Whether you’re on a links or a parkland track, British Open-style shots will save you strokes. Here are five moves to master, from UK native and Top 100 Instructor Jon Tattersall.
1. Wind-piercing drive
The common mistake is to tee it too low and swing too hard, resulting in a balloon ball with excessive spin. The goal instead is to catch it flush toward the top half of the clubface for a wind-boring shot with minimal spin. Here’s how:
1. Tee it lower but only slightly, with about half the ball showing above the top of the driver.
2. Place the ball about an inch farther back than usual in your stance.
3. Focus on swinging smoothly and in sequence.
4. If you’re playing into a crosswind, don’t fight it. Adjust your target line accordingly, take your normal swing, and let your ball ride the breeze. Leave the fancy shot-shaping to Bubba and the boys.
2. Knockdown iron shots
The best way to flight down, say, an 8-iron? Use your 6-iron and follow these guidelines. Here’s how:
1. Weight a bit forward, ball slightly back in your stance.
2. You want to feel like you’re “trapping” the ball between the clubface and the turf. And keep your head behind the ball through impact.
3. Taking two extra clubs makes guys decelerate and not turn the club over. The fix? Make a draw-type swing, fully releasing your hands and club around the body.
3. Escaping deep bunkers
Most pot bunkers on links courses are flat at the bottom, so you can’t count on using slope to help you get the ball up quickly. The high, soft shot you need requires this combination: speed through impact with an open clubface. Here’s how:
1. Wide stance, butt low, weight toward your toes, ball slightly forward.
2. Open the clubface with the shaft leaning a bit back so that the grip end is pointing toward your right leg.
3. Make a shallow swing, with the club on an inside path on both the backswing and the follow-through.
4. You want the clubface to remain open, so think of keeping the palm of your right hand facing skyward through impact.
5. To ensure that you’re using the bounce of the club properly, try to make a thumping sound in the sand and to carry some sand onto the green.
4. The pitch and run
To start, pick out precisely where you want the ball to land. Then focus on making clean, crisp contact. Here’s how:
1. Feet close together, weight slightly forward, ball a bit back in your stance.
2. Don’t try to “lift” the ball— let the club do that for you. Stay down through the shot, striking the ball with a descending blow.
3. On your follow-through, your right palm should face the ground, the opposite of what you want on a bunker shot.
To putt well on any course with slower greens and stiff winds, it takes a British state of mind. Here’s how:
1. Take a wider than normal stance, the better to stay stable in breezes.
2. Get more “wristy” with your stroke, meaning that the putterhead should move farther than the handle on both the backswing and the follow-through.