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Furyk: How to Hit the 20 Most Difficult Shots

Jim Furyk, Putting
Marc Serota
75-foot Putt: Play the ball back to guard against catching it thin with a longer stroke.

It takes a tough guy to play a tough shot. So when you told us which ones give you the most trouble, we asked the Tour's resident tough guy, 2003 U.S. Open champ Jim Furyk, how to make short work of them. If John Wayne were still around, we think the rawboned, no-nonsense Pennsylvanian would be the Duke's favorite player.

"Most amateurs get intimidated by tough shots," Furyk says. "When this happens you tense up and forget about the keys to escaping the situation you're in. Relax. Run through your checklist of how to adjust your stance and swing. You don't always have to hit it a foot from the cup — be realistic with your expectations and knock in a 10-footer once in a while."

Got that, pilgrim?

TROUBLE SHOT 20: 75-foot Putt

The situation: You missed your target on the green by a mile and now need two good putts to save par.

Why it's difficult: The length will magnify any errors in your initial read and speed.

The solution: The first thing you should do is walk the length of your putt, noting with your feet any change in slope. Pay special attention to the second half of the putt because as the ball loses speed it will be more affected by slope. Once you have a feel for the pace, walk back to the ball, take your stance and make the same motion you'd use for a short putt. Obviously, your stroke should be longer, but it shouldn't be faster. Since it's easier to hit the ball thin with a longer stroke (causing it to bounce instead of roll), position the ball one inch farther back in your stance than normal so you can catch it on your downstroke.

TROUBLE SHOT 19: Double-Breaking Putt

The situation: Your read tells you the putt is going to bend in one direction and then in the opposite direction as it gets closer to the hole.

Why it's difficult: You don't know which break is bigger. Plus, it's hard to determine the correct starting point on a putt that breaks twice.

The solution: After a first read, walk to where you think the ball will change directions. Make a practice stroke like you're trying to make the putt from there, and sense how the slope will affect the ball as it nears the hole. Return to the ball and focus on getting it to the turning point at the right speed. Pick out a mark three feet in front of you to make aim easier. Get the ball rolling to the turning point and let gravity do the rest. — Top 100 Teacher Peter Kostis

TROUBLE SHOT 18: Ball Below Your Feet

The situation: When you take your address in the fairway the ball is well below your feet.

Why it's difficult: Your club can't reach the ball from your normal address position.

The solution: All you really need to do is stand closer to the ball. This makes your club a little longer so you don't hit the shot thin. The only other change is to aim a little bit left because this lie almost always produces a left-to-right ball flight. The farther you are from your target, the more the ball will fade. Once you've made these adjustments, the most important thing is to make your normal swing — the more you try to manipulate the club, the more likely you'll hit a bad shot. — PGA Tour Player Heath Slocum

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