The players at Augusta National will handle difficult tight greenside lies with seeming ease. Here’s how you can, too.

By Brad Skupaka

If there’s a single shot around the green ailing the vast majority us, it’s the pitch shot from a tight lie. Especially with extra firm or wet turf conditions.

This can perplex many of us as we watch the Masters and see players handle these shots with ease, considering the precarious nature of Augusta National’s greenside areas. So, let’s talk tight lies and a quick setup change to help create your own masterful skills with these shots.

All about that bounce

Wedge BounceYou may have been told you should use the “bounce” of your wedge with shots around the green, but what does this mean? And what is bounce?

The bounce of a club is the angle between its sole and the ground, when the shaft is perpendicular to the ground. This angle helps the club shallow out at impact so it doesn’t dig like a shovel.

To use the bounce means the approach of the club at impact is shallow enough that the bounce’s effects do in fact keep the club from digging, instead of a steeper approach that can cause its leading edge to overtake the angle and get caught up in the ground. This often leads to a chunked shot.

… and setup

A steep approach like this often occurs from setting up with the ball too far back in the stance (toward the trail foot), and the handle too far forward. Even on well-executed shots, this type of setup often creates a trajectory launching low with very little spin, which makes it tough to control the shot’s roll-out and reach tucked pins.

Incorrect ball position for chipping from tight lies

The best wedge players conversely tend to place the ball more toward the middle of their stance, with the handle nearly vertical at address. This position is key because it naturally shallows out the club at impact, with the handle directly over, or just slightly ahead, of the ball. This type of setup uses bounce effectively the way it was designed, and even from the tightest of lies, you’ve now still got a fighting chance.

Good ball position for chipping off tight lies

A setup like this not only helps your consistency with these shots, but should also loft the ball higher and allow it check up quicker once it lands.

So, as you’re watching players masterfully handle some very tough shots at Augusta this week and wonder how they make it look so easy, learn to approach these shots more like them and you’ll be on your way to tight lie mastery yourself.


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