Closely mown areas like No. 2's require decisions


The U.S. Open provides the best players in the world with one of their toughest challenges each and every year.

This year will be no exception, as the national championship tees off Thursday on Donald Ross’ masterful design at Pinehurst No. 2.

As with most Ross courses, players can expect extremely challenging greens and closely mown areas around those greens that are difficult to maneuver.

The technique used to get the ball close to the hole from a closely mown lie can be very different from when the ball is in taller grass.

Follow these tips to make sure you perform your best when you find yourself in a closely mown area around the green:

Club selection. My first rule when around the green is to use the putter if at all possible. Closely mown areas can offer several opportunities to use your putter. But sometimes the shot is either too long or you need to carry the ball over a steep slope or obstacle. In this case you want to select a club that will create your desired ball flight. Just make sure whichever club and shot you pick is one that you’ve spent time working on in practice.

Land the club on the ground like an airplane. In Andrew Rice’s video “Wedge Project” he discusses how your club should stay as close to the ground as possible for as long as possible through impact. This means trying to hit down on the ball steeply is a bad idea that will result in inconsistent contact. "Landing" the club on the ground through impact can be achieved by using little to no wrist action in the swing and rotating your upper body to swing the club. You will also notice that there is little to no divot when you execute this shot properly.

Go for the draw. In order to “land” your club, it needs to come in shallow and from inside the target line. The draw, a shot that curves from right to left for the right-handed golfer, is created with a swing path that is from the inside and shallow. Practice this by placing an alignment rod in the ground on your target line about 10 feet in front of the ball. Make the ball start just right of the stick then slightly curve left back to the target (do the opposite for left-handed golfers).

For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your chipping, click here.