Stop duffing fairway approaches from ultra-tight lies

September 23, 2019
2019 Masters

Christian Iooss

In an era when firm-and-fast fairways are the norm, not the exception, you’re going to have to learn how to hit good iron shots from super tight lies. It’s easier than you might think. First, you need to get in the right mind-set. You just hit the fairway—congratulations. Walk proudly to your ball, and ignore the tension that’s building as you wonder how you’re going to get the next one airborne.

Second, forget about getting the next one airborne. That’s what’s getting you in trouble with these lies in the first place. You think you have to do something extraordinary to hit it flush. You don’t. The key to these shots is treating them like you have a little cushion under the ball. This is just a normal iron shot. You don’t have to set up with the ball forward in your stance, hoping to pick it off the turf with a perfect swing.

In fact, play the ball no farther forward than center in your stance. Then make a smooth swing that clips the ball and then the turf with a slight downward strike. The ball position at address will help you make solid contact. And because there’s nothing between your club and the ball, it will jump off the face, even if you feel like you’re swinging at only half speed.

Your key thought? Let the handle pass the ball before the clubhead strikes it. —WITH RON KASPRISKE