Never clank one off a branch again

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - By Tom Watson

Never clank one off a branch again.

We’ve all been there: o the fair­way, want­ing to get the ball back in play. Prob­lem is, there’s a tree di­rectly be­tween you and your great es­cape.The tree is too tall to go over and too thick to curve a shot around it.You’re only op­tion is to hit a low run­ner un­der the branches. How do you do it?

Take a lower-lofted club and make an eas­ier, less-thanfull swing.This is guar­an­teed to lower the tra­jec­tory of the ball – that’s the easy part.The tricky part is know­ing what club is go­ing to keep the ball un­der the branches, but get it air­borne enough to reach safety in the short grass.The only way to truly know that is prac­tice. You’re go­ing to have to work on this shot, and if you can, do it from the rough as well as cleaner lies. Keep in mind that rough nor­mally low­ers the tra­jec­tory of the ball be­cause it re­duces back­spin. I sug­gest prac­tis­ing this shot with your long and mid­dle irons and your hy­brids. Hit a few balls with each club to a 100-me­tre tar­get. Im­print in your mind how far the ball car­ried and how high it ew with each club to get it to stop near the 100-me­tre tar­get.Then go through the same ex­er­cise with 75- and 125-me­tre targets. You’ll soon build feel for what club and what swing is the smartest choice for the tra­jec­tory of the re­cov­ery shot you’re fac­ing. –

An al­ter­na­tive triedand-true swing tech­nique I use to keep the ball down is to lower my le shoul­der at ad­dress, and play the ball fur­ther back in my stance. Again, ex­per­i­ment with ball po­si­tion to see how it changes the tra­jec­tory, but when you need to hit it low, this works.

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