124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Short Game

How To Get To Back Pins

December 20, 2012

The standard wedge shot--where you loft it in there and stop it quickly--works great for front or middle hole locations, but what if the flag is back? That's when I like a little running draw that lands harder and releases. It's a great weapon for handling this tricky situation--and with a shorter, safer swing. Here's how you play it: Use a less lofted club, like a 9-iron, and position the ball in the center of a fairly narrow stance (1). Make a three-quarter-length backswing, focusing on smooth tempo with the arms (2). Shift your weight left, and lean the shaft toward the target at impact, so you nip the ball cleanly off the turf (3). Be sure not to decelerate into the ball. Finally, hold off the finish at three-quarters (4). Land the ball near the front of the green, and you'll watch it track toward the hole.


Jim McLean, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Doral Golf Resort & Spa Miami.