Archive for the ‘wedge shots’ Category

How to Hit Long Sand Shots and Put a Lot of Spin On It!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

One of the easiest shots in golf  for pros and scratch golfers is a sand shot inside 30 yards.

One of the hardest shots in golf for anyone is a long sand shot more than 30 yards.

Why?  Because with the sand wedge, you can only hit it so far from the beach.  Since you are opening the clubface near 30 degrees open, after about 30 yards, you are doing to have a hard time just getting the golf ball to the green.

So, how to hit this long sand shot?

There’s two ways, you can either open your sand wedge less and try hitting the shot but that’s not always the best way because the less you open your sand wedge, the less bounce you effectively use on your wedge.

Without bounce, the sand shot becomes more risky.

A better way to hit the longer sand shots is with a longer club such as your pitching wedge or even 9-iron.

For a 50-yard sand wedge shot perhaps from a fairway bunker (that’s relatively close to the green), you can hit a pitching wedge, almost exactly like your sand shots with the sand wedge.

Here’s the cool part though, because you are effectively hitting the golf ball harder with the longer club, you can put a LOT of spin on the golf ball.

Not that many people know or even attempt to hit this long bunker shot but when you pull it off and your ball one hop and stops next to the hole, you will see everyone’s jaws drop as you take their money.

You still have to hit the long sand shot correctly, perhaps a bit less margin of error than shorter sand shots.  This inevitable because the pitching wedge has less bounce.

When hitting these longer sand shots, you need to aim a bit more left than you think because the pitching wedge causes more left-to-right spin than on short sand shots.

Also, make sure you make a “shallow” and “thin” scoop of sand.  The sand should look 5-6 inches long but very thin.  This is same concept as a regular short sand shot but in a short sand shot, you can still get the golf ball on the green with a slighter fatter action whereas the longer sand shots, you don’t have that margin or error.

Now, if you are at a longer distance, let’s say 80 yards in the fairway bunker, you can try a 9-iron.

If you are at longer than that, my advice is to actually try to hit the ball clean while keeping your head up throughout the shot.  Once it gets to that distance, it’s better to hit a half-swing/full-swing shot and in my opinion, those are much easier than something between 30-100 yards.

 

How to Hit the One Hop and Stop, Low Trajectory/High Spinning Wedge Shot!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

You probably seen on TV golf pros hitting that one hop and stopping wedge shot.

This is probably one of the most useful shots from 100 yards in because it’s a “one hop” and “stop”.

I know you’ve seen other high-spinning wedge shots that land then roll back 20 feet.  I am not talking about those.  Actually those shots are much harder to control and would only be useful in situations you actually have to roll it back.

For most situations from 100 yards in, you will benefit more from one hope stop, then a shot that lands and rolls back into the water.

So, how do you hit this shot?

First, you need a “clean” wedge with no dirt or grass between its grooves.  If you don’t clean your golf clubs, I highly suggest you to do it starting from now on or at least clean your wedges as it will help you put more spin on the ball and hit the one hop and stop shot.

If you don’t have a clean wedge with dirt or grass in its grooves, that pretty much gives you no chance at this shot because clean grooves mean backspin on the ball.

Third, you need a relatively soft ball.  If you use long-distance balls, you are probably not gonna one stop and hop it by any means.  You might be able to do it in perfect conditions but if you want to hit the one hop and stop shot on consistent basis, switch to a softer ball as this will help your overall shortgame too.

I primarily use Titleist Pro V1X, that’s been my favorite golf ball for like the last 10 years or since it came out.

When you have a clean wedge and a soft ball, you are ready to rock!

The one hop and stop shot is nothing but actually a clean half-swing shot.  To hit this, you need to do a half-swing instead of a full swing and try to hit the golf ball really clean.

When you do a half-swing on a wedge, you will get a lower trajectory and won’t spin out of control (and spin 20 feet back) but will simply one hop and stop.

There are of course more advanced ways to hit this shot but in reality, anyone can hit this shot with a clean wedge, soft ball, and a half swing provided the ball is hit squarely on the center of the clubface.

If you want to get a bit lower trajectory, you can play around by putting the golf ball slightly back in your stance (but I don’t recommend beyond center) and getting your weight over to the left on your downswing, which feels almost like you are coming over the top.

Also, you don’t hit this shot HARD, you want soft hands and a lazy rhythm.  It’s a “feel” shot, if you force it, your ball will shoot up in the air and you won’t get the same stop and hop effect.

Remember, you need to hit the golf ball super-crisp and super-clean, a nice “thin” divot is a sign of that, no big divots please.  Big divots mean you struck down on the ball too much and what happens is that the dirt  and grass will get between the ball and your wedge grooves, killing your chances of putting lots of backspin on the golf ball.

You can hit this shot with pretty much any wedges (sand, lob, pitching), I prefer my sand wedge the best).

Remember, practice makes perfect.  You will want to practice this shot with a clean wedge and also clean, soft balls.  And yes, try to have a wet towel with you so you can clean your grooves every couple shots.

All these little things do matter when hitting the hop and stop shot.

The hop and stop shot is a great weapon to have in your golf bag because you can use it on a good day or a day with 30MPH+ winds.  Since it will travel at a lower trajectory, your wedge shot isn’t affected by the wind as much, meaning more wedges shots closer to the hole.

Anyways, enough rambling, I hope these tips help you, just remember the most important 4 things: Clean grooves, clean “soft” balls, easy half-swing, and perfect contact with the ball.

You don’t have to do anything special to make the golf ball spin, just do the basics right.  THAT, is the secret.

Happy golfin’

How to Hit the Pop and Run Pitch Shot! [Short Game]

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Today, I was practicing this pop and run pitch shot where your pitch shot flies about 15-20 yards then rolls the rest of the way about additional 5-10 yards. (It’s also called hit-and-run but I like the term “pop and run” since it feels more like I “pop” the ball” rather than “hitting” it)

This shot can be very useful in situations where you have a lot of green to work with yet you still need to fly the ball about 15-20 yards onto the green.

Also, this shot can be useful for uphill lies/greens where the ball tends to die after landing on the green.

Okay, one more thing, this shot can be useful in situations where the green lies left to right, meaning you need to aim left of your pin and also put some nice “hook” spin to the ball. (so it will counter the left-to-right slope on the green)

Anyways, to hit this pop and run pitch shot, it’s not terribly hard nor different from your regular pitch shot.

First, setup to the ball square to your target with the ball about the center of your stance.

Second, let your hands be very “light” like spaghetti as with all short game shots.

Third, take your backswing aggressively inside, you should feel that your wrists are forced to hinge quicker because you take it back on a such flat plane.  Yes, it’s okay to be wristy on this shot, just make sure you hands stay super light throughout the shot.

Fourth, follow through inside-out without breaking your wrists.

When you hit hit shot right, you can literally take a really clean hit of the ball and very little turf.  It should feel very solid and with lots of overspin.  The golf ball should feel like “butter” at impact.

The beauty of this shot can be seen in windy against-the-wind situations where you need to keep the ball strong and also rolling once it hits the green.

I know personally that Tiger (although his MIA right now, perhaps I will have a post on that soon) practices/uses this shot a lot.

It’s hard for you to catch pros hit this shot because the pitch shot is such a small action, subtle changes in the pitch shot can be hard to see with the naked eye.

When hit right with enough force, this shot can also “skip and drop” when hit under dry, normal conditions or against the wind.

Of course, this shot isn’t for the hacker, perhaps for those of you who are already accomplish short game players.

Putting “hook” spin on the ball with small chip/pitch shots can save you a great deal of headache on very fast, sloping greens where just playing along might not be enough.  Instead, you might have to “counter” spin the ball to get your ball stopping next to the pin.

On the opposite side, there’s the slice spin chip shot but I am not going to tell you how to do that because most of you already know how to do that.  Most pitch shots can have slice spin as soon as you open the clubface.

Of course, you might think you can add “hook” spin simply by closing the clubface but I find that is a lot harder to control than using the inside-out swing method.  Anyways, that is why I am telling you how to hit this shot.

I usually use my 60 degree lob wedge to hit this shot but you can use longer club (even a 7-iron) for longer pitch shots such as 50 yards or more.

As always, my tips are meant to help you to experiment with you own short game and develop your own “feel” and shots.   In short game, there’s no single right way to hit the same shot.  Likewise, I would like you to experiment and see if you can find my method or any other variations thereof helpful for your golf game.

Practice your short game at least 30% of your practice time as having a great short game can help you score under par even if you hit your drives/irons all over the place.

How to Hit the Soft Floating Chip/Pitch Shot from the Rough!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

In this blog post, I will show you how to hit that soft, floating chip/pitch shot from the light/medium rough.  This is a shot I practice and use constantly and can be a great par saver.

This method might differ from anything else you have learned in the past but trust me, this is a fail-proof method of hitting a great soft, floating chip/pitch shot from the rough.

Also, you might be interested to learn that I have devised my own method by applying a lot of stuff here and there I’ve learned from other pros.

Short game can be limitless in the number of ways you can hit different shots and this one is specifically geared towards “simpleness” and easy enough for any weekend golfer to repeat it with little practice.

Basically, this is a short game shot that’s really a chip shot and a pitch shot since you will hit the ball soft and higher than normal, but still need to get some roll after the ball hits the ground.

The basic method of hitting this soft, floating chip/pitch shot is to open your clubface (this would depend on how high you want to hit it) and simply using a “mini version” of your full swing.

There’s couple of things you need to do and that is to take a square stance, just like a full shot, you DON”T NEED TO OPEN YOUR STANCE AT ALL.

I find that you can actually hit these little pitch shots more consistently if you setup square to the ball.  Also, make sure to hit DOWN on the ball and THROUGH the ball.  Don’t be afraid to hit this shot, you need to be confident.

One more thing, you want to try to hit about 1/4 inch behind the ball and let the clubface “bounce” off the grass.

For the shot, I recommend either a lob wedge or sand wedge.  (Btw, I used a 60 degree lob wedge in the video.)

Before you hit the shot, make sure to “visualize” exactly how the ball will fly (its trajectory) and where it will land on the green.  (read the green too so you know how the ball will roll after landing)

The greatest part about this shot is that you don’t have to change your swing at all or learn a new pitching technique.

Make sure to keep your hands super “light”, barely on the grip and let your arms feel like “spaghetti”.

Light hands are essential to every shot in the short game.  Ask any pro in the world and they will tell you light hands equal great feel.

Remember, short game is about creativity and imagination, don’t be afraid to experiment and make your own chip/pitch shots.

I assure you, if you get good at this shot, you will be making a lot more pars on the course.  I find this shot more useful than hit and run chip shots.  (which are useful too but not as used often in my experience and much easier)

How to Hit Those Short Chip/Pitch Shots out of Medium/Tough Rough!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

rough

(Image Credit)

Today I practiced 20-50 yard pitch shots at my favorite public course Harding Park with my 60 degree wedge.  Since Harding Park will be hosting the 2009 President’s Cup this year in October, the greenskeeper was growing the grass like mad.

Anyways, those long rough conditions allowed me to practice those tough shots and here’s simple tips next time you see some of those medium to high length rough:

  1. Set up to the ball with your clubface open, anywhere from 5 to 45 degrees depending on how high you want to hit your pitch shot.
  2. Set up with most of your weight on the left side of your body and keep it there during the whole pitch shot.
  3. Try to hit slightly behind the ball.  The long rough will actually act as cushion and add a little “bounce” to your shot, meaning you actually want to hit a little behind it to hit the ball consistently.   You want to hit about 1/4 to 1/8 inch behind the ball but no more than 1/4 inch, otherwise you will end up flopping the pitch shot.  Just make sure to keep your eyes 1/4 inch behind the ball and try to hit that spot, not the ball.  This will ensure you don’t “skull” the ball while you will get a consistent results out of any medium to long-sized rough.
  4. Make sure to keep your pitch swing nice and smooth, free flowing while keeping your hands super light.
  5. Make sure your follow-through is much longer than your backswing to ensure acceleration through the pitch shot.

Now, apply these tips next time you go out to the practice green.  I tend to like to spend a lot of time around the greens, not much of a ball-banger anymore (I used to be).  But I can assure you that when you can hit well and consistently close to the hole out of these medium to long-sized grass, you will definitely play better next time you play a good course like Harding Park.

Of course, hitting behind the ball only applies to 1 inches of grass(rough) or longer.  Anything shorter, you can keep your weight evenly distributed and focus on the front of the ball itself. (otherwise you will flub it for sure)

These shots are not easy but they are really fun if you master them and you will have a great advantage over your playing partners, especially if they are not accustomed to hitting those pitch shots within 3 feet circle like you do.

Have fun practicing and I should have some more tips on various different pitch shots.  (And yes, practicing with 1-ball can help greatly to these shots as you will learn to manipulate your 60 degree wedges better.)

Golf DIY – How to Hit the Sand Shot!

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

sandshot

(image credit)

For most beginners, the sand shot might be the hardest trouble shot to overcome.  As a pro golfer who has hit thousands of these little sand shots under tournament pressure, let me just point out a couple things that will guarantee that you hit the ball out of the sand.

1. First, you need to see the sand as sand, not a sand “trap” or any of that negative stuff.  Golf starts in your brain, the more positive you look at your troubles, the better you will play.

2. Before you hit ANY sand shots, please “dig” your feet into the sand about 1/4″ by wiggling your feet.  If you do not make use of this wiggling (and it’s lega), you are not taking advantage of all the Golf Rules has to offer.  WIGGLE your feet until they are pretty darn stable.

3. Keep your weight near your heels.  That’s right, you want all your weight nearer to your heels so you will hit the sand with the “heel” of your club, not the “toe”.  Hitting the sand with the “heel” of the club allows your sand wedge to make use of the maximum bounce allowed and swiftly go through the sand.

A lot of people don’t know this but I am here to tell you this is the ultimate secret I learned from Stan Utley, one of the best short game players/teachers in the world.

4. Keep the ball about 2-3 inches front of center of your address, sorta like a pitching wedge.  You want your ball to be about opposite your left heart. (if you are right-handed)

5. Open your stance and clubface about 30 degrees each.

6. 50-50 weight balance will do most of the time, try to keep your weight evenly distributed in both feet.

7. Now you are ready, hover your clubhead about 2-3 inches behind the ball.

8. On your backswing, make sure to cock your wrists as fully as possible.  Cocking allows you to get a steep angle on the ball and get it out easy.

9. Hit about 2-3 inches behind the ball, into the sand, and most importantly, FOLLOW-THROUGH past your waist.

Now, that’s a lot of information but if you follow my directions, you will become a sand shot pro in no time.

Another note, you can control the distance of the ball travel with the amount of your follow-through.

During the whole swing, try to keep your body movement to the minimum (including the head) and use mostly wrists.  There’s no need to try anything fancy, simple does it.

I didn’t have time to shoot a video but next time, I will show it to you. :)

How to Hit the Dreaded 30 Yard Pitch Shot!

Friday, June 6th, 2008

The dreaded 30 yard pitch shot? Does this remind of you when you are on the course and you have an easy 30 yard shot from the fairway to the pin and you either “thin” it or “chunk” it?

Well, the 30 yard pitch shot is nothing more than a mini-version of your swing but there are some key points you might want to take in so you don’t thin it or chunk it.

(more…)

Today’s Swing Thoughts

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Well, today I hit the ball great again and here’s my swing thought for the day:

1. Watch your weight shift during your backswing.  Make sure it doesn’t transfer more than 75% to your right foot.  My fault has been that I’d transfer more than 75%, thus causing me to sway.

2. On the downswing and follow-through, make sure to keep your head down.  This caused to fix 90% of my problems simply by keeping my head down.

3. Rhythm,rhythm, and rhythm.  Without rhythm, you are not swinging the golf club.  You need rhythm for all kinds of shots including short pitch shots and putting.

Well, that was about it and I did hit lots of great short pitch shot from about 10-30 yards.

Here’s some key thoughts on hitting great 10-30 yard short pitch shots.

1. Rhythm – try to focus on your rhythm, this will automatically help you hit that pitch shot nice and crip while accelerating through the ball.

2. Soft hands – Keep your hands ultra-soft, like noodles hanging, and make sure to keep them soft during the whole pitch shot.  Let your hands be wristy, don’t be stiff.  Great soft pitch shot come from soft hands and wrist action.

3. Try to hit the pitch shot so you can hear the crisp sound of the ball wacking the middle of the clubface.

4. Setup to the ball square or slightly open.  A lot of players open the stance too much, that will only help you cut across the ball and not as much pure backspin, which is what you want.

5. A small pitch shot is basically a miniture version of your full swing.  Feel, feel, and practice.

You can also try opening up your clubface 30 degrees but with a square stance.  This will put a lot of spin on the ball and give you that “hop and drop” effect even on really short shots.

Advanced Golf: For even more “hop and drop” effect, you can even feel like “trapping” the ball with your upper body on the downswing.  Doing this makes the pitch shot go slightly lower yet spin like crazy if you catch it super clean.

Now, these are for pitch shots from 10 to 50 yards.  Those are the best shots to practice.

Find a quiet empty green with just 3 Titleist Pro-V golf balls and move around every 3 balls.  Don’t bang 100 balls from the same spot, that is the worst way to practice small pitch shots.

Make sure to pratice with the ball you play with.  3 balls is enough.

Tiger Woods Golf Clinic – Live lessons from Tiger!

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Tiger Woods Golf Clinic Part 1:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Tiger Woods Golf Clinic Part 2:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

This week’s been kinda slow because I haven’t had time to hit balls but here’s some golf clinic by Tiger Woods you can watch. (again if you have already…)

Magic Golf Trick – HOWTO Catch A Golf Ball After You Hit It

Friday, September 14th, 2007

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Here’s a HOWTO on catching your golf ball AFTER you hit it.

1. Open the clubface so it’s pointing behind you about -10 degrees.

2. Really feel like you are sitting down.

3. Get wristy and loose with your hands.

4. Make a nice swing and catch the ball.

The key here is to hit the ‘bounce’ of the sand wedge. (Oh yes, you can use Lob wedge or Sand wedge for this shot) while making a smooth swing.

If you can do this, send me a video so I can post it on my site.