WHO: Charl Schwartzel
WHAT: 120-foot bump-and-run hole out with a six iron for a birdie
WHERE: 445-yard first hole at Augusta National
WHEN: Final round of the Masters
Schwartzel hit a lot of fantastic shots in the final round, including his holed-out wedge for eagle at the third hole and the birdie putts on each of the last four holes. But the bump-and-run hole-out for birdie at the first hole was definitely the best shot of the round. That shot had the highest level of difficulty, because he had to run the ball through 20 yards of rough and up a hill, and then on the green the ball took a lot of break as it rolled toward the cup. Schwartzel's fellow countryman and admirer, Gary Player, called it "... as great a shot as I've seen at Augusta."
You've got to use the leading edge of the clubhead on a bump-and-run or low pitch. By that I mean you must drive the leading edge down into the ball and then the turf.
Position the ball a little further back than normal in your stance so the ball is even with your right (or back) heel. Also, tilt down your left (leading) shoulder so that it feels a little lower than the right shoulder at address. Getting into that position forces you to get your hands ahead of the ball at address, and doing that insures that you contact the ball first, and not the turf. At impact, be sure you're hitting the ball with a descending blow and that the hands are ahead of the clubhead.
My favorite drill for practicing this shot is called "Miss a penny, take a penny." Put one penny on the ground four inches behind the ball. Place a second penny two inches ahead of the ball. In the backswing and while the club approaches the ball, avoid hitting the penny that's behind the ball. At impact, take out the penny that's ahead of the ball. If you do that, you will have correctly hit the ball first.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim Suttie teaches at the Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla.