CT Pan Makes Birdie From Sand-Filled Divot

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

The Wyndham Championship had some very interesting storylines heading into the final round.

Could Brandt Snedeker hold on and win after a historic first round? What players would earn enough points to play in the playoff? And would the charging C.T. Pan finish strong on the back 9 and challenge Snedeker?

Pan had his sights set on the final regular-season PGA Tour event, and by executing shots like the one below from a sand-filled divot on the 11th hole, he was able to keep his hopes alive. 


Pan has proven to be strong playing from the fairways — ranked 7th on Tour at 71.06% of Greens Hit In Regulation. Stats like that don’t come from being good just out of perfect fairways, he also is adept out of challenging lies as well. The perfectly balanced swing with effortless tempo on the the 11th hole is a great example of C.T.’s skill hitting greens in regulation. 

Let’s take a look at how he did it and what you can do to turn a bogey lie into a birdie putt!

  • Start by taking one club less than if the shot was in a normal lie. We do this because the adjusted setup will de-loft the club. Notice that Pan choked up on the club to also help control trajectory and adjust for the ball being above his feet.
  • Play the ball a couple inches inside of your back foot. This creates the shaft lean that de-lofts the club for us — why we clubbed down — and now the ball is located along our swing arc in a position where we will guaranteed to contact it first
  • On the backswing, hinge your wrists and and feel the clubhead stay higher than your hands throughout
  • The feel of the downswing and impact should be as if you are all arms and driving down into the back of the ball. If you execute this shot properly the half of the old divot the ball was in will be deeper than the other. This is simply because we had to dig down deeper than the level of terrain that the ball was resting in.

Remember, it’s okay to do some excavating when playing this shot. Take out your frustrations of drawing this bad lie on the back of the ball and the dirt underneath.

Trust the club to do the work; having confidence in hitting the ball first with a descending blow should free you up to swing in balance with Tour-like tempo.

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