“A tight-lie flop re­quires com­mit­ment, swing speed – and stones.”

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

I’m guess­ing you’ve hit a mir­a­cle shot once or twice. Maybe you threaded it through the trees, or nipped a wedge o a cart­path. Be­fore I joined the PGA Tour, I had a lot of fun mak­ing trick-shot videos with my brother, Ge­orge. I’d hit golf balls in midair with a driver, skip them across ponds to a tar­get on the other side, bank them o tram­po­lines – you get the idea. Mir­a­cle shots are re­ally hard to pull o , but when you’re play­ing for a score, you need to im­prove your odds. I’ll show you three stroke-saving trick shots that will look mirac­u­lous to your play­ing part­ners and op­po­nents, but if you fol­low my ad­vice, you’ll feel com­fort­able hit­ting any­time. – WES­LEY BRYAN,WIN­NER OF THE 2017 RBC HER­ITAGE AT HAR­BOUR TOWN

THE TIGHT FLOP

When there’s no choice but to hit one high from a very tight lie, even a tour player like me sweats a lit­tle. This shot can lead to thoughts of blad­ing it over the green and into the sub­di­vi­sion be­hind it. But by keep­ing in mind a cou­ple of sim­ple fac­tors, you can dra­mat­i­cally in­crease your chance of suc­cess.

When you blade a pitch, most of the time it’s because you changed the dis­tance between your body and the ball dur­ing the down­swing. To pre­vent that from hap­pen­ing, keep your lower body very quiet and use an up­right, arm-dom­i­nated swing. Open the face slightly at ad­dress, and then let the club­head re­lease through im­pact with some speed (le). You want to feel the sole of the club, not the lead­ing edge, slid­ing along the turf.

THE EMER­GENCY HY­BRID

Hy­brids are awe­some for mak­ing longer shots eas­ier to hit than if you used a 3-iron or 4-iron. But you can run into prob­lems us­ing a hy­brid when the ball is sit­ting down in the rough. Un­like irons, the big­ger head and wider sole can get caught up in the grass, and the ball goes nowhere.

The way I use a hy­brid from deep grass is to set up and play for a fade. To copy me, open your stance and the hy­brid’s club­face (le). Also, ad­just your aim for the fade and play the ball slightly back of cen­tre in your stance to en­cour­age a steeper down­swing. You’re trying to make con­tact with as lit­tle grass as pos­si­ble be­fore your club strikes the ball.

Keep in mind that it’s nat­u­ral to think you’ll need more help than these ad­just­ments to get the ball to the green. But re­sist the urge to over­swing or try to help the ball in the air with a wristy, back-foot swipe.

Depend­ing on the depth of the rough, you can hit it close to nor­mal fair­way dis­tance. You’ll launch a flier that rolls and rolls.

THE RES­CUE PITCH

You have a pitch shot that doesn’t need to travel very far, but the ball is way down in the grass. This shot can re­ally lock up a week­end player. How do you swing with enough speed to get the ball out of the rough, but send it only 20 to 30 me­tres?

Here’s how: Set up like you would for a nor­mal pitch shot, but open the face of your wedge as if you were about to play a bunker shot from the same dis­tance. And just like a sand shot, you’re go­ing to want to blast the club through the grass, keep­ing the club­face point­ing sky­ward through­out. Feel like your hands are swing­ing around your body and mov­ing towards your le pocket through im­pact (above).

The speed cre­ated by mak­ing a bunker-type swing will help the club eas­ily cut through the high grass, and you’ll hit a shot where the ball pops up and comes down so with­out much spin. When it lands and stops by the flag, your friends will say you couldn’t do that again if you hit a bucket of balls. You’ll just smirk and say, “Yup, it’s a mir­a­cle.”

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