Don't hang back

July 23, 2007

Even good players have trouble on uphill par 3s. I remember a great comment Johnny Miller made about the 11th hole at Shinnecock Hills during a U.S. Open. He said on an uphill par 3 like the 11th, people tend to miss to the right because they hang back on their right sides in an effort to hit the ball higher. I'll never forget what he said.

By hanging back on the right foot in an attempt to add loft to the shot, you swing up on the ball too much. The left shoulder thrusts too high in the hitting area, and the clubface stays open. The result is a miss to the right.

The solution is to keep the shoulders more level at impact by making sure you transfer your weight to your left side on the downswing the same way you would on a normal shot. The clubface will square up for better contact and accuracy. Your weight should go mainly to your right heel at the top of the swing and to your left heel at impact.


Nutrition plays an important part in performing your best. You want to have enough energy to get through a round without fatigue or dehydration. My snacks of choice on the course are trail mix and an orange. I also like to keep hydrated in warm weather with a sports drink, diluted with water so it sustains my energy without giving me highs and lows.

Golf Digest Playing Editor Tom Watson is the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. For more tips, click