PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s natural to think that the closer you get to the hole, the better off you are. But anyone who’s seen a golfer blade a short shot over the green when hitting in the fairway knows that’s not always the case.
“Shots 50 yards in and in a lot of times I see amateurs struggle making good contact, especially on these tight lies where the ball sits very low to the ground,” said Tyler Smith, PGA teaching professional at Oak Hill Country Club.
It can be one of the most stressful shots in golf, but Smith says it doesn’t have to be that way.
“There are three things that I think about when I hit these types of shots,” he said Smith. “Number one, I focus on having a very narrow stance. That keeps us very balanced and keeps the low point of our swing in a good spot to make good contact.”
Keeping that balance is essential to interacting with the ball in a proper way and not digging into the turf, allowing the ball to skip off the turf and have some spin when it comes onto the green. Having the ball too far back in your stance will do that as well.
“Number two, when I’m setting up for this shot, I like to have my trail hand, my right hand (for a right-handed golfer), a little more on top of the grip,” said Smith.
That will help expose the club and once again help the club skip off of the ground and create the proper contact.
“So lastly, I want to make sure that my takeaway goes a little more up rather than in and around my body,” Smith said.
“What happens is that when we take that club in and around, a lot of the times the low point of our arc comes behind the ball a lot of times we see a thick shot, maybe a club digging into the group, or a thin one when we kind of stand up on it.”
The best way to build up your confidence in these shots is to practice it often in realistic situations that you’re going to find out on a golf course.
“I think if you’ve got your setup dialed in, you’re really going to see some nice results because that setup is so crucial when you have this small margin for errors on these tight lies here.”