Sooner or later, you’ll face a shot where you must go over an obstacle and land on the green to hole out with a par or better. It may be for bragging rights in your Tuesday morning foursome, the title to the club championship, or a friendly wager with the club pro. Or, it might just be for sheer personal pride. Whatever the case, it’s a shot you must make.
When faced with a 25-foot lob like this, the first thing you need to do is to relax, as I tell students taking my golf lesson. Catch your breath and review the shot closely. Then decide if the reward is worth the risk. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor in golf. But if you’re convinced it’s a shot you need to make, then go for it.
Confidence is the Key
The secret to overcoming an obstacle like a tree, as I’ve written in my golf tips, is confidence. If you watch a good golfer address the shot and then a not-so-good golfer, you’ll notice one big difference: Good golfers know they can get over the tree and land on the green. Not-so-good golfers aren’t sure. Instead, they hope (and pray) for a miracle shot, one that lands on the green and sticks.
Good golfers know they can make the shot for three reasons. First, they have faith in their mechanics. They know what adjustments to make in their swings to get the job done. And they know they’re swings are good enough to do it. Second, they know what the real key is to making the shot. And third, they know that they can do it because they’ve done it before in practice. Let’s take a closer look at each of these topics.
Making the Right Adjustments
Making the right adjustments, as I have said in my golf instruction sessions, is often the difference between hitting a shot like this successfully or failing miserable. Here are six tips on hitting the shot:
1. Choke down on the club
2. Use an open stance
3. Play ball in middle of your stance
4. Align your body left of the target (for righties)
5. Align the clubface square to target
6. Swing along your body
Start by choking down on the grip and addressing the ball with an open stance. Aim your feet about 30 degrees more open than normal. Also, play the ball in the middle of your stance and position your weight on your back foot. Although you align your body left of the target, align the clubface square to the target. Position your hands directly over the ball. This is the proper position to hit the shot, as you may have read in my golf tips.
Key To The Shot
The key to this shot is taking the right swing path. You must remember to take the club back along your bodyline. That means approaching the shot on an out-to-in swing path on the downswing. Maintain the bulk of your weight on your back foot and use a steady smooth swing. And accelerate through impact. Allow your hands to release through the ball while still holding the clubface open.
Most recreational golfers don’t choke up on the club when taking this shot and/or they don’t open their stances. They just grab the club at the usual spot and then use a normal stance. Then they try to “lift” the ball over the obstacle. Needless to say, they’re not successful.
Practice Makes Perfect
After taking a few practice swings to get comfortable, find an obstacle like a tree or a high fence and practice the shot. Address the ball as indicated above but take your mind off your swing. Concentrate on the obstacle you need to hit over instead. Visualize yourself successfully making the shot. Once you have a clear picture of success, swing away with confidence.
Practice this shot several times and concentrate on the visual image of the ball clearing the obstacle and dropping softly on the green. After a few attempts, with sufficient confidence, proper visualization, and sound mechanics, you’ll ingrain the shot enough to try it on the golf course. Practice this shot as often as you can. Your goal should be to ht the shot successfully 10 times out of 10. Do that and you’ll have enough confidence and skill to hit the shot in a pressure situation.
Copyright (c) 2007 Jack Moorehouse