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Attacking the Flag pt 1

By: David Pritchard

Sports Attacking the Flag Part 1
When we say attacking the flag we mean to get as close to it as possible. When do we do this, well mostly when we are no more than 20-40 yards off the green on par 4 & par 5 holes, but sometime we also attack the flag on short par 3s straight off the tee.
We might find ourselves in the following positions, i've written what I think is the best way to attack the flag from those positions;
Uneven Ground
The most common mistake that the weekend golfer makes when hitting an uphill or downhill hot, is the position they put their shoulders and the position of the ball to their shoulders. First the player should set his or her shoulders to the slope of the hill, now the ball. When hitting the ball from a downhill lie, the ball needs to be played in the back of the stance. When hitting from an uphill lie, the ball should be played forward of the stance. Just making these two adjustments will give you a much better ball flight, another hint for hitting off down hill lies is to open the face of the club, because the clubface has a tendency to close on impact. But when hitting off an uphill lie use more club to compensate for the added loft created by the angle of the hill.
Getting out of the Bunker
Someone once told me a long time ago the best way to play sand shots, now I will tell you. Well if you are ready for a fun but sure way to get out of a green-side bunker then just listen. Do you remember Charlie Chaplin? I do hope you do. He was an old time silent movie star who walked with his toes pointing outwards, well we are going to use the Charlie Chaplin technique!
1) In the bunker stand like the old movie star with your toes pointing outward and your knees out over your toes. 2) Play the ball from the middle of your stance. 3) Line up your shot to the right of the flag. 4) Address the ball but do not ground the club, now take the club away outside of the target line. At this point in your swing it is imperative that your knees remain out over your toes. This will keep you centered in your swing. (don't allow your weight to shift back) 5) Now begin the downward swing and strike the sand about 1-2 inches behind the ball, swing through the shot sending sand out of the bunker onto the green, if the sand comes out of the bunker, then so will the ball. (its the sand that moves the ball, not the club) 6) Through the shot if your knees remain over your toes and the sand leaves the bunker so will your ball.
Around the Green
Most weekend golfers tend to accumulate extra shots when they miss-hit chip shots around the green. When attacking the flag? I tell golfers to adopt an open stance when addressing the ball for a chip shot, this allows you to see the flag clearly. Place the ball in the middle of your stance with the bulk of your body weight on your left leg. (for right handed players) With your hand forward of your left thigh, bend your knees and tilt your upper body to allow your arms to hang naturally. Hold your wrists firm and take the shot with a forward movement allowing a low, but slow and smooth follow through.
The 20-40 yard Pitch Shot
When faced with a 20-40 yard pitch shot the weekend golfer tends to panic, fearing that he will top the ball and ending up in the rough or even a bunker. Here are a few tips to play the pitch shot.
First we must address how to hit the ball in the centre of the clubface, for reliable loft every time. It is hard to measure distance until we hit the ball with the same regularity every time. The biggest swing error in the weekend golfer facing a 20-40 yard pitch shot is fear of the shot. In their heads they are hoping for some luck maybe a miracle, so yes fear is the biggest barrier. The fear makes the golfer poke or jab at the ball, instead of constantly swinging through the ball. This poking and jabbing causes the club head to slow down as it approaches the ball. What we need to do is hit the ball with the sweet spot consistently. The first step to achieving this is to accelerate through the ball every time, to achieve this we must eliminate all fear of the shot. Practice is the key here to build your confidence in taking the shot. First take a few practice shots just allowing the club head to brush over the top of the grass, for when you do take the shot this brushing of the grass before hitting the ball is the thing that makes the ball take flight and stops you from topping the ball.
It is allowed and is also possible to chip with any club in your bag! A wedge, a 3 iron, a 5 iron, even a wood. Just remember the father away the flag the lower the loft to be used, the idea is to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. Here's How. 1) Feet about a foot apart. 2) Weight on the forward foot. 3) Back knee pointing towards the target at all times, have almost no weight on the back foot. This stance will force your hands forward of the ball. Move the club back with your shoulders, no wrist break at this point, allow your hands to lead the club-head on the downswing, still no wrist break at this point. Now just let the club-head do all the work for you and hit the ball.
Remember the game is intended for fun!

David has been working for golf courses spain and has written several articles on golfing and golf courses in Spain see more at http://www.golfcousesspain.info
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