Senn Golf Academy's Newsletter

How to take a little off an Iron

August 22, 2013

There are many times when a three-quarter shot makes sense. It could be that you're between clubs, or you need to flight the ball under a head wind, or maybe you just want more control, particularly with your short irons. Despite its versatility, the three-quarter shot has always raised questions: Does the term refer to the length of the backswing? The speed of the swing? The distance the ball flies? Interpret it the wrong way, and you'll struggle to hit this shot.Think of it simply as hitting a shot less than the club's full potential. You're not swinging flat out, and the way to do this is to quiet your lower-body action. Your legs and hips are fairly active on full shots--your right knee and foot kick in and your pelvis rotates fully toward the target. For a three-quarter shot, keep your right foot flat on the ground as long as possible (below). This helps you stay down and maintain your spine angle for good contact. Your swing will feel a little restricted, but resist the urge...

Pick your Battles on Par 3's

August 22, 2013

I'm always surprised when players will lay up on a par 4 or 5 but won't do it on a difficult par 3, especially when the odds of hitting and holding the green are long. Golf is about thinking one shot ahead: Where's the best possible place to play the next shot?I laid up on the 230-yard 16th at Cypress Point in the old Crosby tournament when it played into a strong wind. I hit an iron to the bailout area on the left rather than having to carry water all the way to the green.On the long par 3 shown here, the narrow green is protected by bunkers, with a small landing area on the right side. Many of you would have trouble carrying the ball with enough height and distance to land it on the green (top photo)—and stop it if you did. Your best and safest option (and maybe mine) would be to hit a much easier tee shot short and right (bottom photo). From there, you'd have a lot of green to pitch to, and you'd pretty much ensure not making worse than a bogey. Might even save par.Read...

Finish High to Hit High

August 22, 2013

Sometimes up and over is your best bet, here is how you do it:What do you do if you have to hit over a tree—or execute any high shot, for that matter? What you shouldn't do is try to scoop the ball in the air with a wristy swing. If you do, you'll probably hit it fat or thin.In the situation below, it doesn't make sense to try to scoot the ball under the tree because of the narrow run-up to the green. I have to go high and try to fly it there.To execute this shot, I use one club longer than normal, because I'll lose some distance with the higher-trajectory flight. To counter the lower loft of the longer club, I weaken my grip, setting my left thumb straight down the handle, but I keep the clubface square to the target. I set up with the ball slightly forward in my stance, with my hands a little behind it. Then I raise my left shoulder and lower my right shoulder, and kick in my right knee for stability. As I swing down and through this shot, I want to keep my head behind the ball...