124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Clutch Shots

Lydia Ko's ridiculous par save from the water is a shot even average golfers need to know how to hit

March 03, 2022
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A par is a par on the scorecard, but how Lydia Ko got there on the fifth hole of the HSBC Women’s World Championship is worth a closer look. As you can see above, Ko stood in the hazard with water up to her shins, and the ball way above her feet.

With an effortless-looking move, Ko popped it clean out of the tough lie and back into the middle of the fairway. From there she got up and down for par.

It might not be a situation the average golfer would consider hitting from, but perhaps in a competition you'd have to try to execute it. We asked Trillium Rose, a top 50 teacher on Golf Digets's Best Teachers in America ranking, to walk us through how to go about attempting this shot.

The trickiest part, Rose points out, was how high the ball was in relation to her feet.

“You’re going to have to grip down on the club, but the amount you grip down depends on the hill,” Rose says.

To figure out how far to grip down, Rose says to take your stance near your ball and take some practice swings, adjusting how far you’re gripping down until you find the grip position that feels most comfortable.

Next, check your aim. Rose says that when the ball is above your feet, the clubface naturally angles left (for right-handed golfers).

“When you take your stance, you might not even notice it, but your handle is lower than where it usually is,” Rose said. “Dropping the handle makes the clubface aim left. Adjust for that by aiming to the right.”

The video of Ko hitting this shot is a good lesson in technique, and it’s also a good lesson in course management. When you’re in a tough spot like Ko was here, don’t try to be a hero. Just get the ball back into play.