|Golf Article - Lob Shot
"How do I hit a lob shot? When I have to
go over a sand trap, I either skull the ball over the green or chunk it into
the sand. What can I do to be more consistent?"
Chuck Reeves Perth
Although we might not have to play a lob shot
every hole, it is an essential part of the game. A lob shot that is executed
correctly can help you overcome a bad approach shot to the green. If you become
proficient with this shot, you will be putting a lot less pressure on yourself
to hit the perfect shot to the green. Therefore with less pressure to hit a
shot that lands on the green, you will probably hit better approach shots.
The lob shot can be played with either a lob
wedge or a sand wedge. It is the kind of shot you would use when you need the
ball to get up in the air and land on the green without rolling a great deal.
The 2-clubs that I mentioned above have the necessary loft to produce this
shot. Typically a sand wedge will have 56 degrees loft and the lob wedge will
have 60 degrees loft.
The key to playing a lob shot skillfully is
setting up to the ball correctly. You must keep your weight predominantly on
your left foot (right-handed golfers). Also our body should be pointing more to
the left of the target than usual. The reason we want our shoulders and hips
more to the left is to make it easier for our hands and arms to lead the club
through the ball. Now with the hands and arms free to move (without the body
being in the way) they can swing in a more natural motion. Kind of like when
you toss a ball underhanded.
To do this properly, set-up to the ball like
you normally would. Then drop back your left foot about 6 inches farther away
from the ball. Step forward with your right foot about 6 inches closer to the
ball. This will give you an open stance that will promote your body getting out
of the way of your hands and arms, as they swing the club through the ball.
The important thing to remember when you adjust
your feet is to keep the clubface pointing towards the target. We don't want to
have the clubface pointing to the left like your feet. That will cause the ball
to go to the left and also lower than you want it to.
With the open stance you won't have to worry
about clearing the lower body during the actual swing. You've already
positioned yourself for success before you swung the club. If your lower body
isn't cleared before you swing the club towards the ball, your weight will be
automatically pushed back onto your right foot. If your weight gets onto your
right foot, you will probably flip your wrists towards the ball.
When your wrists flip, that will cause the 2
problems you wrote to me about. If your wrists get sloppy and flip you will
most definitely hit behind the golf ball. After hitting behind the ball once or
twice, possibly dumping it in the sand bunker, you will probably flip even more
to miss the ground on your next shot and that will cause you to top or skull
the golf ball across the green.
So, what I'm saying is that in the lob shot,
hitting behind the ball and skulling the ball is caused by the same swing fault
- flipping of the wrists, which was caused by a bad set-up position. To stop
both faults we need to fix the set-up. The set-up should always be the first
part of the swing. It is as important as the actual swinging of the club. Think
of it this way - What is the first thing a good hitter in baseball does when he
steps into the batter's box. He gets his feet in the best position to be able
to direct the ball to the part of the field he wants to hit it.
This is done so that he will be in the best
possible position to produce a good swing. The same routine should happen in
golf. You want to be in the best position to hit the ball to your target.
What I do not recommend in the lob shot is to
try to open the clubface to produce loft. A sand wedge has plenty of loft to
get the ball up in the air. Also, when you open the face of the club too much,
you change the characteristics of the club. You will be adding bounce to the
club. This could cause the club to bottom out too soon behind the ball and then
bounce off the ground and hit the top half of the ball. The golf ball will in
all probability go flying over the green.
I do recommend you use a sand wedge instead of
a lob wedge. The lob wedge is a very unpredictable club. Clubs with a lot of
loft can be great tools to use to produce some stroke saving shots, but like
everything, too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. A lob has too
much loft and that makes it difficult to control the ball consistently. I can't
tell you how many times I've seen a player use a lob wedge and slide it right
underneath the ball. The ball just goes straight up, straight down and lands at
The high lob shot is a pretty shot to watch. It
can be a highly effective shot to help you score better. If not done correctly
it can also contribute to you scoring worse. If you do not set-up correctly for
the lob you will probably hit as many bad shots as you do good shots.
Marc Solomon, PGA, is the Director of The Hampton Golf
School at The Golf Club at North Hampton in Amelia Island, Florida
www.Golfmadesimple.com. He has been named as a
Top 10 Instructor in America under 40 and is regarded as the
Top Instructor in North Florida. The Hampton Golf School provides
golf instruction that is more beneficial than your ordinary golf lesson. If you
have the desire to improve, checkout his web site at www.Golfmadesimple.com.