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5 Shots To Save Your Game

December 2010
Butch Harmon

I've been fortunate to work with some of the best short-game players ever--guys like Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Jose Maria Olazabal. What I've learned from these players is that greatness around the green comes from always picking the right shot, then totally committing to it. No second-guessing it, no flipping or scooping at impact. If you commit and make a positive swing, you're virtually guaranteed to do three things right: (1) accelerate through the ball; (2) shift to your front foot; and (3) deliver the same clubface loft at impact as you set down at address. Those are the three biggies. Here I'll show you how to use them--and a few other tips--on five shots you face every round.

Butch Harmon

1. THE SOFT LOB

Swing Long And Lazy

Every golfer wants to be able to hit the lob shot; the smart ones use it only when no other shot will do. The first thing you have to realize is that you need a decent lie--a little cushion under the ball--to have a good chance of pulling it off.

Take your most lofted wedge, play the ball just forward of center and open the clubface. (For extra loft, weaken your left-hand grip by setting your left thumb on top of the handle instead of down the right side.) The open face will let you slide the club under the ball without the toe turning over through impact.

Swing back about three-quarters, and make a gradually accelerating pass through the ball. The open face will send the ball high, so commit to accelerating. Don't think about hitting the ball: Make a long, smooth swing, and turn your body to the target.

KEY MOVE
Swing to a full finish, with your weight on your front foot. When the clubface is open, you need a long swing to apply enough power to get the ball to the hole.

COMMON FAULT
Trying to lift the ball, many golfers fall back and flip the club up. This leads to chunks or skulls. Shift to your left, and turn through, trusting the loft on the clubface.

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