Automatic From 100 Yards

5 top teachers on how to knock it stiff from 100 yards
July 21, 2015

When your ball is 100 yards from the green, you expect to put it on--we all do. But executing from this distance isn't as easy as it might seem. We skull it, chunk it, pull it, airmail it and sometimes turn birdie opportunities into desperate attempts to save bogey. Why do we botch this "easy" shot? We asked five Golf Digest Teaching Professionals to explain what happens and offer some advice on what you can do to make the 100-yard shot automatic. Here's what they told us.


Many golfers don't have a club that carries the ball only 100 yards with a full swing, so they need to practice hitting three-quarter shots. Experiment with each of your short irons, gripping down about an inch and making an abbreviated swing back and through. Pay close attention to how far the ball goes when you hit it flush. You might find that a three-quarter swing with a 9-iron or pitching wedge flies 100 yards almost every time. Plus, it'll be easier to control than a full swing. That's your new go-to shot. --Rob Akins


Amateurs tend to hit these short approaches fat or thin because the club bottoms out before it reaches the ball. When you swing through impact, your hands should pass the ball before the clubhead strikes it. You won't see that, but it's a key concept to remember. It'll help get the bottom of the swing in front of the ball, where it belongs. A good swing thought: Keep the back of the right wrist bent for as long as you can after impact.**--Tom Ness


Swing speed often plays a big role when things go wrong. It's only a 100-yard shot, but many players go after the ball like they're trying to get home on a par 5. When you swing too fast with a wedge, it's hard to keep the ball from rolling up the clubface, spinning skyward, and landing well short of the green. Instead, make a nice, smooth swing that's equal in length back and through. Don't try to wrap the club around you. Keep the finish short.--Dean Reinmuth


First, have a good plan. Do you need to flight it high or low, or land it on a specific portion of the green? Think your shot through. Then stand tall at address and make an unrushed swing. Resist the urge to flick at the ball with your hands. Instead, keep the club moving. I like the way Steve Stricker hits these shots. There's almost no wrist action. His body rotation propels the club through. --Dave Stockton


For better distance control, good players drive the ball into the green with a lot of spin. To hit this shot, choose the same club you normally would (and make sure the grooves are clean). Play the ball slightly back of center in your stance, and make a wider, shallower swing back and through. Feel like the clubhead is moving along the ground longer than normal. This will make the ball take off on a lower trajectory and with more backspin so it checks up after a couple of hops.--Josh Zander