The Local Knowlege

Instruction

Mid-week Lesson: Beyond the splash, part 2

By Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest
Twitter @RogerSchiffman

Contrary to popular belief, Bill Haas did not invent the splash shot from a water hazard. As we documented on Monday, Seve Ballesteros demonstrated how he used to do it, and now we'll show you how Jerry Pate wrote about it for Golf Digest back in 1982! Pate put on an exhibition in his backyard practice area right on a Gulf of Mexico bayou in Pensacola, Fla., for then Associate Editor Jerry Tarde (now Chairman and Editorial Director) and Staff Photographer Stephen Szurlej. Here's hoping you can benefit from Pate's advice, in case you find yourself in such a do-or-die predicament.

Here's what Jerry Pate said: I used to think I could play a shot out of water only if the ball were partially submerged or just below the surface, but after practicing this shot, I know I can play it successfully from as much as six inches under water. I figure it could mean the difference between winning and losing a tournament sometime. Unless I'm in a critical situation, I won't play this shot if the ball is more than two ball-widths submerged. I don't

instruction_blog_pate.jpg

recommend that you take off your shoes, but in this case I did because I could see the water's 
bottom. Never step barefoot into muddy water. The firmer the bottom, the easier the ball will come out.

I decide how I'm going to play the shot before I step into the water. I hit it like an explosion out of sand: set the clubface square to slightly open, holding it above the hazard at address (letting it touch the water is a two-stroke penalty). I pick the club up sharply on the backswing and strike forcefully downward about two inches behind the ball. This particular shot here carried about 30 yards and landed softly on my practice green.

(Photos by Stephen Szurlej)
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