JIMMY LIKES THE 60

WHY I USED MY LOB WEDGE TO WIN MY FIRST MA­JOR— AND WHY I AL­WAYS DO

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life - jimmy walker has six pga tour wins and last sea­son ranked 22nd in scram­bling from 10 to 20 yards off the green. by jimmy walker

On the fi­nal hole of the PGA Championship at Bal­tus­rol last July, I left my­self in the one place I didn’t want to be: short-sided in deep rough with a bunker be­tween me and the flag. But there was never a ques­tion which club I was go­ing to use from there to set up a two-putt and the big­gest win of my life: my 60-de­gree lob wedge.

I’m un­con­ven­tional in that I use my lob wedge for every short-game shot. I learnt this from my dad, who was a scratch player. Dad’s think­ing was: Why try to get good at chip­ping with four or five dif­fer­ent clubs when it’s eas­ier to mas­ter just one?

My coach, Butch Har­mon, says I’m the only tour player he’s ever taught who uses this ap­proach, but Butch hasn’t tried to change me be­cause I have got good at lean­ing on my 60. His only ad­vice has been to swing through to the tar­get more, in­stead of cut­ting across the ball.

On that last hole at Bal­tus­rol, I hit a flop shot (left). My keys are to stand square, lay the face open, then think hands and speed as I slide the bounce of the wedge un­der the ball, us­ing a wristy ac­tion to let the club­head pass my hands. If I’m not so con­cerned with spin and just want the ball to land soft, I’ll deaden the shot by hit­ting the ball to­wards the toe.

If I want a low run­ner, or a shot where an­other player might use an 8- or 9-iron, I set up aimed a hair right of my tar­get and hit what feels like a baby hook. I move my hands for­ward at ad­dress to shut the club­face, then swing at the ball from the in­side, keep­ing my wrist an­gle set and firm through the shot. For ev­ery­thing in be­tween – the ba­sic chips and pitches – I hardly ma­nip­u­late the club. I’m just pre­sent­ing the wedge’s loft at im­pact by us­ing a sim­ple mo­tion sim­i­lar to a putt.To hit it higher or lower, I ad­just ball po­si­tion or add a hint of wrist through im­pact. I like to be cre­ative on every green­side shot. Mak­ing the process about club choice would prob­a­bly feel too me­chan­i­cal to me. Just give me my 60. – with max adler

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