By Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, PGA
2014 PGA Teacher of the Year
This is an exciting month for golfers in the Pacific Northwest as we play host to the U.S. Open Championship in just a few weeks. It is even more exciting that this event will take place at such a spectacular venue like Chambers Bay. I recently had the opportunity to practice some short game shots at Chambers Bay and I quickly realized the PGA Tour Players are going to need high lofted clubs to execute several shots around the heavily contoured greens. They’ll have to hit it high to score low, something many amateurs don’t understand and often times are not equipped to do.
There are two ways to stop the ball, hitting it with a higher arch or with spin. Carrying higher lofted clubs is the first step to getting your shots to do both. Tour players make fabulous shots around the green because they have the tools to do so. Many students I work with only carry a sand wedge, gap wedge and/or pitching wedge and do not understand the limitations these clubs have in many situations they are faced with on the course. Hitting a flop shot does not mean you have to open up a sand wedge like a pancake and try to scoop the ball into the atmosphere. Simply having a 60 or 64 degree club in your bag will allow you to get the required height needed to land the ball soft with minimal roll.
Executing a flop or high lofted shot without the proper club shrinks your landing area and reduces your margin of error considerably. To pull off a high shot with a 56 degree sand wedge requires a golfer to have more skill and more touch. With a high lofted wedge like a 60 degree Lob, you open up the opportunity to fly the ball close to the hole and keeping it there.
A 60 degree Lob Wedge is also a great tool from deep bunkers. I like to bump and run the ball whenever I can but when I do need the high shot to score low it is nice to have a golf club to make that happen.
If you desire to execute golf shots like a tour pro, know you can only do so if you have the proper lofted equipment. It may take a few lessons and several hours of practice time to learn how to use a high lofted club like a 60 or 64 degree wedge but the strokes you can save will be worth it. If you are looking for golf results now around the greens, your choice of golf clubs is very important for executing great shots and lowering your score.
Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen is the 2014 PGA National Teacher of the Year.