Variety is the Spice...
I received an email from a reader who was asking about my recommendations for shot selection around the greens. Ben has been working on his chipping and pitching with his 60*lob wedge and has gotten quite confident in it, he says. So, his question is “Is this wrong? Should I be learning shots with different clubs around the greens?”
Well, Ben, I would be hard-pressed to tell you that something that is working for you is . . . wrong. How could it be? There are a lot of ways to hit good shots, but a key ingredient of any shot process is confidence. And if you have that, then you are much more likely to hit the shot you have envisioned. If that one-hop-and-stop shot with your 60 is the one that you just know will get you closer to the hole, then by all means, go with it.
That all said, what would be wrong with having a variety of shots in which you have that same confidence? If your technique is that good with the 60, my suggestion is to explore what happens if you use the same technique with the 56, or your gap wedge, or even your pitching wedge. Your confidence is in your technique and the 60 just the tool. When you are out playing a practice-type round, hit those shots with various other wedges, just to see what happens. The fun of this game is learning, in my opinion, and you can always have an “ah-ha” moment on these practice rounds.
Let me also offer this observation. It sounds like you get lots of spin on that little shot with your 60, and there are times when you don’t want as much spin, so that the ball will release. In those cases, take the lower lofted wedge and swing a little longer and slower, more like a pendulum. That will deaden the impact a bit, and impart less spin, so that the ball can roll out more reliably. This is a very savvy shot selection when you are trying to chip the ball up a slope severe enough that a “spinner” could check and roll back at you.
Another refinement in the chip shot, where you want the ball to release and roll out, is to think of turning the toe over a bit as you make contact, where the face is actually closing through the impact zone. This imparts a little “hook spin” to the ball and helps it release and roll on a reliable path.
So, having a “go to” shot around the greens is certainly an advantage, and it sounds like Ben has his “one-hop-and-stop” with that 60 to qualify there. It gives him that confidence when he really needs to get up and down. My only suggestion here is to increase the repertoire so that he has several “go to” shots around the greens to make him even more confident, inspire creativity when he faces a situation where that shot with the 60 might not feel just right.
Keep those questions coming, readers. I need to know what you want me to sound off about, so that this is always fun for all of us.
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