Why’d I Do That?

You need to loft one, but you catch it in the teeth

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Play Your Best -

aced with a short pitch over a bunker, your plan is to throw the ball up in the air and stop it fast. In­stead, the lead­ing edge of your wedge slams into the mid­dle of the ball and sends it over the green. We call that “hit­ting it in the teeth.”

Many peo­ple think the cause of this sick­en­ing shot is fall­ing onto the back foot dur­ing the down­swing in an at­tempt to lift the ball over the bunker. That’s part of it, but the real cul­prit is the break­down, or cup­ping, of the left wrist through im­pact.

To hit it high, you want your left arm and the shaft in a line at im­pact,

Fpoint­ing straight down to the ball. Your wedge has lots of loft, so you don’t have to try to add more by scoop­ing, which causes the left wrist to cup and the club to swing up at the ball.

This prob­lem of­ten can be traced to a short back­swing, re­sult­ing from ten­sion. Feel your wrists stay pas­sive go­ing back and move your lead arm and the shaft to­gether to the ball.

An­other cause of the left wrist break­ing down is a lazy through­swing. You want more speed com­ing through – think crisp – for soft pitches that stop fast. Your ball will thank you. In the 2009 Masters, Kenny Perry ( above) stuffed one to inches on 16 to lead by two with two to go. But on 17 he thinned a pitch clear across the green. A bo­gey there and an­other on 18 put him in a play­off with Chad Camp­bell and An­gel Cabr­era, who went on to win. “I can’t stop my right hand when I get ner­vous,” Perry said. “It wants to shoot a lit­tle bit, and I can’t calm it down.” Rick Smith

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