Posts Tagged ‘harding park’

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.)

I Found The Secret to Hogan’s Golf Swing!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Okay, this does really happen to me every couple months.  That is that I find the secret to the golf swing.

You go to the golf course and return with this “amazing” feeling that you’ve finally mastered the game of golf, or at least just the golf swing in this case.

Let me tell you how it happend and the secret too.

I have been on a long-trail of hitting balls on the range and really not practicing my short game or putting.

Well, yesterday, I go to the range at Harding Park GC, and found that the range closes early on Mondays.  Of course, this was my first time going to the range after 6pm on a Monday.

So, I decided to practice my short game for 2 hours.  What happened after that was amazing.

For the first hour and a half or so, I was really struggling to hit these hard-pan lies.  After trying several things, I hit a goldmine, the secret to my golf swing.

You see, the secret is in the dirt just like Ben Hogan said.  Literally, I found it in the hardpan dirt, where it’s practically impossible to hit the shot good unless you strike the ball perfectly.

As such, I found the secret of the golf swing as the following:

Your full swing is an extended version of your short shots.  It’s never the other way around.

For example, you are hitting the 2-iron really well.  You miniturize that 2-iron swing on the short pitch shots.  It might work and it might not, simply because what’s working for the full swing isn’t guaranteed to work on the short shots.

However, if you are hitting your 30-yard pitch shots from a hardpan lie perfectly (as you do need to hit it perfectly on the ball in order to avoid chunking it or thinning it) and you extend that short swing into a 2-iron swing, you will find that 99% of the time, the swing works.

This is why tour pros practice their short game so much because the rhythm and the swing technique flows into other longer shots.

Now, that is how I found the secret, let me tell you the “technical” details of my findings:

You need to feel that on the downswing, you are rotating everything including your stomach, shoulders, arms, and hands to the left while your weight is centered over the left foot.  You also need to feel you are standing very tall.

Here’s the important part, you need to feel like your wrists are uncocking upwards toward the sky just after impact.

If you take a careful look at Hogan’s after-impact position, you will notice that his wrists are actually lifted toward the sky.  This really helps you to hit the ball perfectly while minimizing wrist action through impact.

Now how to achieve this feeling?

It’s pretty simple, try to imagine there’s a giant ball hanging from the sky sorta like the above picture.

Then, try to rotate your body to move that ball foward toward your target.  Also try to hit the big imaginary ball with your elbows, this will automatically uncock your wrists the correct way by letting your wrists lift upwards.

I tried this and boy, I am going to the PGA Tour Q-School next year baby! :)