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Golf Tips: Tight lies are risky

By: Shawn Kelly
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We’d all like a little tuft of grass under our golf ball when it come to rest, but with the technology in mowers and the colder weather that doesn’t allow the grass to grow, we get some very tight lies.  Tour players prefer a little rough over really tight lies because of the higher risk factor with this shot. Here’s a
couple of things you’re gonna need to know to successfully play this shot.
 
Practice swings – Finding the bottom of the swing arc is key number one for solid contact. I imagine a line running through of the middle of the ball and see this as the bottom of my arc. I will take a few practice swings trying to produce a slight divot in front of or on the target side of that phantom line. If I can get the bottom of my arc correct, then two-thirds of the battle is over to hit a solid shot. I like to take at least three practice swings to get a feel for the shot, you may take more, and that’s OK as a few more practice swings will only take a couple of seconds. I’ll bet you’ll hit it closer.
 
Controlling the leading edge and bounce of the club – The manner in which the leading edge of the club contacts the ground is paramount for a controlled shot. We don’t want the leading edge of the club to dig into the turf and we don’t want the sole to bounce that edge up into the ball. Like I said, this is a tough shot. As you are taking your practice swings, open or close the leading edge of the sole to find the correct feel through the surface. You want to feel the sole slightly brush the turf without getting caught up. Don’t press the hands forward, because this is sure way to dig into the turf. Just let your weight move slightly to the target foot and this will give you the angle of attack needed for the shot.
 
Choose the correct club for the shot – If the grass is smooth enough and you are close to the green, maybe you can choose the putter or a less lofted iron to get the ball rolling. If you’re less than confident, then putt it! Tiger makes use of a three-wood to hit this shot and it can be a very effective way to play. 
You’ll want to practice with the three-wood before trying it under pressure. I have been using my hybrid club for this shot lately with a lot of success, because it gets the ball rolling well, right off the club. Utilize these clubs just as you would your putter and they can help you lower your score.
 
These days we see a lot of courses that are mowing the aprons of their greens very low and tight. In fact, some well-manicured courses get these areas looking better than other courses’ putting greens. See if these tips help you get up and down more often from your tight lies.
 
Green Reading Class
Want to become a better putter and have more confidence in your stroke? Then Vector green reading class is for you! 
 
Classes are scheduled for Friday, April 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to noon. Each class is $99. Call the golf shop at (530) 888-7888 to register.
 
If you want to dramatically improve your putting, you need to take this class.