Few decisions in golf test the mind of a golfer more than a ball just off the green. Stuck in the long grass just off the collar of the green, many players are tempted to hit a putter despite the grassy lie. Others reach for a wedge and hit a shot with too much loft to be accurate at such a short distance.
In many of these circumstances the best option is to actually putt with a sand wedge, pitching wedge or 9-iron, says Emily Stewart, an assistant golf pro at Black Butte Ranch.
“This is a great shot to pop the ball over the grass and let it roll to the hole,” Stewart explains.
The shot is actually quite simple.
First a golfer should choose a club, opting for a lower-lofted club the farther the distance from the hole.
Roughly, figure that the distance spent in the air is roughly the distance it should roll once it lands. (Though, like any putt, a golfer must read the green and make adjustments.) Then setting up identically as you would with a putter, make a firm putting stroke.
“You just can’t use any motion in your body,” Stewart says. “You are treating this club as a putter. It is no longer a wedge.”
There are some variations in the shot. A golfer’s stance can be slightly open, for instance, Stewart says. But more importantly, “You really want to focus in on your target,” Stewart says.
Use this shot, and those three shots from the fringe might very well turn into two. Like everything in golf, though, the key is practice.
“We recommend regular maintenance on this shot.” Stewart says. “You can practice this shot and you can become very good at this shot.”
For more information on how to take a lesson from Emily or any of our Black Butte Ranch instructors, visit BlackButteRanch.com/golf/lessons-and-instructions. The link also includes a calendar of Black Butte Ranch’s golf schools, clinics and camps.