The Loop

Three shots you'll see this week, and how to hit them

July 16, 2015

Plentiful rain has made St. Andrews look a little less tan than "normal," but the wind, turf and giant greens will still push players to hit different shots than they may be used to playing.

Below are three of them you'll see frequently during the telecast this week, along with some advice on how to hit them yourself.


Tom Watson won five British Opens from 1975 to 1983 by adapting his game to conditions. This little 5-iron chip is a great example. Instead of lofting the ball in the air, pop the ball up over the taller grass and get it rolling on the green right away. Choke down on the handle, lean the shaft slightly forward and use a putting stroke to hit it.


Many of the bunkers at St. Andrews  have steep faces, presenting a tall challenge when the ball nestles close to them. Aaron Baddeley's four keys to clearing a steep face are (1) widen your stance, (2) bend your knees, (3) lower the handle and (4) open the face. The faster you slide the club through the sand, the higher the ball will go. Some, like Hell Bunker on No. 14 or the Road Bunker on No. 17, will make you turn around and play out backward.


If the wind blows as expected over the weekend -- at 25 or 30 mph -- players will forced to account for it on every shot. If you don't want to balloon one into the teeth of it, follow Tom Watson's advice for a "wind cheater" and (1) lower the lead shoulder at address, (2) play the ball back in the stance two or three inches and (3) swing to a controlled, lower finish. Shots will fly lower, with less backspin, and will run out more.