The Leading Edge
Here’s how to land the ball soft by adding loft
Your new go-to touch shot to land it soft with spin.
When most golfers leave themselves short-sided, meaning off the green but close to the hole, they feel like they have to hit a perfect shot that lands soft and stops dead. All too often, they decelerate into impact and dump it short. Then comes the classic line: “I got too cute with it.”
Let’s get away from cute and go for reliable instead. When you have to soften a greenside shot, start by taking your most lofted wedge. This seems obvious, but you’d be amazed how often I see golfers grab their favourite club, say, a pitching wedge, no matter where they are. You need loft here, so go with a 58or 60- degree. Then open the face 10 to 20 degrees before you take your grip.
Next, stand a little farther from the ball at address. This promotes a more rounded, shallower swing arc that will help you release the clubhead past your hands, which really adds loft to the shot. This stance might feel a little strange at first, but your body will adjust to the different orientation to the ball—and the loft benefit is huge.
Finally, as you swing through, keep the butt end of the club close to your body ( right). This will help you accelerate the clubhead. The feeling is that the handle stays close to you, but the clubhead goes whizzing by. Pushing the handle toward the target, which a lot of golfers do when they feel uncomfortable on a shot, reduces loft and makes the club dig.
You want the clubhead to glide through the grass, and that comes from using an open face and a more rounded swing. You’re gonna love this little touch shot.
“Make the clubhead go whizzing past your hands.”
michael breed operates his academy at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in New York City.