setup + stroke

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Must Play Courses -

9-iron and 8-iron to see how far the ball car­ries and rolls us­ing a stroke of the same length and speed.You can ex­per­i­ment with other clubs, too, but I’ve found stick­ing to these three brings about the most con­sis­tency.

Start by aim­ing the club­face at the small tar­get where you want the ball to land. Re­mem­ber, you have to read the green like a putt.That means if there is a slope, you might be play­ing the shot away from the cup. Now hold the club with medium grip pres­sure with its heel just off the ground (small photo, be­low).That’s re­ally im­por­tant to en­sur­ing the club glides along the turf in­stead of dig­ging into it.

You’ll no­tice the shaft is nearly ver­ti­cal, with the han­dle lean­ing slightly to­wards the tar­get and your weight favour­ing the left foot.Your arms should be re­laxed, slightly bent and aligned par­al­lel to the tar­get. Ball po­si­tion nor­mally is just right of cen­tre in your stance, al­though you can al­ter it slightly as you ex­per­i­ment with how that changes the amount of carry and roll.

The stroke is as sim­ple as it gets. It’s like a putting mo­tion – the shoul­ders and arms do most of the work, and there’s no wristy move­ments. Fo­cus on swing­ing the club with the same rhythm and force.The han­dle of the club should be swung no fur­ther than the dis­tance be­tween your thighs. It’s a short swing equal in length on the backswing and fol­low-through.

The stroke should be ag­gres­sive or slightly ac­cel­er­ated, and al­ways hold your fin­ish to en­sure a steady pace. If you’re strug­gling with that, say any two-word phrase with the first word com­ing on the backswing and the sec­ond word on the fol­low-through. A sug­ges­tion? Tick-Tock. Even bet­ter? Great-Chip or Hole-Out. I think you get the idea.

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