Big Play: Affrunti’s wedge from a divot to 10 feet for birdie to secure Tour card

November 1, 2010

WHO: Joe Affrunti
WHAT: 115-yard wedge from a divot to 10 feet for a birdie
WHERE: 557-yard par 5 18th hole at the Daniel Island Club
WHEN: Final round of the Nationwide Tour Championship

Affrunti, a 29 year-old Nationwide tour rookie from Chicago, entered the tournament 34th on the money list, so he needed a great week to jump into the top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card for 2011. After 54 holes, Affrunti was tied for fourth, but that wouldn’t have been good enough to secure his card so the pressure was intense. Affrunti came to 18 tied for third, which would have given him enough money to get a card, and he needed a par to hold his position.

After a good drive, Affrunti laid up with an iron but his ball rolled into a divot. Now the pressure was really ratcheted up, yet Affrunti didn’t flinch. He expertly hit a wedge that landed 15 feet right of the hole and spun left to 10 feet. One putt later, Affrunti had realized his lifelong dream of reaching the PGA Tour.

The key to any shot from a divot is to contact the ball first and not the turf. To do that, you must keep your shoulders fairly level at address and throughout the shot.

Here’s a setup routine that’ll assure your shoulders are level. Stand up to the ball holding the club just with your right hand. Next, lay your left arm along your left side. Now, slowly run your left hand down the side until the hand reaches the outside of the left knee. Then bring over the left hand to the grip and grip the club. Your shoulders will be basically level.

The other adjustment to make at address is to apportion your weight so you have a 70%-30% ratio favoring the left side.

With those two setup modifications, you can take a normal swing. The modifications will help you to contact the ball first and hit a solid shot from the divot.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brad Redding is the Director of Instruction at THE RESORT CLUB AT GRANDE DUNES in Myrtle Beach, S.C.