BY Josh Camitta
This issue I will be focusing on “Short Game” tips for players of all skill levels:
Let us start with debunking a common misconception, greenside bunker shots should not be feared! This is the only shot in golf where you do not need to hit the ball! Ideally, for most situations the player should be looking to strike the sand about 1-2 inches behind the ball. It is this attack pattern that gives us that nice “splash” of sand.
A great drill to help train this unnatural entry point is to draw a line in the sand with your club. Now imagine that line is the desired entry point for the sand wedge. If the divot begins at the line and then extends beyond it, great job, this is proper bunker technique. If the entry point is either before or past the line we drew then we know that those shots would either be too fat or too thin respectively. Once you can consistently strike the proper part of the line, the only thing in your way from achieving great bunker play is the space between your ears.
Having played in countless professional and amateur events, I have seen many ways to approach the short game. The one principle I have seen consistent with the world’s best players, keep it simple! On TV we see some miraculous recovery shots from the world’s best.
Thankfully, you and I do not have to play on PGA TOUR venues with lightning fast greens and rough thick enough to lose your dog in. While we may be required to hit the high flop, and a few other circus shots, for the vast majority of the time the shot in front of us is only as hard as we make it. For example, on your approach you hit it just short of the green. The pin is about 15 paces off the front edge. Most amateurs will go right to their trusty S wedge and give it a whack. While this CAN result in quality shots, it is certainly not the most consistent.
Instead of taking a big back swing and trying to fly the shot half way to the pin, why not club up and make a nice tidy putting stroke? By taking a 9 iron instead of a sand wedge, the shot difficulty drops dramatically. Using a 9 iron, we are effectively turning a shot with a large margin of error into a shot as consistent as a putt. With the 9 iron, simply grip down, and make a smooth putting stroke. This will allow the ball to pop up slightly (right over the collar of the green) and on impact it will roll out beautifully as if it was like any other putt. This shot variety not only takes the guesswork out, it also increases your odds of making that hard-earned par more often.
About the author, Josh Camitta lives in Jupiter Florida on the Treasure Coast and is a professional caddie and a previous assistant professional at multiple South Florida golf clubs as well a former professional golfer. Josh earned a degree in “Golf Management” from Keiser University College of Golf and studied under Dr. TJ Tomasi, a Top 100 Golf Instructor rated by Golf Magazine.
Please feel free to contact Josh with your golf questions or if in need of services at email firstname.lastname@example.org
The above information is opinion based except where noted. Always contact a licensed professional for information on the above subject or BEFORE applying or practicing the above information.
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