The Big Play: How to Hit Legendary Shots Like Phil Mickelson

Phil-mickelson-theshot_660x Who: Phil Mickelson What: 205-yard 6-iron to four feet When: Final round of the Masters Where: 510-yard par-5 13th hole at Augusta National
Mickelson is not as all-out aggressive as he used to be. You could see that in the final round of the Masters when he just tried to finish the front nine around par so he would be in contention on the back
nine, where he knew he could go low. Also, his second shot at 13 was
not as crazy as it looked on TV. He had a perfect lie in the pine
straw, with his ball sitting up, and the gap between the trees was
bigger than it appeared. In fact, the gap was so big, at least in
Mickelson's eyes, that he nonchalantly approached the shot and never
debated whether he'd go for the green.
Add in the fact that he hit a 6-iron, and there wasn't too much risk. The key to hitting off pine straw is judging the lie. If
the lie is good and the ball is sitting up, you need to catch the shot
a bit thin to ensure a solid shot. That's because with the ball sitting
up, you have to make sure that you don't hit down in the straw and below
the ball. To catch it a bit thin, the swing should be a bit
shallower and more rounded than normal. Groove that motion by making practice swings like you're swinging a baseball bat, so the club swings
around your body. Then hit the shot.
If the ball is in a bad lie and nestled down in the straw,
you need an extra-steep angle of attack. For this, take extra steep
practice motions. Also, don't attempt a full shot. Hit a layup. It's
common to catch these shots heavy, and the ball won't go as far as
normal. Golf
Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brad Redding is the director of instruction at
the Resort Club at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Photo: Robert Beck/SI

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