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Swing Tip: Learn to Turn

Bruce Morser

Photo: Bruce Morser

With more architects and superintendents endeavoring to infuse a linksy feel into their courses, the ground game is back in vogue, which means you’re likely to be faced with more long-distance bump-and-runs. The natural thought as you try these shots is to keep things simple, to use your basic chipping technique and just add some force to it. But that’s not going to get the job done.

Anyone who has tried to bounce and run a shot from forty to eighty yards out using the same arms-and-hands technique that works on greenside chips will understand the problem: You won’t be able to control the direction of the shot. That’s especially true when nerves are involved. More often than not, the tension will cause you to pull the ball. If you’re staring down a run-up shot of any significant distance, what you’ve got to do is bring the torso into the swing.

When you’re practicing these punch shots, keep the following ideas in mind:

  • Swing with an “all chest” feeling. Many a British golfer has been taught to think “stomach and buttons” as he works on this shot on the range. Turn your chest away and then through to the finish. If at that point your shirt buttons are facing the target, the clubface will have taken care of itself and your ball will be moving right along the line you picked out.
  • To fine-tune that feeling, pay attention to your knees. Turning your chest through the swing as indicated will make your right knee kiss your left knee at the end of the swing.
  • Take aim at a very definite target. If you have trouble getting the feel of how to aim, a great trick is to set up without a golf ball, then work directly through your forward swing and up to the finish, holding that position. Don’t take a back swing—just move from address to finish, and stay there.
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