Top teacher: 4 problems my female students ask about the most—and how to fix them
There are certain shots Molly Braid, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher out of Westmoor C.C. in Wisconsin, gets asked about again and again by her female students. From how to hit uphill chip shots, to picking the right target off of a tee box, Braid’s fixes for each question range from technique tips, to guidance about course management. She gets asked about these on-course issues a lot for a reason. Read on and you'll likely find the answer to a question you've had in your game, too.
1. How to escape the trees
If there’s a tree in between you and the green, the common urge is to try to go over it. But Braid says under is often the more effective strategy.
“Grab a seven iron and hit a big chip shot,” Braid said. “Get your feet closer together, lean towards the target, sternum slightly ahead of the ball. Let the handle lean towards the target as well. From there, we’re going to keep the club low, around hip high to hip high. We’re going to punch the ball out and let it roll up to the green.”
2. How to avoid coming up short on uphill chips
When hitting an uphill chip, do you pop the ball up too high and watch the ball land short of the green? If so, Braid says club selection is the culprit. Instead of a sand wedge, opt for a pitching wedge, 9 iron or even 8 iron, something that will give you more margin for error.
“Set up with your hips and shoulders in line with the hill,” Braid says. “The handle’s going to come back and there’s going to be added loft to the club. So it’ll have more height, like a sand wedge.”
3. How to pick a target off the tee box
What is your process when picking a target on a tee box? It’s ok if yours is more in the ‘hit it down the middle’ camp, a lot of people think like that when setting up to their driver. But the center of the fairway isn’t always the best target. Braid says to look at how the landing area slopes so you can predict which direction your ball will bounce after it lands. In some instances, aiming at or near the rough is the best way to have your tee ball end up in the middle of the fairway.
4. How to clear greenside bunkers
Having to chip over greenside bunkers can be daunting. It’s common to think you need to loft the shot high to clear the bunker. But Braid says to look at the bunker in a different way.
“Bunkers are down in the ground. You don’t need it to go way up in the air,” Braid says. “Instead of taking a great big swing with a lob wedge or sand wedge and trying to hit it high over the sand -- which we see a lot of times coming up short -- grab your pitching wedge or gap wedge and do a pitching stroke and setup.”