Short Game

How To Play The High Lob

January 16, 2012

Here's about the toughest shot you can face: the high, soft lob to a tight pin. I learned it from my teacher, Stan Thirsk, when I was 11 years old, using a 56-degree wedge. Today's higher-lofted models make it easier.

Stan taught me to take the club back outside and up with my arms (above, 1 and 2), then swing down across the ball with the club tracking well left of my target (below, 3 and 4).


I start by opening my stance slightly (facing left), then open the clubface 45 degrees (facing right) and weaken my grip so my thumbs point straight down the shaft. Make a practice swing next to your ball and see where the club bottoms out. With this spot in mind, set up so you'll strike the ball with a descending blow before the club reaches the bottom of its arc.

My swing thought is to hit it hard and keep the face pointing to the sky through impact.

I often get asked what I look at when I'm hitting the ball. I narrow my focus to one dimple at the back-center of the ball. That's where I want to hit it. Try this. It gives you a better chance of staying down through the shot and making solid contact.

Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.