Making Hardpan Easy
Out of all of the many situations you can find yourself in around the green, finding yourself on hard dirt and bare grass may be the worst. It limits what types of shots you can play and it makes a mishit highly probable if you’re not careful. I’m giving you 3 options to help you mitigate your risk and allow you to get your bogey and get to the next hole ASAP.
1) The easiest option is to take a hybrid or fairway metal and play a shot similar to a long putt or low bump-and-run. These clubs are great off of a hardpan lie and better than an iron because of their low center of gravity. Here’s how to play this simple shot.
1. Preferably, grip your hybrid like your putter, but a standard grip will do just fine.
2. Play the ball middle or slightly forward in your stance and lean your hands and weight slightly left.
3. Make a stroke like a putt keeping your wrists firm. Make a big enough turn back and thru to get the ball to the green.
2) Your second option is to hit a shot with a slightly closed face on your pitching wedge. This shot is not quite as safe as your first option because you are introducing more loft, but it should do the trick. By closing the face you apply more of the clubface to the ball. This option is good if you need to carry the ball a few yards and creates a lot of sidespin that acts like a topspin that will help your ball roll through any trouble on its way to the green.
1. Like the hybrid shot, play the ball in the middle of your stance and lean your hands and weight slightly left.
2. Aim enough right (for a righty) to compensate for closing your clubface about 10 degrees.
3. Play this shot like a chip or short pitch where a small amount of hinge in the backswing is okay. The ball will come off like a 7 or 8 iron with a slight “overspin”.
3) The final option is to play the ball up in the air with a lofted wedge. It is only to be used as a last resort when there is no way to run the ball to the green. The secret to this shot is to open the clubface about 10 to 20 degrees to apply plenty of bounce of the club and allow the club to glide along the hardpan vs dig in. This is how you make your buddies jaws drop.
1. Take your most lofted wedge and setup with the ball middle, your weight left and the clubface open 10-20 degrees. Aim slightly left (for a righty) to allow for the open face.
2. Keep the face open in the back and through swing.
3. You will need at least a half backswing, but don’t over-do it. Deceleration is your enemy here. You need to have a slight acceleration and nearly a full finish.