Approach Shots

Why'd I Do That?

By Jim McLean Illustrations by Chris Gash
August 19, 2015

Your approach trickles off the back of the green, and when you get up to the ball, you see it’s perched up on a perfect lie. Nice. Should be no problem, right? But when you go to hit the shot, your club slides almost clear under the ball, and you hardly advance it. So much for that lucky lie.

Remember that most of the weight on your wedges is on the bottom of the club. Anything hit high on the clubface won’t have much meat behind it. This combination of high loft and low center of gravity deadens the hit.

That said, it’s OK to use one of your wedges for this shot, just don’t ground the clubhead at address. Hover it at the top of the grass. Then visualize a sweeping motion, instead of a steep swing into the ball. Make a couple of practice swings in a similar lie, just clipping blades of grass.

On your real swing, stay steady with your body, and let the clubhead swing past you, like on a free-release bunker shot. You’re trying to hit the ball low on the face, near the bottom grooves. Then it’ll come off the way it does on a normal chip.

Jim McLean is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.