NAPLES — I just got back from my summer job in Illinois, and my first lesson was a playing lesson at TwinEagles.
As my student was playing, he hit his second shot to the left of the green in a greenside bunker. Unfortunately, he landed on the downslope of the bunker, and his ball was buried. To make matters worse, the pin was close to him. This is called short-siding yourself.
In addition to this, the green was fast and was sloping away from him. I thought about it a minute and concluded that this shot might be the toughest shot in golf.
So, if you get this shot here is how you play it:
■ Use your sand wedge.
■ Take an extra wide stance.
■ Play the ball off your high foot (right foot).
■ Tilt your shoulders so they are at the same angle as the hill. This will put your weight more on your front leg.
■ Instead of having your clubface open as a normal bunker shot would require, go ahead and address the ball with a square clubface.
■ Use an early wrist break on the backswing. This is called more of a “v-shaped” backswing, allowing the golfer to come down on a steeper angle of approach.
■ Swing down and hit three inches behind the ball. You might have to swing harder to extricate the ball from its buried condition.
■ You must try to stay down through the impact area as the downslope will make you want to pull out of the shot at impact.
■ Finally, don’t worry about getting it close because the ball will come out low and run a lot. The idea is just keep it on the green.
This problem of short-siding yourself on your second shot is a very common one for most amateurs.
Good advice for low scoring might be to try to keep the green in front of you and avoid going right at the pin. Since you don’t play for a living, go for the fat part of the green.
I would be interested in what you thought the hardest shot in golf is. Some people will say, “the next one.”
Send your replies to email@example.com and I will pick one and use it my next golf column. And, as I said, I am back in Naples now and you can call 1-800-765-3838 for lessons. Develop good course management skills and your scores will drop.