The weather is changing here. The grass on the courses has slowed or stopped growing. When the courses aren’t covered in winter snow here in Utah and the grass is dormant, the lies in the fairways or anywhere there’s short grass, can be very tight.
Chipping with higher lofted wedges
I usually like to chip with my 56 degree wedge, put the ball back in my stance, close the face and hit a descending blow to get it running. If I need the ball to run less or carry more, I’ll use my lob wedge (60). But the tighter the lies and the rustier I get (from playing less due to the weather), the tougher these shots become to execute.
Chipping with mid-irons
Yesterday on the 6th hole (with my opponents pressing me I might add) I had one of these very tight lies. I had a tough tight lie and no green to work with. I was about 10-15 feet short of the green on this par-3, and there was a front pin. Having never even practiced this shot I grabbed my 8-iron and decided I’d just put a putting stroke on it. I figured the amount of loft on the club would get the ball in the air just enough to carry the ball over enough of the short grass, yet roll the ball like a putt when it got to the green. I assumed my putting stance and grip, choking down on the club to about where my normal putting grip would be on my putter.
My opponents watched in horror and amazement as the low shot bounced twice in the short grass, landed on the fringe and rolled just like a perfect putt straight to the hole. My pal Arnie dropped his putter on the ground and threw his hands up in the air as my 8-iron chip dropped center cut in the hole for birdie.
I turned to them and said “I guess I’ll be using that shot more.”
Later in the round on #11 I had a similar scenario. Once again I was just short of the green with a front pin. I hit the same shot with my 8-iron. I didn’t drain this one for birdie, but did leave myself an easy 1-footer to save par.
If the ground is smooth enough and you can roll the ball a bit around the greens, it may be easier to put a more pendulum-like stroke on a mid-iron rather than trying to make perfect contact with a higher lofted club. If you’re like me and sometimes have trouble chipping, try hitting some running shots with a lower lofted club and a putting stroke. It is very hard, almost impossible, to blade or hit this shot fat.
Yesterday I had a chance to chat with golf great Dave Stockton for a while. Stockton racked up 10 PGA Tour wins, including TWO PGA Championships and two 2nd place finishes at the Masters. I’d met Dave in 1997 when the then “Senior Tour” was in town. I followed him around, watched him shoot a 63 on a tough Jack Nicklaus course and win the tournament. Aside from Ben Crenshaw, Dave Stockton is known as one of the best putters of all time. My putting stroke is a close model to Dave’s, and most of my opponents would prefer I do something else.
The discussion, paraphrased:
Me: Hey Dave how are you? We met up in Park City when the Senior Tour played up there years ago.
Stockton: Yes. I wish we still played up there. I really enjoyed it. I used to love to play up there and then go fishing up in that area.
Me: I wish you still played up there too. We don’t get much high level professional golf here in Utah. I hear you are injured.
Stockton: Yes. I tore my rotator cuff. I had rotator cuff surgery a couple of weeks ago.
Me: Ouch. That must have hurt. How long will you be out for?
Stockton: I’m surprised to say I’m not feeling any pain right now. I should be back in about five weeks.
Me: I want to tell you how much I enjoy your putting style. I’ve modeled a lot of my putting after you.
Stockton: Thanks! More and more people are modeling their style after mine these days.
Me: So you’re here at this golf tournament (Champions Challenge at Thanksgiving Point, Utah) but you obviously aren’t playing. Why are you here?
Stockton: I’m following my sons around. They’re playing in the tournament.
Me: Ah! Well I wish your boys luck.
Stockton: Thanks. Nice talking to you.
Dave Stockton – Putt To Win
Speaking of Dave Stockton’s putting, he has a book called “Putt To Win.” Click here or on the image in this piece to pick up a copy.
Tiger’s comeback date isn’t set, but he says it will depend on the birth of his 2nd child and if he’s ready.
Tiger Woods’ newsletter was quite interesting today. Many pundits, like Lee Trevino, have been saying that when Tiger comes back he’ll have to modify his swing to put less pressure on the left knee. He’ll have to sacrifice distance, giving him more accuracy.
Tiger is practicing “full bore” now, which I interpret as full swing.
Rather than cutting back on the power of his swing and the stress of the leg, Tiger seems to imply that with the new knee he’ll have even more power.
Tiger’s newsletter below: (more…)
NURU has a model which will succeed in today’s economy with their extremely simple and affordable golf training aids. I had to split my interview into two chunks to fit them on YouTube.
I’m packin’ my gear now (camera, laptop and a couple of golf shirts). I’ll be landing in Vegas in time for din-din tonight and then hitting the sack resting for the PGA Show Fall Expo. I’ll be live blog-casting from the show and taking lots of photos of all the cool new golf products I find.
I haven’t attended this show and I’m sure it won’t be close to as big as the main PGA Show in Orlando. That being said, this will be a good chance to do some research with companies and individuals who may not make it to Orlando.
Meeting Tuesday at 3:00
HOG readers and The Golf Space members who are attending the show will be getting together at 3:00 Tuesday! We’re meeting at the “Swingreminders” booth, #962.
See you there!