I start working with the guys I coach on the specific shots they need to play well at Augusta National months before the event. But while everyone knows you need to turn the ball right-to-left with certain tee shots and putt well on those super-fast greens, we also work on a few shots that you might not know are just as important to play well at the Masters.
1. Chipping Off Really Tight Lies: Players never see tighter lies on chip and pitch shots than they do at Augusta National. During Masters week you know you're going to face a number of shots where the lie is so tight that you're afraid you can't get the clubface under the ball, so we'll work on making a more shallow chipping swing. We'll even chip off putting greens to practice. You've heard about how hard putting is at Augusta. Chipping can be even more difficult.
2. Approach Shots From Awkward Lies: We talk so much about length at the Mastersand it is importantbut Augusta National is still a second-shot golf course where you have to land your shot plus or minus one or two yards north, south, east or west to score. Augusta National doesn't reward good shots, only great ones. The difficulty is that the vast majority of the time players are going to be in situations where they have to control their balance and ball position to play from an uneven lie. One of the reasons Jack Nicklaus was so successful here was because he had such strong legs and could maintain his balance and get the ball high from uneven lies. Players with active leg action in their swings, like Greg Norman, have more difficulty with the uneven lies.
3. Half-Wedge Shots From 125 Yards and In: The most dangerous shot at Augusta National might just be a little half-wedge for your third shot on 15, because players don't appreciate just how downhill the lie is. Why do you think you see so many balls go into the water? No. 13 is another hole where you need this shot, especially with a back-tier pin that makes you lay up. Players need this half-wedge shot to make birdies on these holes, but they also need it if they get into trouble with their tee shots on 10 and 11, pitch out and need to save par. These shots just might be the difference between winning a green jacket and finishing in the middle of the pack.