Don’t Let These Shots Get In Your Way

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Majors always showcase how difficult a course can be and how much game you need to have to navigate it. One way to make a course challenging is by making it difficult around the green. This can happen with deep rough or soft/hard sand conditions. Here are 3 scenarios that PGA Tour players will see around the greens during majors.

greenside-rough

Deep Rough

Deep rough around a green can be daunting. Especially for amateur players who don’t practice their short game. Thick grass will grab the club as it comes down onto the ball and shut (twist) the clubface. This will de-loft the club and cause a lower trajectory shot more left of the target. To avoid this from happening, try using a high-lofted wedge. One with a square or slightly open clubface works best. Aim to the right of your target with the club (your body will always remain open on shorter shots). Hinge the wrist and maintain as much speed coming down to pop the out of the rough. The golf ball will have more spin than normal. There is a significant amount of grass between the clubface and the ball, so the shot will run more than normal. Another option is to take a lower lofted club and with a short, quick hit down on the ball.  Both of these shots you should play the ball in the back of your stance to provide a descending blow.

fried-egg

Buried In The Bunker (aka The Fried Egg)

We’ve all been there. Your shot ends up in a bunker and it’s plugged into the face, or even worse…the downslope. Often these type of lies occurs when there is a significant amount of sand in the bunker. To play this shot, begin with a slightly open stance to the target. Close down the clubface so that it points to the left of the target as well. Like the shot out of deep rough, a plugged lie in the bunker requires speed and balance. Play the ball slightly forward of the middle in the stance with 60% of your weight on your front foot. To create speed, you’ll need a large backswing with early wrist hinge. This will have the club pointed vertically. On the follow through, drive your trail shoulder (right shoulder for a right-handed player) toward your target. Doing this will insure that the club will be traveling with enough velocity to get the ball out of the bunker.

wet-and-hard-sand

Wet & Hardpan Sand

Playing in wet sand is difficult and playing in dry packed sand is even tougher. Anyone who has played Pinehurst #2 understands exactly what firm, dry sand is like. For wet sand, you’ll want to think the opposite of a traditional bunker shot. Don’t splash the ball out, rather, pick it clean with just a small bit of sand behind the ball. For longer bunker shots (40 – 50 yards)  a gap wedge or even pitching wedge will work better because of the lower bounce angle. When short sided with a wet bunker lie, a quick wrist hinge is key for generating the proper angle of attack. Open the face and try cut under the ball with an out to in swing path to generate as much spin as possible. Dry firm sand requires even more precision but the same principals can be applied.  Try to hit a half inch behind the ball as steeply as possible.

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The Cobra King Wedges Will Spice Up Your Short Game

Cobra King Wedge

Feel, Precision, and Versatility

These are the words I’d use to describe the Cobra King wedges. These wedges will have you attacking the pin, getting up and down, and making more sand saves due to three different available grinds with faces and grooves that will help you be more precise all around the course while fulfilling all of your shot making needs.

Versatile, Classic, Widelow Grind options

Toe, heel, and trailing edge relief are featured in the “Versatile” grind. This grind benefits those looking to slide the club under the ball.

The “Classic” grind features a progressive width from heel to toe suitable for all swing types.

Finally, the “Widelow” grind features a wide sole with reduced bounce for the digger.

Progressive Milled Grooves and Variable Face Roughness

The new groove design features wider grooves and wider gaping on weaker lofted wedges (56* – 60*). While the stronger lofted wedges (50* – 55*) have narrower, tighter spaced grooves allowing for optimum spin and trajectory. The variable face roughness optimizes surface roughness across the face maximizing spin and control for greater performance around the green.

Notch Technology

A newly designed notch on the trailing edge allows the sole to sit lower to the ground keeping the blade height closer to the ground on square and open faced shots.

Feel

The 8620 Carbon Steel head provides exceptional feel while the premium Satin Nickel Chrome plating provides a glare reducing, durable finish.

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How To Make The Best Choice When Faced With A Water Hazard

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Many of you struggle with water hazards because of the intimidation factor and the ramifications involved if they hit the ball into the water hazard. Depending on your skill level, you might want to play it safe and try to avoid the hazard as much as possible, or play a normal shot and pretend the hazard is not there. To make golf courses playable for everyone, each hole on the golf course will generally have a way to avoid the water hazard, if there is one, or play it safe. There are always exceptions to the rule when you are forced to carry a water hazard to reach the hole, but these holes are generally located on tougher golf courses where the average golfer might not feel comfortable playing. Below are a few things to consider to prepare yourself for playing a course with water hazards.

Practice The Situation On The Range

Even though the water hazard is not on the range, you can visualize it being there and practice hitting shots on to get more comfortable.

For example, if you regularly play on a golf course that has a hole where you’re forced to carry the ball 130 yards to reach the green, practice hitting the club in your bag that will hit it 130 yards.

Most golfers hit a few balls with each club in their bag while practicing on the range, but rarely hit each club while playing a round. Others will hit an entire bucket of balls with just their driver. Even though it might sound a little out of the ordinary, hitting a full bucket of balls with the club that you would hit 130 yards would be a smart idea. The next time you are faced a shot where you will need to carry the ball 130 yards over a water hazard, you ‘ll feel more comfortable and you won’t think about the water hazard as much.

Practice Different Lay Up Shots

Since most golfers only practice full shots on the range they become stressed when they are faced with a shot that requires a half or three quarter swing. The only way to get better at this is through practice.

One method to use on the range is to imagine a clock while hitting golf balls. If your normal full swing has your hands at the top of the golf swing in the 12 o’clock position, try to imagine stopping your hands at the 9 o’clock position and finishing at the 3 o’clock position during the swing. Once you get comfortable doing this, you can then alter your hand positions depending on how far you are trying to hit the golf ball.

This drill is very helpful if you’d like to lay up short of a water hazard and the shot required is less than a full-swing.

Taking A Different Route

Depending on where the water hazard is located, you might want to keep the driver in your bag and play the hole differently. Since golf is considered a game of misses, the best option might be to tee off with a hybrid, if hitting the driver will bring the water hazard into play.

Also, if there is a water hazard in front of the green, you might choose to play a little farther left or right of the green and have to rely on getting up and down to save par.

The end result might be a bogey on the hole, but at least playing it safe will take a double or triple-bogey out of the equation.

Quick Recap

1. Practice The Situation On The Range

The more comfortable you are hitting a shot without any consequences, the more comfortable you will be when faced with a hazard. Instead of hitting each of the clubs in your bag, hit a bucket of balls with the club you know will use to hit over a potential water hazard.

2. Practice Different Lay Up Shots

Another good idea to prepare for a water hazard is to practice hitting layup shots on the driving range. A drill that works well is to imagine a clock and stop your hands at 9 o’clock and finish at 3 o’clock to hit a shorter shot than a full swing.

3. Taking A Different Route

Sometimes playing the hole a little less traditionally is ideal. This might mean not teeing off with a driver, or hitting to the left or right of the green to avoid the water hazard.

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