Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands


Face The Sky To Hit It High

November 27, 2011

Open-and-shut case: Maintain an open clubface past impact to produce a higher ball flight.

You need the lob when you don't have much green between you and the hole. But when I watch a lot of amateurs attempt this high-flying pitch, I see them play the ball too far back in their stance and allow the clubface to close through impact (inset). Both moves promote a lower ball flight than you want.

The next time you find yourself in this situation, make these two adjustments:

(1) Grab your most-lofted wedge, and set up with the ball farther forward in your stance—opposite the inside of your front heel. When you put the club down behind the ball, open the face so it points skyward and right of your target. Then take your grip.

(2) When you swing, make sure the clubface points at the sky—just as it did at address—long after the ball is gone (main photo). Essentially, the club skims the ground and slides under the ball. Keeping the clubface open increases its loft and makes the ball pop up with a lot of backspin. Focus on keeping the clubface pointing at the sky, and you'll be able to stop it close to the flagstick.

RICK SMITH is based at Treetops Resort, in Gaylord, Mich., and Tiburón, in Naples, Fla.