124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Short Game

Short Again?

January 07, 2015

Editor's Note: Wes Mensing, 27, was killed in a car accident on January 3. He was a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher based at Plainfield Country Club, Edison, N.J., and Golf & Body, New York City. This was his first story for Golf Digest. You can read more about Wes Mensing's remarkable impact in his short time here.


Grip down and make a putting stroke

Depending on where in front of the green your approach shot misses, you'll find yourself needing one of two shots. If there's nothing but fairway between you and the green, a running chip is your best option. Some golfers pick a short iron for this shot, but I'm using a hybrid here. The hybrid chip is like a long lag putt. Beware: This shot will come off hot.

Play the ball in the middle of your stance, grip down, and stand close enough so the club's heel starts off the ground. Then make a simple putting motion, landing the ball short and giving it room to run (above). It's a low-maintenance shot that helps eliminate chunks and skulls.



Lean left to promote solid contact

Cozying a pitch shot close to the flag is one of the sweetest feelings in golf. When you have rough or sand between you and the green, that soft pitch is exactly what you need. Most amateurs will fall back and try to lift this shot, but to hit it solid you need to do the opposite: Keep your weight on your front side.

Set up with 70 percent of your weight forward, and take your grip with the clubface slightly open. Make a backswing with your wrists hinging the club toward the sky. Your goal is to catch the ball first and then clip the turf just after impact (above). This action will produce a pure strike and a nice, high shot.