Golfers are no strangers to trouble on the course. That’s why so much of our time on the course is spent playing “damage control.” That’s when you’re hitting shots from trouble while trying to minimize strokes. Often, damage control takes place away from the green. But sometimes it takes place close to the green.
When you play damage control close to the green, we call it getting up and down. Learning to get up and down with proficiency can really save you when you strokes when you’re in deep trouble. Put simply, if you’re going to break 80 consistently—and cut strokes from your golf handicap—you’ll need to master the art of getting up and down.
Sometimes, getting up and down involves making some really tough shots, like the short-side chip and super high bunker shot, These shots can drive you to drink. But you can’t afford to miss these shots because they can really drive up your score.
Below are golf tips on two of these tough greenside shots. Usually, we teach them to advanced students in our golf lessons. But learning them pays off for everyone sooner or later—even weekend golfers. If you can learn to hit these shots well, nothing around the green will scare you.
Super high bunker shot
Hitting a shot over a really high bunker lip is among the toughest shots in the game. Just ask the students in our golf instruction sessions. We make practice this shot often. And while it’s difficult, you can learn to make this shot if you remember the five golf tips below:
- Take an extra stance and set your weight forward
- Set up with your hands lower than normal and slightly behind the ball.
- Open the clubface so the toe doesn’t stick up in the air
- Make a narrow swing and keep your hands low and close to your body
- Let the club head release high and fast
These adjustments help increase the effective loft on the club. This will help you pop the ball over a really high bunker lip. One other thing: Try to avoid lifting your hands through impact. It slows your clubhead down and makes your sand wedge dig.
Short-sided chip shot
This shot gives many golfers fits—even some pros. One reason may be because you have a lot of options to hit here. The key is not taking an arms only swing. If you do, you’ll get too steep. This will cause you to catch the ball too thin or too fat. Below are four golf tips that will help you make this shot:
- Play the ball in the center of the stance, not back like many players do
- Keep your hands slightly ahead of the clubface to hit the ball at the bottom of your arc
- Swing on an arc and pivot gently around your front leg.
- Resist the temptation to make a short arms-only swing
Short-sided chips require more feel than the super high bunker shot. The secret to making them is not letting your hips slide toward the target. That’s a death knell. Instead, make a gentle pivot around your front leg—even on the shortest chips. That’s hard to do, but it pays off.
Adding these two shots to your repertoire will elevate your game to another level. They’ll not only help you make more up and downs, they’ll also help you break 80 and cut strokes from your golf handicap—two things every golf can live with.