Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tee it High and Let it Fly

Jack Nicklaus once said "through the years of experience I have found that air offers less resistance than dirt".  Another golf quote is "tee it high and let it fly".  So what does this mean....

Don't tee it low:

As a general rule, when hitting a wood, you will want to tee the ball so that when you rest your club on the ground behind the ball, half of the ball extends above the clubface.  What this allows is, like Jack said, you can hit the ball while not hitting the ground which will provide you with better contact.  

When to tee it different heights:

Teeing the ball slightly lower will provide a lower shot trajectory and will generally favor a "fade" shotshape.  Teeing the ball higher will generally give a higher trajectory and promote a "draw" shape.

So tee it high when:
  • You are hitting with the wind to take advantage of a high ball flight
  • You need to hit a draw
So tee it low when:
  • You are hitting into the wind to utilize a lower trajectory
  • You need to hit a fade

If you're looking to hit the dreaded straightball here, then tee it a normal height and swing away.

So hit the links, make more birdies, and No More Bogeys!  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Advanced Chipping: The Flop Shot

In stark contrast to the previously discussed "bump and run" style chip, the flop shot is where you want to land the ball close to the flag and have it roll very little or not at all.  The flop shot is a shot that arcs very high up into the air and lands softly, which is useful for when you have to hit a short shot but also need to clear a hazard such a a bunker or water.  This is not an easy to hit shot and therefore shouldn't be used as a default chip, but should only be used when necessary.

When to hit it:

When you are:
  • Within 20 yards of the green
  • Have a good lie
  • Need to carry a hazard or the green is very undulated
How to hit it: 

Hitting this shot require a very lofted club (either your 56 or 60 degree wedge) and a very open stance.  You will want to make your stance nearly 45 degrees open and swing the club much like you would a bunker shot.  Make a steep and severe outside to inside "cut" swing making impact with the point in the ground just below the ball.  Here is why this shot is difficult.  You need "sweep" the club under the ball, without making a divot and without hitting the ball thin.  That makes this shot extremely difficult to execute from a tight fairway lie, but still possible.  If you miss thin, the ball will come out too low and hard, sailing over your target.  If you miss fat and catch the ground, the shot will still give you the trajectory you are looking for, but will end up woefully short.

Points to consider:

This is definitely not a shot you want to take a firm grip on (even though you may be so nervous that gripping the club firmer is natural).  You need the loose grip to allow that "sweeping" motion at impact so your wrists can move instead of staying tight.  

As this is a very difficult shot, be sure the situation calls for it and there isn't another safer option you can take.  Be sure to practice this shot considerably before attempting it during a round, or else you might be blading the shot into your cart!

So hit the links, make more birdies, and No More Bogeys!