Recovery Shots To The Green

Take Your Performance Further

Most shots from the green are not going to be right down the fairway. Everyone sometimes miss the fairway. The specific strategies between the pros and us weekend golfers encounter something in our way most of the time. Could be a tree or a larger object. So when you close your eyes, swing hard and hope for the best, it usually doesn’t work out so good.

Depending on which course we are playing this week, we all want to be able to play our best golf. Most of the time we have played this course a number of times, but we never know where the hole on the green is going to end up. I knew a guy who used to do that, redo the holes on the greens. At the time I never knew that’s what they do.

We all have to have the mind set before trying to hit the ball. You can get over, under and around these objects and even get the ball onto the green. With some practice, these recovery shots will help you play a better game.

1 – You have a tall tree between you and the green. As long as you have a fairly clean shot, this can be done. To execute this shot, it will be in the setup. Take a wide stance (almost like when your on the tee) and play the ball forward. The rear shoulder is lower than the front shoulder, which will shallow out the swing and give you a higher shot. As you start the swing and the club comes back, keep your hands far from your body.

Your arms are straight out at the top of your swing. Putting some fade on the ball will give you better height. In a high launch swing, the hands are high and there is a lot of extension.

2 – For a low shot under branches. When you have to keep a shot low under branches and it’s vital to be able to miss the first branch. If you hit that, it could mean that you would be farther away from the green. But strike an object that’s further ahead, there’s a chance for a positive result. Most of the time a branch is thinner at the end, so it’s better to shoot towards it’s end. A 1/2 inch could mean the difference in this shot.

To take this shot, grab a long iron and set your feet in a narrow stance having the ball toward your back foot. About 60 to 70% of your body weight should be on your front foot. There shouldn’t be a lot movement when you swing. Your weight should be constantly pressing forward. Limit your shoulder turn as well. Your left shoulder should basically stay in the same place throughout the swing. This helps strike the ball solid.

3 – Now comes the hook shot. There is a massive tree or rock ahead and the only way around it would be to work the ball right to left. The only way to pull this shot off would be to have a circular swing. You are going to have to change how you turn your shoulders to execute this shot. Hold a club across your chest and rehearse swings so the shaft remains roughly parallel to the ground throughout the swing. This will be for less shoulder tilt than in a typical iron swing.

The main thing here would be to keep the right shoulder-high. In doing this the right hand mirrors the position of the club face, which should be closing aggressive through impact to make the ball hook. As you come to the finish, the position of the hand should not be higher than the chin. You have to swing through on a flatter, more circular path and the ball will curve around the troubled spot. A hook swing needs to be more circular and the way to do that would be to change how you move your shoulders.

4 – The Slice. Even though everyone of us can hit a slice, it’s much better when we hit one that we want and in a controlled manner. If you are hidden behind a tree trunk and you have to go around it from either side, this is a shot that would be not so easy to do. However, the amateur has a tendency to aim their shot and windup hitting the object they are trying to avoid. So give our self plenty of room to curve the ball around the object.

To slice it, set up your weight on your back foot and keep it there throughout the swing. By keeping your weight on your right side it prevents your hands from swinging down at the target…….a move that sends the ball straight or left. Instead, let the hands leave the impact zone to the left with the club face open, still feeling your body weight hanging back.

5 – When there is no back swing, focus on the wrists. It always feels like, “just my luck”, when we find ourselves braced against a bush with little or no room to make our back swing. Never give up and take an unplayable yet. There is usually a way to advance the ball some distance, no matter how awkward it may seem.

When you don’t have any room to turn with your shoulders, you have to use your wrists quickly for the power. A surprising amount of speed can be generated this way. Most of these type of shots would require a narrow stance, which is a good thing. With the narrow stance it creates a steep angle of attack, for you to get the most out of this choppy, little swing. Because there would be a forward shaft lean, choose an iron with a fair amount of loft.

Do not pull the club back to far, or you may hit the object you are trying to avoid, and then the shot could be flubbed. It would also be smart to take a few practice swings, before you try to get out of this situation. This will help you to have the right mindset when you advance to the ball and hopefully pop it to the green.

Before Lasers

There are some caddies better than others. The ones that would walk the course before a tournament to create a yardage book would have the advantage over the ones that didn’t walk the course beforehand. So when I go to the course nowadays, it’s the first thing I ask a caddy, who usually knows the course, if there are any large obstacles out there. Whether I use him or not. But then nowadays there are all kinds of Range Finders that are able to be used.

The Different Clubs

You have so many manufacturers out there, which clubs are you suppose to choose. All I can tell you would be to get the ones you are most comfortable with while playing the game. You have Cleveland, their motto “Don’t just hit it, Launch It” and then you have Titleist that claims “High Strength” with high density tungsten weights in the heel and toe of their $1300 AP3. Don’t forget the balls “Where You Can Take Your Performance Further” with the Srixon.

Where does it end. With the Cleveland, Ping, Callaway, Evnroll, Odyssey, Argolf or the Happy Putter. No matter what set of clubs we use, the whole idea would be to have a good time with our friends and family. Oh Oh I just saw the “Short Game Changer” from Cleveland. And then you have Ping “Goes Where No Driver Has Gone Before”.


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