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How To Play The High Lob

Addressing one of the hardest greenside shots in all of golf

February 2012

Here's about the toughest shot you can face: the high, soft lob to a tight pin. I learned it from my teacher, Stan Thirsk, when I was 11 years old, using a 56-degree wedge. Today's higher-lofted models make it easier.

Stan taught me to take the club back outside and up with my arms (above, 1 and 2), then swing down across the ball with the club tracking well left of my target (below, 3 and 4).

Tom Watson lobbing a pitch shot

I start by opening my stance slightly (facing left), then open the clubface 45 degrees (facing right) and weaken my grip so my thumbs point straight down the shaft. Make a practice swing next to your ball and see where the club bottoms out. With this spot in mind, set up so you'll strike the ball with a descending blow before the club reaches the bottom of its arc.

My swing thought is to hit it hard and keep the face pointing to the sky through impact.

MORE THOUGHTS FROM TOM

I often get asked what I look at when I'm hitting the ball. I narrow my focus to one dimple at the back-center of the ball. That's where I want to hit it. Try this. It gives you a better chance of staying down through the shot and making solid contact.

Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

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