SHORT GAME MADE SIMPLE
Master the basics of every greenside shot you need
Photographs by Jensen Larson
Rely on these keys to pull off all the basics shots around the green.
Set the shaft more vertical at address to help the clubhead slide along the turf, not dig deep into it. Your arms, club and chest should turn back together and finish together with your hands remaining in front of your chest (above).
With your weight forward and the front shoulder over your lead foot, move the triangle formed by your arms and shoulders back and through (below, left). Continue turning your body to keep the club’s shaft and lead arm in line at impact (below, right).
IN THE ROUGH (SITTING DOWN AND PROPPED UP)
When your ball is down in deeper grass, allow your trail arm to fold as you swing back, setting a sharp angle between your lead arm and the club (below, left). This helps you to hit down sharply on the ball. Swing high to low with little follow-through, popping it out. When the ball is sitting up, address it in the center of the clubface, setting the leading edge even with the bottom of the ball—not nestled under it. This promotes a solid strike (below, right).
Grab a 9-iron and hit a chip with some hook spin, taking the club back more inside the target line and letting the face close through impact (below). If you’re playing up a slope, land the ball midway to kill its momentum, so it doesn’t scoot over the green.
BUNKER SHOTS (LONG AND SHORT)
For long sand shots like this (below), take a gap wedge or pitching wedge and make a swing that is three times harder than required from the fairway. For a 30-yard shot, make your 90-yard swing and explode the sand behind the ball. For standard greenside bunker shots, play the ball off your lead heel, set the clubface open about 45 degrees, then take your grip. On the downswing, accelerate the trail arm and thump the sand with the backside of the wedge. This creates a high, soft shot.
To lob the ball high, take an extra-wide stance and play the ball slightly forward of center in your stance. On the forward swing, unhinge the trail arm and slip the clubface under the ball (below, right). Keep your trail arm under the lead arm through impact to hold the clubface open and pop the ball up.