How to Hit From Hardpan

Even on hardpan, you need to hit down on the ball. <span class="picturesource">Gary Newkirk</span>

Playing a shot off hardpan is about as comfortable as playing the ball off a cart path. The baked lie may seem like a wrist-busting proposition, but if you concentrate on a few keys, you can scrape by.

1. Shorten your backswing. Make a three-quarter swing. It will help you maintain your balance.

2. Swing down... seriously! Just like hitting an iron shot from the fairway, you want to trap and compress the ball between the ground and the clubface. Try to pick the ball cleanly off the ground, and you'll likely hit it thin.

3. Don't worry about your club. The ground may look like cement, but you're only going to scrape the very top layer. Your clubs can take it.

Know the Rules: Pebble pinching
Your drive comes to rest in a bald patch of the fairway. The good news is you're not in a hazard, but the bad news is a stone is next to your ball. To move it you need a surgeon's hands. If the ball moves, Rule 18-2a says you incur a one-stroke penalty and must put the ball exactly where it was. If the ball doesn't move, your operation was a success.

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