Big Play: Phil's three-wood from the cart path

Big Play: Phil’s three-wood from the cart path

Phil Mickelson successfully blasted a ball off a cart path in his final round at the Memorial.
Jay LaPrete/AP

Who: Phil Mickelson
What: 232-yard three-wood off a cart-path
Where: 529-yard par 5 15th hole at Muirfield Village
When: Final round of the Memorial

It was a truly remarkable shot. Only once before have I seen such a great play off a cart path, and that was when Greg Norman striped a one-iron off a path. But we shouldn’t be surprised by Mickelson’s exploits, because that’s just the way he’s wired. Difficult shots are easier for Mickelson, while the easy shots are hard. That’s because he grinds more and concentrates better when the challenge is the greatest. Remember what we saw on 13 at Augusta in the final round? Mickelson roped a 207-yard six-iron through the trees to four feet. Always expect the unexpected from Mickelson.

Use the same swing and stance you’d use for a normal shot, except don’t try to lift the ball and avoid hitting down on it, or you’ll bang the path and not only miss the shot but also possibly injure yourself. The key is to have the club perfectly level as it goes through impact. With a fairway wood like Mickelson used, you want to contact the equator of the ball. With an iron, you should contact the ball a bit below the equator. On a difficulty scale of one to 10, the shot is a 12. Good luck.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Shawn Humphries is the director of instruction at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Tex.

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