It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again: best of the year list season is upon us. With fewer than 10 Tiger Tuesdays remaining before Christmas, we’re counting down Tiger Woods’ 10 best shots of the year and how you can implement his shot types into your own game with PGA Professional and SwingU instructor Aaron Ungvarsky’s help.
It is never too early to start looking towards next year’s Masters. And with Tiger Woods firmly back, we think this shot from this past year is a contender for one of his best of the season! The 11th hole at Augusta National, White Dogwood, is the start of Amen Corner and the beginning of the end for many rounds. Demanding from the tee shot all the way down to four feet from the cup, this hole gets players’ attention.
Tiger overplayed his fade off the tee, but ended up with a decent lie and somewhat of an angle at the green. Most players forget about the flag on this hole and hope to hit the right side of the green. Ben Hogan is on record as saying if he hit the green he pulled his shot! The pond left of the green is a magnet for misplayed approaches and most players favor the collection areas and even gallery well right of the green. Not Tiger.
Woods drew a lie in the rough — but let’s be real, the rough at The Masters is most likely better than the fairway you play off of — so the main issue was keeping the ball from working right-to-left. He elected to play a trap-fade, and although that sounds like something you should leave to the professionals, it is easier to execute than you think.
The key to ensuring the ball has no chance of working left is a swinging a clubface that is open to the path. The problem many amateurs face when attempting to play a fade is they end up hitting a push, which often sends the ball into the trouble you were looking to work it around.
Watch how Tiger has a swing path that is very steep and out-to-in. Many players feel and think this swing motion and path will only send the ball left, resulting in a pull or pull-hook, but pay close attention the clubface in the video: it stays open to the path the entire time. Even though Tiger takes the club back hooded or closed, the extreme out to in path through the ball is severe enough that a closed clubface is still open to the path, resulting in an aggressively struck low trap-fade.
The low trajectory allowed Tiger to land the ball in front of the green and use the terrain to slow the ball down.
The finish is for good measure, and it’s worth noting Tiger may do an Arnold Palmer finish better than The King himself. You can give this bit of flare a try and there is merit when playing the fade.
Allowing the left or lead elbow, for a right-handed golfer, to stay ahead of the grip and clubhead you ensure the face will not rotate closed. This aspect of the swing may be better off left to the pros, but you’ll be surprised how effective a chicken-wing finish can be when utilized properly.