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Breaking 80: Gain control of strategy
Created on 4/1/2001 12:00:00 AM

Breaking 80: Gaining Control 

Most people use too much wrist cock (inset) to hit the lob shot. You don't need much. Instead, make the swing an arm-and-body motion.

You have to be able to play your tee ball to break 80. You can be in light rough, but you can't be chipping out, taking penalty strokes or re-teeing. Learn how to manage your game and keep your emotions under control. Also work on some specialty shots like those described here.

Take the wrists out of the lob shot
Most people use too much wrist cock to hit the lob shot. You don't need much. Too much wrist action makes it hard to control your distance and gives you more chances to lay sod.

Instead, make the swing an arm-and-body motion. Maintain the loft on the club and take a bigger swing, with just a little wrist cock. It's easier to control the big muscles, and they'll help you hit these shots more consistently.

Learn the many ways to keep it low
You've got all kinds of choices when you want to hit it low. Playing it back in your stance, opposite your right toe, is the most common way. Keep your shoulders level, and finish low. My favorite way to keep the ball low is to use more club and swing softer. Less loft will help the ball stay low anyway, and the easy swing puts much less spin on the ball. Spin makes the ball rise.

Remember--when it's breezy, swing it easy.

Putt like a pendulum
On long putts, many players make a short, quick backswing, then a long finish. A better stroke is the same length back and through. Count to yourself (1 ... 2 ... ) as you try it.

Play the wind, don't fight it
If the wind is blowing left to right, adjust for that when you aim. Even in a crosswind, take more club, because your ball will be fighting the wind during the first part of its flight.

Lay back, don't lay up
The worst mistake when playing safe is to get greedy and lay the ball up too close to a hazard. Stay safely away from any trouble.


Golf Digest April 2001



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