The Loop

How He Hit That: Bill Haas' awkward lie escape

January 26, 2015

Sometimes winning isn't pretty, and Bill Haas proved that at the Humana Challenge--even as he was signing for an aggregate score of 22-under.

Haas hit his tee shot on the final hole right, and his ball perched on on the grass just above the lip of a steep fairway bunker. When Haas took his stance, the ball was nearly waist high. The mission was simple: Advance the ball to a position where he could reach the green in regulation without shanking it, or pull hooking it across the fairway into the water.

Using a middle iron, he caught the ball cleanly with a baseball swing and left himself a straightforward third shot into the green. He made his par and preserved a one-shot victory over five other players.

"Bill made all the right decisions there," says top Georgia teacher Mike Granato. "Even though he was only trying to advance the ball a short distance, he picked a lower-lofted iron, which reduced the chance of the shot shooting off to the left from such a severe lie. And when he swung, he was thinking single instead of home run. He resisted the temptation to try to push the ball farther down the fairway. He picked a 6-iron, choked down and made a controlled swing to promote clean contact--which is way more important than total distance."

Your next bad lie situation might not match Haas', but you can still make the same good strategy choices. "Another thing to take in consideration is what the shaft is going to do through impact," says Granato, who is based in White, Ga. "On every shot you hit, the shaft droops--or bends slightly downward--through impact. When the ball is above your feet, the drooping effect is increased. Plan for it, and address the ball a little higher than normal."