Hit it High and Soft

Doug Hammer Scottsdale, AZ (Sports Network) -- One shot that amateurs mess up on more often than not is the soft pitch shot onto the green. Most of you know that in order to stop a ball quickly on the green, the best approach is to hit a high shot, to use loft to stop the ball quickly. The problem is not in the idea, however, but in the execution.

Much too often I see golfers finish with the club way up high when trying to hit a high soft shot. I rarely see a PGA Tour player finish with the clubhead above their hands when trying to hit it that way. Excellent short game players know that it is more important to maintain the loft of the club in the finish than to try to help the ball up into the air.

Try practice hitting shots over the bench without letting your follow through hit the bench.
Next time you want to work on your short game, try this drill:

Use your highest lofted wedge to give you the best chance to hit it high and soft. Set up in a neutral manner, similar to your full swing set-up. DO NOT open the clubface unless you are hitting out of some deep rough. If you are using a 56-degree loft or more, you already have plenty of loft necessary to stop the ball quickly on the green.

Now find a bench, chair or golf bag, really anything that is approximately two feet high and will stop your golf club without breaking it (small children should not be used!). Set up with a ball close enough so that too much follow through will hit the bench (see photo). Practice hitting shots over the bench without letting your follow through hit the bench. You will notice how much you must focus on hitting down into the ball and maintaining the loft of the club.

Remember to avoid trying to help the ball up into the air and to maintain the loft of your wedge to hit a high soft shot. Phil Mickelson calls this shot the hinge and hold. Next time you watch the PGA Tour, pay attention to where the pros are in the finish position when they hit these shots. Try your best to emulate them and your scores will absolutely drop!

Doug Hammer * Director of Instruction * Troon North Golf Club p 480-585-5300 ext. 251 * f 480-585-5161 * www.troonnorthgolf.com 10320 E Dynamite Blvd. * Scottsdale, AZ 85262 Managed by Troon Golf? * www.troongolf.com

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