How’d He Hit That: Pro’s Miraculous Up-And-Down

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

The European Tour is at Le National Golf in Paris, France. LNG will be the host site for the Ryder Cup in September so watching how professionals handle the course has been excellent. The leader, Marcus Kinhult, found some trouble on the 5th hole on Saturday, but escaped and kept his momentum going.

 

Kinhult made the greenside shot from knee-high fescue look too easy, even for a pro.

Let’s take a look at how he pulled it off, and maybe when your ball is wayward, finding it in the tall grass won’t be as bad as it’s previously been

 

The Lie

After a brief search, you locate the ball nesting in grass taller than the shrubbery around your house. Although we can’t be sure from the camera angle, it is safe to assume he did not have a clean look at the back of the ball. Therefore he had to plan for the club to be interfered with before impact. This is the major fault many amateurs make.

Anytime the club contacts the grass before the ball, we most likely will experience the face of the club shutting. The taller and thicker the grass, the more dramatic the effect. When it comes to knee-high fescue, the club can be totally shut at impact.

So how do you get out?

 

The Shot

Follow these keys to escaping the fescue like Marcus for a chance at a momentum-saving par:

  • First, opening the clubface at address in anticipation of it being closed down by the grass will ensure the loft of the club you are using will launch the ball high enough to escape and land softly on the putting surface.
  • Second, the deeper or more severe the lie is adjust the ball position properly. The deeper the grass, the further back in your stance you should play it. If the ball position is too far forward, the club will have no speed left after fighting through the rough to get to impact.
  • Third, once the ball position is set, tilt your spine angle away from the target to help add loft at impact. This can be done as an added measure if the lie is very bad and we do not want to risk burying the shot in the grass.
  • Fourth, adjust the swing plane to be sharper. On the way back, feel as though you are lifting the club more than normal, this will help to create a steep angle of attack and will also keep the club clear of being tangled in the fescue on the backswing.
  • Finally, transfer your energy through the ball. Fight the urge to hang back and help lift the ball — this could be disastrous. Instead, you can expect the lie to stop the club abruptly at impact, so expect a truncated finish.

With a longer shot, the less lofted club will require a more open clubface at address. Always try to plan for a steep angle of attack, limiting how much grass you have to contact before hitting the ball.

Remember, the goal is to advance the ball to the target. Pick an appropriate target — leave the heroics for another time. Marcus hit an excellent shot, perfectly executed and still had a lengthy par putt.

Don’t hesitate to venture off the perfectly manicured practice areas and try some shots out of heavy deep grasses. 

 

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