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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 Amboy, N.J.


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 their feet.

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 – 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


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