Three soft shots

Published 17/11/2010 07:04:00

Everyone likes to hit the ball hard and see a booming shot go down the fairway. Sooner or later, however, you'll face a shot that shouldn't be muscled; in fact, using force would be detrimental. It's about time you learned some "soft shots," not short game, but finesse play that will make you a more complete golfer.


The Low, Controlled Driver

Most tight par fours require the 3-wood or less for control. But into the wind the shot needs to be low as well. Take your driver and choke down about an inch. Tee the ball at normal height, play it off your left heel and make a slow three-quarter backswing, keeping your left heel flat on the ground. On the downswing, allow your hips and legs to turn fully through the shot, but don't release your hands. Concentrate instead on holding onto the club as the lower body pulls the arms through impact. The result will be a safe, low shot with a left-to-right trajectory that flies under the wind and lands with roll.


The Sand Wedge Lob

When your ball comes to rest in deep greenside rough and you have little green to work with, put away the pitching wedge and lob it out with the sand wedge.


Address the ball with a slightly open stance and open clubface, the way you would an explosion shot from a bunker. Make a long, slow backswing, breaking the wrists early. Swing down slowly, as though you're pitching a horseshoe, keeping the motion steady -- don't decelerate. Slide the clubface in about an inch behind the ball, making an effort to follow through. It will pop out high, with little spin, and land softly.


The 100-Yard 5-Iron

Although everyone enjoys hitting high short irons, it's time you traded in this shot for a low-flyer that will help you score well when an errant tee shot leaves you under a tree or you want to keep out of the wind or firm greens make running the ball to the pin a better option. That's where it's handy to know how to play the 100-yard 5-iron.


Choke down just short of the metal. Pick the club up sharply with the right hand on the backswing and strike the ball with a steep downswing path and limited follow-through. If you want the ball to land "hot" and roll a long way, hood the blade; for a shot that takes a couple of skips and stops, open the blade.


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