How to produce low shot for escape
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Korea Times Golf Columnist
Finding your ball in the trees, you have two options: hitting a low shot under them or a high shot over them.
When tall trees inhibit you from hitting a lofted shot, your only choice is to hit low under the branches.
What has to be done first to create a low shot is to visualize the path and trajectory. If the visualized shot calls for a 7-iron, for instance, avoid hastening to pick it up. To play it safe you need to hit with a 6- or even 4-iron.
Also crucial to producing a low shot is to position the ball at least two inches back in your stance of where it would normally be positioned. This means midway or a little bit right of it in your stance. That sets your hands in front of the ball, decreasing the loft of the clubface.
Similarly, you need to be sure that the majority of your bodyweight is on the left side at address. Keeping your hands in front of the ball at address with your bodyweight favoring the left side causes the clubface loft to be lessened.
Better yet, that setup position keeps the clubhead low to the ground through impact and follow-through for a sweeping motion, encouraging a low shot.
You'd better grip down on the handle of the club for better control with the clubface closed. The closed clubface reduces loft, resulting in a low trajectory with a right to left ball flight.
The easiest way to hit a low shot is to use the putter or driver. They are the two clubs in your bag that produce the lowest shot. In a situation in which you don't have to hit the ball far, the putter is your best choice.
To make a successful low shot you need to consider the lie of the ball. A ball in heavy rough cannot be hit low to the ground. To get the ball out of the tall grass you need to hit it with a downward blow, which produces a high trajectory.
For a low shot the ball needs to be on the turf or fairway or in light rough so that you can sweep the club to make a solid, clean contact at the back of the ball.
Of equal importance is to rotate your right forearm over the left through impact, which keeps the ball from soaring high.
The ideal lie for a low shot is hardpan. It appears to be hard to handle but it is not that hard once you learn to handle it properly.
To deal with the hardpan lie properly you need to set up with a square stance. Slightly widen your stance for a solid base and position the ball back toward the middle of your stance. That helps you hit the ball first, reducing the danger of hitting the ground behind the ball.
During the waggle keep your eyes on the front part of the ball and swing the club with your eyes fixed there. That enables you to hit the ball first.
Also, firm up your grip slightly after setup to restrict your wrist action for a controlled compact swing.
Focus on swinging the club back low to the ground so you can return it to the ball equally low. A flatter swing plane promotes a sweeping movement through impact, producing a low trajectory.
More importantly, focus on ending the swing as soon as impact is made so you can finish low. For a low shot it's imperative to finish low.