Martin's Blog: Master the toughest shots you face


CHAPTER 33: Long Game Special
We teach hundreds of tips a year on School of Golf but there are just some shots I can’t properly teach inside the studio. This week, we got out to Ibis Golf & Country Club for a Long Game Special. Here’s a recap of three of the key shots:

1. Rough: There isn’t just one shot out of the rough, a lot depends on the distance and lie. If your ball is buried deep down in the nasty stuff, it’s best to forget about hitting it on the green. Instead, take a lofted club, like an 8-iron, and just gouge it out. Put the ball back in your stance, put a lot of weight on your front foot through the swing and make sure to hit the ball with a steep angle of attack. If the lie isn’t bad you still want a steep angle of attack, but going for the green is now an option. Take one more club than you normally would for that distance, aim a bit to the left, open the clubface slightly at address and feel like you’re going to hit a cut. Finally, if the lie and distance dictates, using a hybrid from the rough may be your best option. Choke down on the grip, take a ¾ backswing with a ¾ follow through and focus on making solid contact.

2. Uneven lies: There are four uneven lies that every golfer needs to know how to play. When the ball is above your feet, aim a bit to the right, bend the knees more than normal, stand a bit more erect at the waist, choke down on the club and swing on a flatter plane, planning for a draw. When the ball is below your feet aim a bit to the left, keep the knees still, bend at the waist, hold the club at its full length and swing steeper than normal, planning for a fade. From an uphill lie you need swing up the slope. Take about two more clubs and expect the ball to come out higher than normal. From a downhill lie you need to swing down the slope, take less club than normal and expect the ball to come out lower than normal.

3. Fairway bunker: This is one of the most difficult shots in the game for amateurs. I’ve found the best way to get it out and on target consistently is to put the ball up in your stance, choke down on the grip, stand tall at address, get your arms fully stretched and swing with the feeling of your wrists not doing much. This should allow you to pick the ball clean from the bunker and knock it at your target with a lower than normal ball flight.

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Martin’s Library: “The Game for a Lifetime” by Harvey Penick

In this video segment, Martin breaks down what he views as the single best tip from Harvey Penick’s book “The Game for a Lifetime,” and he wants you to focus less on your backswing and more on your finish. Watch Video

Next week’s show: Chapter 33: Year End Special, Wednesday 7PM ET

• 'I’ll give you a four-point plan to practice and really improve over the offseason, and I’ll also share some of my favorite putting, pitching and long-game tips. We’ll also look back at advice from some of the best guests over the past year, including Arnold Palmer and Dave Stockton, and Holly Sonders will assist with the instruction.

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