7 Trouble Shots You Need to Know


Trouble shots: phil mickelson

Phil Mickelson: Uneven Fairway Bunker Lie

The key to any shot from a tough lie is to make it as normal as possible. In this case, you’ll notice I’ve twisted my feet well into the sand, which stabilizes my stance and brings me down closer to ball level. I also flexed my knees at address and maintained that flex throughout the swing, so I wouldn’t need to pitch my upper body forward to reach the ball. The biggest challenge on shots like this is making precise contact. As you can see, I’ve kept my head still, my eyes riveted — that’s a great contact key.

Getty Image

Trouble shots: buried bunker lie

Hank Haney: Buried Bunker Lie

Set up with the ball in the middle of your stance and square the clubface to the target. Going back, hinge your wrists more abruptly, and then come down on a steep angle. This will help you get the leading edge under the ball as you blast out a big chunk of sand — and the ball with it. The sand will provide a lot of resistance, so don’t worry about getting to a perfect follow-through. Focus on making a firm, steep swing and driving your club under the ball.

Dom Furo

Trouble shots: butch harmon

Butch Harmon: Deep Rough Chip

Your sand wedge is the best choice here because you can use the extra weight in the sole to slide the clubface under the ball. With your weight forward, play the ball in the middle of your stance, and make a steep backswing by hinging your wrists right off the ball. To create the correct motion, picture the letter V: The steeper you swing the club back and down, the higher the ball will pop out on the other side.

J.D. Cub

Trouble shots: tom watson

Tom Watson: Playing Over Trouble

To execute this shot, I use one club longer than normal, because I’ll lose some distance with the higher-trajectory flight. To counter the lower loft of the longer club, I weaken my grip, setting my left thumb straight down the handle, but I keep the clubface square to the target. I set up with the ball slightly forward in my stance, with my hands a little behind it. Then I raise my left shoulder and lower my right shoulder, and kick in my right knee for stability. As I swing down and through this shot, I want to keep my head behind the ball and finish with my hands really high. A high finish helps produce a high shot.

J.D. Cuban

Trouble shots: bubba watson

Bubba Watson: Playing Under Trouble

When I’m trying to affect the height of a shot, I take care of most of the work in my setup. To hit the ball low, I play it off my back foot with my hands ahead so the shaft leans forward. This delofts the club, turning the 7-iron I’m holding here into something more like a 5-iron. Then I think about making a short backswing with an even shorter finish. I want my swing to stop with my hands in front where I can see them. I think most golfers could benefit from attempting more of these punch shots each round. When the ball doesn’t rise as high, it has less time to slide off line on its way down.

J.D. Cuban

Trouble shots: todd anderson

Todd Anderson: Ball Above Your Feet

From this sideslope, the clubhead will tend to sit on its toe, so when you sole it be sure the heel touches the ground. In effect, the angle of this slope makes the club longer, so stand taller and grip down an inch or two on the handle. The shaft will be more horizontal at address. The club moves more around your body, which creates more clubface rotation and can cause a right-to-left shot. Aim farther right to compensate. Also, expect a lower flight and more roll.


Trouble shots: david leadbetter water hazard shot

David Leadbetter: Playing From a Water Hazard

Before you try this shot, ask yourself two questions: (1) Is at least half of the ball above the water? (2) Do I have a pair of rainpants to slip on? If you answer no to either question, you might want to take a drop. But if the ball isn’t submerged and you don’t mind getting wet, think of this as a bunker shot. Grab a wedge, and open the face before taking your grip. Set up with your body aligned well left of the target. Make a steep swing and try to enter the water as close to the ball as possible. Don’t expect it to go far (and keep your mouth closed). Hit one or two of these a year, and you’ll be a clubhouse legend.


Bryan Bros became golf’s greatest trick shot team


How the Bryan Bros became golf’s greatest trick shot team

By Alex Myers

As a steady stream of golf trick shot videos began going viral early in 2014, Wesley Bryan began having thoughts of making his own. After seeing one particular video blow up on YouTube in which two guys teamed up at a range, Bryan had seen enough.”That’s a joke, George,” he said to his older brother. “Let’s just try it.”After making a video and posting it on Instagram and Facebook, the two brothers launched a YouTube channel on March 15. Just a few months later, the Bryan Bros have become a big deal in the world of golf trick shots thanks in large part to this video they made with a GoPro. Here’s a recent video they made for GolfDigest.com in which they pull off their shots while wearing glow-in-the-dark suits:http://condenastl3cdn.cust.footprint.net/videos/5445733761646d130f180000/f13f293c-31b1-4a30-a142-c8894feaf0b0low.webmSo what makes the Bryan Bros stand out (other than the glow-in-the-dark suits)? The fact that their shots are less about being tricks and more about actual golf skill. Both George, 26, and Wesley, 24, are professional golfers who were previously standouts at the University of South Carolina, boasting the school’s best and sixth-best career scoring records, respectively.”We pride ourselves on the fact we center it around real golf,” said George, who was a PING All-American three times.”Every shot is a great golf shot that we pulled off and you could hit on an actual course,” said Wesley, a former All-SEC selection who can hit a straight 275-yard drive out of the air. “So the reactions are authentic.”


The brothers’ main goal remains making it onto the PGA Tour. But both acknowledge their new hobby has helped with their actual day jobs.

“It’s taken some pressure off and eased my mind,” George said. “Pro golf is all I’ve thought about for four years so it’s nice to have a little outlet.”

“It definitely helps with creativity,” said Wesley, who added it’s changed how he’s viewed certain pressure shots. “I’ll have a tee shot and I’ll think if I threw the ball up and hit it, I’d have no problem hitting the fairway. If you can’t hit a fairway when the ball is just sitting there on a tee, you might as well go home.”

This year, George IV has been helping his father, George III, run his George Bryan Golf Academy in Chapin, S.C., while playing mostly one-day Carolina Mountain Tour events. Previously, he mainly played on the eGolf Professional Tour, where Wesley has spent much of this year. The two have been making videos during their free time, but now, they plan on turning the pro golf off-season into trick shot prime season.

“We’re going to be pumping out stuff,” said Wesley, who alluded to an upcoming NASCAR-themed video being in the works and that the two have been in talks to partner with some bigger names. And yes, they know who the Bryan brothers of men’s tennis doubles fame are and hope to do a video with them as well.

“There’s no group like us that’s primarily doing golf shots . . . that’s why we wanted to push it so hard,” George said. “Golf is trying to get younger and hip and we can fit that mold by bringing entertainment and fun.”


Players want Fred Couples to be the next Ryder Cup captain. How about the PGA of America

Players want Fred Couples to be the next Ryder Cup captain. How about the PGA of America

By Tim Rosaforte

This article first appeared in the Nov. 3 edition of Golf World. From Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on down, the players’ choice to be the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain is Fred Couples. Asked how many of the guys reached out to him via text or phone calls after the blowout loss at Gleneagles, Couples suggested it was the whole team: “When they all got home, they said, ‘We need you to do this.’ “loop-couples-players-captain-518.jpgThe question is whether the PGA of America wants Couples to do this as much as the players. Asked before the opening round of last week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship if he had been approached to be a member of the Ryder Cup Task Force, Couples shrugged and said, “You know, I’m not a PGA of America guy.”

Couples, 55, isn’t a “task force” guy, either, to the point that he puts air quotes around the term for the 11-member group created to determine what has been wrong with losing teams and fix it. He seems to agree with Jack Nicklaus’ assessment that the formation of the group is overkill.

“I don’t think we need the PGA of America straining on this,” Couples said.

Strain isn’t a word associated with Couples as he has gone 3-0 as Presidents Cup captain. To hear a few of the comments about Tom Watson’s leadership style, strain is a word that described the mood inside the team room. “He didn’t cradle his boys enough, and that’s what they need,” Couples said of Watson, who was one of his mentors in the early ’90s. “They need some love.”

Couples works off the advice of former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, who told him six years ago to include top players in his Presidents Cup decision-making. In Torre’s case, it was Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. In Couples’ case, it was Woods, Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker.

Couples says he wouldn’t have benched Mickelson as Watson did Saturday at Gleneagles. “Phil Mickelson has been the best [team] guy on every team I’ve ever been on, by far,” he said.

An inveterate watcher of all sports, Couples points to how San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sometimes turns timeouts over to team leader Tim Duncan. There was none of that kind of player empowerment at Gleneagles. Instead of being blunt, the way Watson was in the face of Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, Couples would have “cradled” his captain’s picks.

Couples doesn’t do rah-rah pep talks. The only speech made in his three team rooms was delivered by Michael Jordan before Sunday singles at Harding Park in 2009. Behind the scenes, Couples left Jay Haas to the administrative details — and groomed a future Presidents Cup captain.

On Couples’ teams, there was also a variation on the “pods system” that Paul Azinger successfully created for the 2008 Ryder Cup. At Harding Park, Couples actually assigned Jordan to a “pod” of rookies that included Anthony Kim and Sean O’Hair. One of the pods that won 3¿ points last year at Muirfield Village was Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker and Haas’ son, Bill. As Jay told me, he and Couples went into the matches knowing those four players were interchangeable.

But it’s not strategy that has been the secret to Couples’ surprising success as a leader. It’s the attitude. “I tell you why it’s so much fun,” Couples said. “Because I’m not going to make any of them nervous. I make them relaxed because I’m just another guy.”

Photo: Getty Images


World’s Spookiest Golf Courses Part 1

How To Roll Every Putt On Line

The way we’ve all been taught to play breaking putts will never work for most of us. Find the high point of the break, and then picture a straight putt to that spot. That advice, according to my testing of 700 pros and amateurs, works for only 35 percent of golfers. The other 65 percent don’t see in straight lines — they literally can’t — so using a straight-line system only creates conflict in their minds.

Players who make up that 65 percent see in curved lines. When they’re asked to aim at a spot that correlates to the amount of break they read, they usually aim twice as far off the hole than they intended. The reason is, curved-line putters picture the hole, and not a spot along the line, as their target. So when you have them aim at a spot — say, a foot outside the hole — they see that spot as their ultimate target, not as their starting line. Unless they make compensations, they’ll aim two feet out, and miss a foot wide.

In the late ’90s, I asked a group of clinical and sport psychologists to review my findings. They quickly pointed to parallels in other sports. Top-level pitchers, they said, tend to be straight-line thinkers: They see a stationary target — the catcher’s mitt — and take aim at it. Quarterbacks throw to a moving target, so they tend to be curved-line thinkers. Golfers fall on both sides.

But curved-line players have had no system for handling breaking putts. So I developed one. It’s based on picturing the hole as a clock face and focusing on where a putt should enter. If you have trouble rolling the ball on line, I’d bet you’re a curved-line putter. My method is for you.


by Mike Shannon,

Keys To Solid Iron Strikes

Butch Harmon
January 2013

On iron shots, hit the ball with the back of your left hand facing the target. Your hands will lead the clubhead, so the shaft is angled slightly toward the target at impact (above, left). This allows you to drive the club down and through the shot and take a divot after the ball. It also ensures that you hit from the inside for power and produce a penetrating flight.

Don’t try to roll your hands over at impact (above, right). With the club going 90 miles an hour, your brain doesn’t have time to tell your hands to do that with any accuracy. You can see here my hands have rolled too much, causing the clubface to shut and the shaft to tilt away from the target, which makes it hard to hit the ball solid. I’ll bet this one went low and left.


Butch's Basics


Most shanks come from too much right hand and arm on the downswing. The result is an out-to-in swing path and a clubface so closed at impact that the hosel has moved out toward the ball. A lot of golfers think the shank comes from the face being open–because the ball goes to the right–so they try to close the face more. Result: more shanks. Here’s a drill that can break the cycle. Place a headcover just outside the toe of your wedge at address, and practice hitting balls without touching the head-cover (see photo). You won’t close the clubface, and you’ll approach from the inside.

Winner’s Bag: What Billy Horschel used to win the BMW Championship

By E. Michael Johnson

Billy Horschel hits greens — lots of them. Coming into the BMW Championship the former Florida Gator ranked fourth on tour in GIR. Of course, that tee-to-green advantage has been mostly offset by what can only be described as mediocre-at-best putting, his rank of 100th in strokes gained/putting serving as evidence.
At Cherry Hills, however, Horschel continued to hit greens, ranking among the best in greens in regulation for the week with an odd iron configuration consisting of a Ping S55 3-iron, no 4-iron, then picking up the rest of the iron set 5-iron through pitching wedge. The difference maker, however, was his putter — a Ping Karsten TR B60 model that Horschel switched to earlier this year at the RBC Heritage Classic.
Horschel used the putter — which features grooves milled directly into the face as well as a SuperStroke Flatso Ultra oversize grip — to rank first in strokes gained, picking up an average of 2.975 strokes on the field per round. For this one week, Horschel not only hit greens, but performed well on them as well.
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Ping G30 (Aldila Rogue 60x), 9 degrees
3-wood: Ping G25, 15 degrees
5-wood: Ping G25, 18 degrees
Irons (3-, 5-PW): Ping S55
Wedges: Ping Tour Gorge SS (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Ping Karsten TR B60