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Play Your Best: Gimme One Thing

Butch Harmon: Phil's Pop Shot

Mickelson taught me this little beauty

June 2014

You're two steps off the green and feel like you could reach out and grab the pin. It's not much of a shot, and that's the problem. You've got to swing hard enough to get the ball out of the rough but then stop it fast. The way Phil does it, you don't even hit the ball: You hit an inch behind it, and the club slides under it.

Assuming you have a halfway decent lie, play the ball off your front instep, and favor your front foot. Open the clubface significantly to prevent the club from digging at impact. The swing is like a standard pitch, hands going about hip high back and through. Focus on a spot just behind the ball, and clip that spot as you slide the club through. The ball will pop straight up, so swing harder than you think.

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BUTCH'S BASICS

Sometimes you need a greenside shot that runs hard, like to a back pin or a top tier. Grab your 9-iron and play the hook chip. Start with a 10-finger grip to promote more right-hand rotation through the shot—that's what closes the clubface and makes the ball run. Take your chipping setup (ball back, hands ahead, weight left) and swing from in to out through impact, rotating the clubface so the toe points to the sky in the follow-through. That ball will have some giddyup on it.

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

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