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Master Your Short Game

 

flop-shot-1.jpgAnother exciting Masters is in the books. Massive drives, precise approaches, broken hearts and putting prowess were on full display at Augusta National. But if you’ve paid close attention to the tradition unlike any other throughout the years, there’s one thing you’ve probably noticed…every Masters champ shares one thing in common: a masterful short game.

The humps and bumps of Augusta National demand imagination and perfection around the greens.  Remember Tiger Woods’ epic chip-in on the par-3 16th in 2005 which catapulted him to his fourth green jacket? How about in 1987 when Larry Mize’s pitch shot on the par-4 11th found the bottom of the cup to beat Greg Norman in a playoff?

Mastering your short game will shave strokes off your round immediately, so the LostGolfBalls team is here to help with three basic shots that will turn you into a master around the greens.

bump-and-run.jpg                                                                                                              Image Source: http://danbubanygolf.com/todd-sones-lower-your-score-with-one-lever/
Bump-and-Run:
 Best used when there’s a lot of real estate to cover and you need to get the golf ball rolling quickly, the bump-and-run is your safest choice around the greens. Here’s how to do it:

Use a lower-lofted club (like an 8- or 7-iron) and set up with your feet slightly open and close together. Keep your weight forward (this prevents you from falling back and catching it thin) and swing the golf club like stroking a putt (some golfers even use their putting grip). Next, pick a quarter-sized spot on or off the green where you need to land the ball and simply focus on hitting it to that point. It’s a shorter swing, so less can go wrong; think of it like a big putt.

Perfect-Pitch-Shots2.jpg                                                                                                           Image Source: http://danbubanygolf.com/todd-sones-lower-your-score-with-one-lever/
Pitch:
 When you need to get the golf ball up in the air yet travel a short distance, the pitch shot will be your best friend. Many golfers know pitch shots require less force, but they dial back power in the wrong way.  Here’s how to hit the proper pitch:

Use a higher-lofted club (pitching wedge to lob wedge) and set up with your feet close together and square to the target. On the backswing, let your wrists hinge slightly so the handle stays close to your midsection. Keep your lower body fluid during pitch shots, so a little hip turn is ideal. On the downswing, let your arms pass in front of you and turn your lower body toward the target with your hips level; your hands and grip should finish almost in your left pocket (for right-handed players). Important to note, maintaining clubhead speed is key on this shot and you create it by releasing your hands, not by tugging the handle.

phil-mickelson.jpg                                                                                                                                Image Source: http://10-themes.com/465086.html
Flop:
 Minimal green to work with?  Need to get the golf ball up fast and stopped quickly? Flop shots are the most difficult to pull off but the most useful in short-sided situations. Here’s how to hit a golf ball high and make it land – as David Feherty once said – like a butterfly with sore feet:

Use your highest lofted club (60- or 64-degree wedge) and set up with your feet close together. Open the clubface as much as you can (clubface to the sky) and shift your weight so the majority is on your front foot (around 80%; this is to avoid falling back, hitting up and thinning it over the green). On the backswing, hinge your wrists to keep the clubface open. On the downswing, maintain clubhead speed by releasing your hands; it’s important here to allow the clubface to pass the hands at impact. Be sure to practice this shot plenty before taking it to the course.

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As the largest recycler of used golf balls we've come to know just about everything there is to know about them. From "The Best Ball For You" to "Pro V1 vs. Pro V1X", we've done all the research and can't wait to share our knowledge with golfers everywhere.

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