3 Shots to Save Your Score

Wes­ley Bryan shows you three trou­ble shots that aren’t as risky as they look

Golf Digest Middle East - - Contents -

Hit re­cov­er­ies that look like tricks. BY WES­LEY BRYAN

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

I’m guess­ing you’ve hit a mir­a­cle shot once or twice. Maybe you threaded it through the trees, or nipped a wedge off 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 off tram­po­lines—you get the idea. Mir­a­cle shots are re­ally hard to pull off, 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 ( left ). 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 ( left ). Also, ad­just your aim for the fade and play the ball slightly back of cen­ter 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 yards?

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 to­ward your left 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 soft 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.”

Pho­to­graph by Dom Furore

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