How to Handle Hardpan
An easy swing gets you home from bare, hard ground
By Donald Crawley
Top 100 Teacher
This story is for you if...
• You struggle from hard, grassless lies.
• You struggle from waste areas on desert courses.
• Your tendency from both lies is to skull the ball.
You've missed the fairway and landed on hardpan or in a waste area, but you're close enough to the green that you want to go for it.
If possible, use one of your hybrids (choke down if you're inside hybrid range). The extra loft makes this shot easier.
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HOW TO MAKE CLEAN CONTACT FROM BARE LIES
Position the ball just forward of the middle of your stance and hover the club above the dirt. Set your weight so that it slightly favors your left side. If your weight is too far forward, you'll swing too steeply and slam the club into the hardpan.
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You have plenty of club, so make a comfortable three-quarter backswing. If you swing any harder, you'll lose your footing (which isn't that great to begin with since your spikes can't dig into hardpan). As you swing back, feel like your body is turning but your chest isn't swaying just turning.
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Your goal is to strike the ball and the hardpan at the same time. Notice how your shoulders, hips and knees rotate toward the target. Turning like this on your downswing and all the way to your finish guarantees you won't come down too steeply and bounce the club off the ground.
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