6 SHOTS YOUR BUD­DIES DON’T KNOW

How to bomb it, curve it, spin it and stop it.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 2/ 15 - By Josh Zan­der

1 THE HIGH DRAW

Track­Man test­ing proves that sweep­ing the ball with a level strike and curv­ing it right to left will help you pick up dis­tance with your driver. 1. Play the ball even with your front foot. 2. Set the club­face at ad­dress so it’s point­ing slightly right of your tar­get. 3. Align your body and feet so they’re point­ing even fur­ther to the right.

‹‹ 4. Swing the club in the di­rec­tion that your body is aimed. EX­PLA­NA­TION: The for­ward ball po­si­tion will help you sweep it off the tee. And the club­face will be closed, even though it’s point­ing to the right of the tar­get, be­cause the path is fur­ther to the right than the face is point­ing. The face is closed to the path. That’s how you hit a draw.

2 THE FAIR­WAY SPLIT­TER

Whether it’s a su­per-tight par 4 or a clutch mo­ment in a match, there are times when you ab­so­lutely have to put the ball in the fair­way off the tee. 1. Use your favourite fair­way wood, and play the ball just for­ward of mid­dle in your stance. 2. Set your body so it’s aligned slightly left of the tar­get. 3. Make a three­quar­ter swing back and through.

‹‹ 4. Lean the shaft to­wards the tar­get at im­pact. EX­PLA­NA­TION: Hit­ting down will help you make solid con­tact and pro­duce a lower, eas­ier-to-con­trol tra­jec­tory. One caveat: This ball po­si­tion is a lit­tle back for a fair­way wood, and that cre­ates an in-to-out swing, mak­ing it tougher to hit a straight shot. Align­ing your­self to the left neu­tralises the path so you can hit a laser down the mid­dle.

KEEP YOUR ARMS FIRM THROUGH IM­PACT TO MAKE THE BALL CHECK UP ON THE GREEN.

3 THE HOOK SHOT

When you’re stuck be­hind a tree or play­ing a dog­leg, know­ing how to hook the ball on com­mand can be a round-saver. 1. Ball po­si­tion de­pends on the de­sired tra­jec­tory. Play it back if you have to stay un­der tree limbs, and up if you need carry. 2. Set the club­face where you want the ball to start. 3. Ad­dress the ball with your body aimed well right of your start­ing line.

›› 4. Swing the club out to the right, and let your arms re­lease past im­pact. EX­PLA­NA­TION: Lin­ing up to the right but keep­ing the club­face look­ing more to­wards the tar­get pre-sets a hook. The more you swing out to the right, the more the shot will turn. There’s no need to ma­nip­u­late the club dur­ing the swing.

4 THE ZIP PITCH

On most short-game shots, low­er­ing the tra­jec­tory and get­ting the ball to stop quickly im­proves ac­cu­racy. Your goal should be to make the ball check up after a cou­ple of bounces. 1. Grab your high­est lofted wedge, and make sure the grooves are clean. 2. Set up with the ball slightly be­hind your ster­num.

‹‹ 3. Keep your arms nice and wide as you go back and swing through. 4. Make your back­swing short enough so you can be ag­gres­sive on the down­swing. Long and slow won’t pro­duce much spin. EX­PLA­NA­TION: Play­ing the ball back low­ers the tra­jec­tory. And spin is cre­ated by the loft on the club­face, a shal­low an­gle of at­tack, and a healthy bit of swing speed. Here’s a tip for bet­ter play­ers: Hit­ting the ball a lit­tle lower on the face than the sweet spot pro­duces more check­ing ac­tion.

5 THE BABY FLOP

When­ever you miss the green near the pin, you’ve got one of the trick­i­est shots in golf. To get it close, you need to hit a pop-up that lands with a thud and stops dead. 1. Be­fore you try this shot, make sure there’s some cush­ion un­der the ball. Take your most lofted wedge, open the face so it’s point­ing sky­ward, then grip the club. 2. Lower the han­dle to add even more loft to the face. 3. Stand a lit­tle wider than nor­mal.

›› 4. Make a skimming swing, try­ing to slide the club­face un­der the ball, and keep the club­head mov­ing well past im­pact. EX­PLA­NA­TION: Widen­ing your stance helps pro­duce a shal­low, low-to-the-ground swing path. And the com­bi­na­tion of a shal­low path and an open club­face will pro­duce the soft­est shot pos­si­ble. Give it some prac­tice time, and never try it from a firm lie.

6 THE SAND SAVER

Get­ting the ball out of the bunker is pri­or­ity No. 1. But mak­ing it stop quickly and set­tle near the hole is what will help you save par. 1. Set up with the ball in line with your ster­num.

‹‹ 2. Make a steep, V-shape swing with a lot of wrist ac­tion back and through. 3. Ac­cel­er­ate the club down and into the sand like you’re strik­ing a match. 4. Make sure the club bot­toms out di­rectly un­der the ball, not be­hind it. EX­PLA­NA­TION: As long as you give it some speed, a steep swing that goes un­der the ball will pro­duce plenty of backspin. The wrist ac­tion helps the ball fly higher and set­tle quickly after land­ing. Your bud­dies are gonna hate this shot.

SWING MODEL

Jeff Kellen

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Josh Zan­der teaches at Stan­ford Univer­sity Golf Course and the Pre­sidio Golf Course in San Francisco.

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