Jerome Andrews: The Safety Shot
We've all been there. You're on the tee of a short-but-treacherous par 4 late in a tight match. Hitting driver is out of the question. You have to find the fairway to give yourself a solid approach chance.
Under those circumstances, you need what I call a "safety shot"—something you can go to no matter what and you know what the ball is going to do. It doesn't have to be straight, just predictable.
An iron or hybrid is probably your best choice. Start by choking down on the grip to give yourself a shorter effective shaft length. You'll still get the benefit of a long or middle iron loft, with the control of a shorter club.
Your two swing keys are going to be keeping your lower body quiet, without a lot of leg action, and making a controlled, three-quarter backswing. It'll feel like you're hitting a punch shot more than a full swing. As a result, you'll probably hit a lower, shorter tee shot, and it might fade slightly. All of these things are OK, as long as you plan for them. Be sure to hit the range a few times to dial in the shot so it's there when you need it.
Jerome Andrews teaches at Spring Creek Golf Club in Charlottesville, Va.