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3 Keys For A Plugged Lie

How to get it out -- and stop it

Lesson Tee: Butch Harmon

Butch Harmon's Tips 1, 2 and 3 (from top to bottom right) for a plugged lie.

October 2010

1. OPEN THE FACE
Golfers who are savvy enough to adjust their technique on plugged lies usually close the face. The thinking is, a closed face digs better and can get under the ball. That's true, but the ball comes out low and hot. If you're facing a lip or don't have a ton of green to work with, you're in trouble. You need to start by opening the face.

2. SWING BACK STEEPLY
With the ball just forward of center and the face open, take the club back abruptly with a full wrist hinge. Stay focused on a spot a couple of inches behind the ball, about at the edge of the little crater made by the plugged lie. The steep backswing sets up a steep downswing, which makes the club dig, even with the face open.

3. POP AND STOP
You need speed, so smack the sand good and hard. But don't follow through: Stop a few feet after impact, keeping the face open, or pointing to the sky. Why stop? Because it'll help you hold the face open so you can clear the lip and stop the ball on the green. Remember, swing down steep and go at it hard -- that's how you dig deep enough to pop the ball out.

Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco, Henderson, Nev.

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