance, make a controlled swing and commit to swinging down into the impact zone. In this situation, I advanced the ball about 40 yards back into the fairway.

CASE #2: You stripe your ball down the middle, but your ball ends up in a divot.

To play this shot, make sure you catch the ball first, then the dirt.

To do this, set up with your weight leaning toward the target, much as you would for a punch or chip shot. As you take the club back, try to keep it going back on plane or even slightly outside. (If your club shaft is slightly “steep,” you may hit down too much, and the club will bottom out in front of the ball.)

As you swing into and through impact, it’s imperative that you keep your body and club moving forward. You should hit the ball first, then the ground in front of the ball. Because of the adjustments you’ve made, it’ll come out with a little lower-than-normal ballflight.

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