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Lesson Tee

Steal My Feel

Nervous? Hit down on the ball

June 2012

I don't know what goes on in other tour players' heads, but a partial pitch is one shot that sometimes makes me think just like an amateur. I'm worried about skulling it, chunking it, or even shanking it. That's right, I said the S-word you're not supposed to say.

Because I hit my driver really far, I tend to face a lot of these tricky half-wedge shots during a typical round, so I've had to come up with a way to approach them more confidently. It's not very technical.

I stand slightly open with my feet close together, and play the ball off my back foot. Then I take my 64-degree wedge (it's the only club I really use inside 100 yards) and just smash the ball down into the turf. I don't think about my backswing or finish or anything. My only thought is to feel as if I hit the top of the ball first and drive it deep into the ground. The loft of the club shoots the ball up, and it comes out with a ton of backspin.

This takes the two worst outcomes—a thin shot or a fat one—entirely out of play.

I love this feel because it lets me swing aggressively. It's when you're nervous and try to be delicate that bad things usually happen.

Bubba Watson won the Masters for his fourth PGA Tour victory.

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