by Greg Hesom, Winkler Golf Club Pro
We see a lot of great chip shots on TV that we think we should be able to play. With practice, we can play those shots but if you are a once a week golfer that doesn’t have the confidence in your chipping, simplify it. Don’t reach for the wedge just because you are close to the green, instead grab your 7 or 8 iron, and play your shot just as you would a putt, stand close to the ball and swing with a short rhythmical putting stroke. There is less room for error and you will start getting the ball close to the hole.
Fried eggs are nice at breakfast time, but not on the golf course, yes, I am referring to the plugged bunker lie. To get the ball out of this lie, we need to completely reverse our regular bunker technique. Square your stance and get the ball position to the middle of your feet and instead of opening the club face as you normally would in a bunker, close the club face to aim slightly left of the target. Break your wrists early on the backswing and swing steeply but smoothly into the sand just behind the ball. There will be little follow through on this shot and the ball will roll a long way after coming out, so allow as much room as possible for that, remembering on this shot that the objective is to just get the ball out of the sand.
PLAYING OFF A SLOPED LIE
Playing golf on the prairies, we are used to flat lies, so when we get to those courses that do have a lot of slope, we need to take into account that hitting off a slope can affect the direction the golf ball is going to travel. A ball above the feet will tend to create a hook while one below the feet will create a fade. The steeper the slope you are standing on, the more effect it will have. Take this into account when setting up and adjust your aim accordingly.
That 4 foot putt can strike fear into the heart of any golfer, can’t it? That putt is one we expect to make, but it is often missed because we look up too early to see if it has gone in. To try and limit the head movement, keep your eyes on the spot where the ball was and listen for the putt to fall into the hole. Keeping your head still allows the body to stay down during the putt and gives a much more consistent stroke. So keep the head still, and listen to those putts drop.