THE PITCH OFF A TIGHT LIE OVER A BUNKER
By Joseph Parent, Ph.D.
Scary shot? Phil Mickelson, arguably the best in the world at this shot, dumped one into a bunker on the fourth hole on Sunday at the 2012 Masters on his way to a triple bogey.
Here's what you need to do to overcome the fear of chunking or skulling this trickiest of pitch shots. First, calm down. Way down. Breathe deeply, settling down until you feel really grounded. Picture a shot that flies onto the green--don't get cute and try to land it on the fringe--then make a few smooth practice swings as if you were actually hitting the ball. See the clubhead clip the grass right where the ball would be. Hold each finish until you can say, "That's the one."
Then address the ball, and pretend it isn't there. Look at the grass that the ball is sitting on and say, "One more practice swing through the grass, just like that last one." Focus on producing the swing the best you can, especially the way the club clips the grass. If you feel as if you just made another good practice swing, I'll bet you see the ball magically float over the bunker and onto the green.